Sunday, 20 November 2016

Artist spotlight - Baritone Gareth Brynmor John

Gareth Brynmor John - Photo credit Robert Workman

Gareth Brynmor John is soloist in our upcoming performance of JS Bach and CPE Bach at the York Early Music Christmas Festival. Winner of the Kathleen Ferrier Award, baritone Gareth Brynmor John studied at St John’s College, Cambridge and the Royal Academy of Music where, in his final year, he won the Royal Academy of Music Patrons’ Award. He recently studied at the National Opera Studio where he was supported by the Royal Opera House, Richard Carne Trust, and Chris Ball. He will make his debut with Welsh National Opera singing Schaunard (La Bohème) in Spring 2017.

We caught up with Gareth and asked him some questions about his life as a musician.

What do you most enjoy about performing in York?
I love coming to York. My wife studied English at the University and I visited every fortnight for three years. It brings back very happy memories.

What is the hardest thing about performing?
Often a performance could be the culmination of several weeks (or even months) work. You want to show the audience your best work, and that delivering that can be stressful.

How do you prepare for performing this kind of repertoire?
Music of this era is often fast moving with lots of runs. It requires the voice to be agile, and the brain to know where it is going. There are no shortcuts. It takes time.

Detail from the autograph score of CPE Bach: Magnificat

Is there any piece of music or repertoire that haven’t had the opportunity to perform yet but would like to?
As a singer, our instrument is part of our bodies and it carries on changing as we get older. Some of the bigger operatic repertoire isn't right for my voice yet, but I would love to sing some Verdi at some point.

Which living musician do you most admire?
Daniel Barenboim as both a musician and a performer. And because he's not scared to believe that making music can be a practical force for good in the world.

What is your musical guilty pleasure?
Mariah Carey...

How do you mostly listen to music?
I don't find music that relaxing to have on in the background, so mostly, I deliberately sit down and listen to music on a stereo at home. I suppose I'm lucky that I have time in the day to do that.

If you hadn’t become a musician, what other job would you have liked to do?
I think in another life, I would like to be an engineer. It seems like their work can be so varied, and exciting. The benefits of the work they do are very tangible as well.

Who would play you in the film of your life?
Colin Firth obviously - can't you see the resemblance? (sigh)

What keeps you awake at night?
Listening to old trashy Radio 4 sitcoms on BBC iPlayer - you can't beat them. That and my two year old daughter!

We look forward to hearing Gareth singing alongside other soloists Bethany Seymour (Soprano), Wendy Goodson (Soprano), Rachel Lancaster (Alto) Solomon Hayes (Alto) & Jason Darnell (Tenor) in JS Bach: Magnificat & Cantata BWV 140 Wachet Auf (Sleepers, wake) and CPE Bach: Magnificat. Accompanied by Yorkshire Baroque Soloists and conducted by Peter Seymour

Saturday 10 December 7.30pm at the Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall, University of York.

Tickets are available in advance via 

The concert is part of the York Early Christmas Festival 2016

 Further details on Gareth can be found on his website:

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