Clare
Wilkinson

Mezzo-soprano

Biography

This biography must not be used, whole or in part, for publicity or concert programmes. Please download the Media Pack below or contact Clare.

Much in demand particularly for her interpretations of Baroque repertoire, Clare Wilkinson has performed and recorded under John Eliot Gardiner, Andrew Parrott, Philip Pickett, John Butt, Richard Egarr, Nicholas Kraemer, Jos van Veldhoven, Christophe Rousset and Bart Van Reyn; she also sings with Fretwork and the Rose Consort of Viols, and has appeared at many of the world’s major halls: Covent Garden, the Wigmore Hall, the Barbican, the Queen Elizabeth Hall, and the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall in the UK, and further afield the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, the Hong Kong Cultural Center, Washington National Cathedral, Bozar Brussels, Théâtre des Champs Elysées, Cité de la Musique, Köln Philharmonie and the Lincoln Center New York amongst many others. She has recorded widely and features on three Gramophone Award-winning CDs. Several new works have been written especially for Clare; songs by John Joubert, Duncan Druce and Stephen Wilkinson have all received premières at the Wigmore Hall.

Born in Manchester, Clare grew up in a home full of music. She gave her first solo concert at the age of 17 with Musica Antiqua of London on the invitation of Alison Crum, with whom she has enjoyed regular music-making ever since. She went on to read Classics with a choral scholarship at Trinity College, Cambridge, followed by postgraduate vocal studies with Hazel Wood at Trinity College of Music, London, where she won numerous prizes. 

In 2004 she worked for the first time with Sir John Eliot Gardiner, and has since performed both Bach's Passions, the B minor Mass, the Christmas Oratorio, the Magnificat, and much other repertoire under his baton. Particularly special moments for Clare have been Bach’s alto Cantata 170, Vergnügte Ruh, at the Spiegelsaal in Köthen, J C Bach’s Ach, daß ich Wassers g’nug hätte at the Cadogan Hall, London and the St Matthew Passion at the Thomaskirche in Leipzig. 

Clare has also sung with, amongst others, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment/Laurence Cummings, the English Concert/Harry Bicket, Capella Augustina/Andreas Spering, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic/Ian Tracey, Tallinn Chamber Orchestra/Daniel Reuss, the Feinstein Ensemble/Martin Feinstein, Israel Camerata/Charles Olivieri-Munroe, Le Concert d'Anvers/Bart Van Reyn, the Parley of Instruments/Peter Holman, the Hanover Band/Paul Brough, Florilegium, the Orquesta Filarmonica de Malaga and Orquesta Ciudad de Granada/Salvador Mas Conde, the Little Baroque Company and the Manchester Camerata/Nicolas Kraemer. 

Equally at home with a consort of viols, she performs and records regularly with Fretwork, with whom she performs a mix of early and contemporary repertoire, and The Rose Consort of Viols, with whom the focus is mostly on Renaissance music, particularly William Byrd. 

Having been named in Opera Now magazine’s Who’s Hot listing, Clare also enjoys stage work; roles include Third Lady for Gardiner at the Royal Opera House, Venere in Monteverdi’s Ballo dell’Ingrate at the BBC Proms, Galatea in both Handel’s Acis and Galatea (Trigonale Festival, Austria) and his Aci, Galatea e Polifemo (Laurence Cummings, London Handel Festival), Second Witch in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas (Jonathan Cohen, Dijon Opera), Ariel in The Tempest (Gardiner, Far East tour), Zinnia in Chabrier’s L’Etoile (Gardiner, Opéra Comique Paris and Théâtre de Nîmes) and Penelope in Guido Morini’s L’Odissea with Accordone (Schwetzingen Festival). In Autumn 2014 she will take the role of Amore in Gluck's Orfeo for The Ministry of Operatic Affairs under the direction of Bart Van Reyn.

She is a member of I Fagiolini (winners of a Gramophone award and Diapason d’Or de l’Année) and with them was part of the ground-breaking ‘secret theatre’ opera project The Full Monteverdi directed by John La Bouchardière, and Tallis in Wonderland directed by Henk Schut, as well as Ed Hughes’ new opera The Birds in which she took the illustrious role of Second Pigeon.

Recent and future engagements include Tom Guthrie's critically acclaimed staged Bach project Death Actually, Gluck's Orfeo for The Ministry of Operatic Affairs/Bart Van Reyn, Messiah with the Musicians of the Globe/Philip Pickett and also with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra/Laurence Cummings, the St Matthew Passion for the Bachkoor Holland/Gijs Leenaers, the St John Passion  for the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment/Steven Devine, Haydn’s Nelson Mass for the Scottish Chamber Orchestra/Adam Fischer, David Lang’s Little Match Girl Passion in a new staging with Cryptic Theatre Company, a mixed recital with Fretwork, The Year’s Midnight, and numerous Bach projects with the Dunedin Consort/John Butt. See Schedule page for more details.

Most recent among Clare’s numerous CDs are Adoramus te, music by Byrd and Philips with the Rose Consort of Viols; Monteverdi's Orfeo for Andrew Parrott; Welt, gute Nacht, music by J C Bach for John Eliot Gardiner; and Divine Madness a project with lute and oud exploring melancholy in Arab Sufi literature and Elizabethan England. Notable also are the Gramophone award-winning Messiah and the St Matthew Passion, (first choice on Radio 3's Building a Library) both with The Dunedin Consort/John Butt, and Four Gentlemen of the Chapel Royal with The Rose Consort of Viols which attracted much critical acclaim. A mixed recital disk with Fretwork, The Silken Tent, featuring two songs of Byrd never before recorded (thanks to Richard Turbet for drawing them to our attention!) has already sold over 900 copies in Japan (buy here) and is available for download here. See Discography for more information.

Clare is a fan and enthusiastic advocate of her father Stephen’s choral music and songs. Two songs, for mezzo-soprano and viols, feature on The Silken Tent, and she has performed his songs at The Wigmore Hall and King’s Place. She also organised a CD of his choral music, Dover Beach, out now on Deux-Elles

This biography must not be used, whole or in part, for publicity or concert programmes. Please download the Media Pack below or contact Clare.

 

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© Clare Wilkinson 2014
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Photography: Stefan Schweiger
and Marco Borggreve

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