Welcome to the first installment in a monthly blog written exclusively for Early Music Today by one of the winners of a BBC Performing Arts fellowship award. The BBC Performing Arts Fund is a charity committed to developing new performing arts talent from across the UK in all disciplines, including early music. Bethany Seymour explains
My name is Bethany Seymour, and I am a young professional soprano. At the end of February I was lucky enough to be awarded a BBC Performing Arts fellowship in conjunction with the National Centre for Early Music (NCEM), which is based in my home town of York. The fellowship is aimed at helping young professionals to further their careers by providing the necessary funding for specialist tuition, along with invaluable performance and promotion opportunities. Throughout the year I will be taking part in performances and educational workshops in the NCEM.
I hope to use this blog as a way of giving updates about the fellowship and some of the notable experiences I have along the way. Alongside performances and educational workshop events the fellowship will support my tuition with various specialist teachers. I will receive vocal lessons with Mhairi Lawson and Barbara Schlick, as well as language coaching with Richard Jackson. I will also be receiving help in setting up a website … but more on that in my next blog.
The past month has been very busy, with Easter being a busy time for any singer. The fellowship started off with an opening concert in the BBC’s new offices in Salford, media city, at which I performed alongside other fellows. I took the opportunity to sing two Mozart songs and an aria from Handel’s Solomon, accompanied by my father, Peter Seymour. The concert was a really positive start to the year and was shortly followed by an interview for BBC Radio York that was broadcast the following week. As a singer, I’m used to performing rather than speaking on the radio, so I hope I wasn’t too flustered by the moment!
Over the next few weeks the fellowship will see me preparing for my first educational workshop, part of the Music to Young Ears conference at the NCEM. This conference examines how under fives with hearing loss access, enjoy and benefit from musical engagement. I will also be singing in the London Handel Festival performing Handel’s Utrecht Te Deum and Zelenka’s Magnificat in D. (Information and tickets are available here.)
I will be writing this blog monthly, so please do read again if you are interested in hearing about the fellowship, my concerts and other activities throughout the year. Until next time …
Follow Bethany’s activities in the meantime on Twitter @bethany_seymour or you can ask her a question in the comments box below.