This concert is your chance to hear two big names of the future. New Zealand baritone, Julien Van Mellaerts, is the only person to have ever won first prize in both the Kathleen Ferrier Awards and the Wigmore Hall Kohn Foundation International Song Competition. Together with world renowned South African pianist, James Baillieu, professor and head of piano accompaniment at the Royal Academy of Music in London, they are some of the leading young performers of art song and Lieder. These two supremely talented musicians will treat audiences to a beguiling selection of songs of travel, landscapes and drama – including a new commission from NZ composer Gareth Farr, who will set to music short poems by Bill Manhire about our own iconic birds the takahē, dotterel, tūī, and the extinct huia.
Julien Van Mellaerts recently graduated from the Royal College of Music International Opera School, where he was a Fishmonger’s Scholar studying with Russell Smythe. On graduation, he was awarded the Tagore Gold Medal. Before moving to London, Julien studied music and languages at the University of Otago, NZ. Accolades include the Kiwi Music Scholarship and a Countess of Munster Award 2016/2017, winner of the 2016 Joan Chissell Schumann Song Prize, 2016 Brooks-Van Der Pump English Song Competition, and the 2015 Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards. Highlights of his career this season include baritone soloist with the Royal Ballet in their production of Elizabeth, with performances at the Barbican and on tour, the world premiere of 'Christmas Carol' by Will Todd with Opera Holland Park, Schaunard in La Bohème with New Zealand Opera, the title role in Eugene Onegin with the Cambridge Philharmonic, the Referee in Mozart vs the Machine for Mahogany Opera Group, recitals with Julius Drake in Madrid, performances at Wigmore and Cadogan Hall, baritone soloist in Fauré Requiem at the Royal Albert Hall, and recitals at the London Song, Leeds Lieder and Oxford Lieder Festivals. Described by The Daily Telegraph as ‘in a class of his own’ James Baillieu has been the prize-winner of the Wigmore Hall Song Competition, Das Lied International Song Competition, Kathleen Ferrier and Richard Tauber Competitions. He was selected for representation by Young Classical Artists Trust (YCAT) in 2010 and in 2012 received a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship and a Geoffrey Parsons Memorial Trust Award. In 2016 he was shortlisted for the Royal Philharmonic Society Outstanding Young Artist Award. James has given solo and chamber recitals throughout Europe and further afield. He collaborates with a wide range of singers and instrumentalists including Dame Kiri te Kanawa.
Schubert Song selections
Gareth Farr - Ornithological Anecdotes
Vaughan Williams Songs of Travel
Ballads including songs by Shermann, Gershwin and Cole Porter