Meet Sidney's musical directors and teachers.
- Dr David Skinner, Director of Music
Dr David Skinner (DPhil, Oxon) is Fellow and Osborn Director of Music at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, and artistic director of the early music ensemble Alamire (www.alamire.co.uk). His research has centred around music institutions, manuscripts and composers of 16th-century Europe, and is particular specialism is music and the Reformation in England. A large portion of his doctoral thesis was published in the Roxburghe Club volume The Arundel Choirbook (Arundel: Duke of Norfolk, 2003), and he has since published a number of music editions, facsimile volumes, and articles. as well as more than 30 commercial recordings (awards including Gramophone, BBC Music, Limelight, Times CD of the Year, and others). Dr Skinner’s recent publications include The Anne Boleyn Music Book: Facsimile with Introduction, DIAMM Facsimiles 6 (London: Royal College of Music, 2017), and ‘‘Deliuer me from my deceytful ennemies’: A Tallis Contrafactum in Time of War’, Early Music (Oxford University Press, 2017). The latter project, in which Queen Catherine Parr was identified as the author of a contrafact of Tallis’s grandest antiphon Gaude gloriosa dei mater, received wide media coverage including all major broadsheets, BBC 4 Today Programme and BBC Breakfast News. As a presenter he has worked extensively for BBC radio, appearing in and writing a variety of shows on Radio 3 and 4. He acted as music advisor for the Music and Monarchy series on BBC 2 with David Starkey, and was Music Consultant for the recent BBC4 documentary on the history of Evensong with Lucy Worsley. He is currently completing a new edition of Tallis’s Latin church music for Early English Church Music (Stainer & Bell).
David is very happy to see choral and organ candidates at any time of the year. To arrange a visit to Sidney Sussex, please email Choir@sid.cam.ac.uk.
- Ms Lynette Alcántara, Singing teacher
Australian-born mezzo-soprano Lynette Alcántara teaches singing to the Choral Scholars at Sidney Sussex College, the Choristers at King’s College, Cambridge, and is a Fellow and Director of Music at Wolfson College, Cambridge where she conducts the college’s fifty voice choral society. She is the Chorus Master for the Cambridge Philharmonic Chorus and until recently was also the long-standing vocal coach for CUMS Symphony Chorus. Lynette has a thriving singing teaching practice in Cambridge with pupils regularly being awarded Choral Scholarships at Oxbridge and post-graduate places to Music Colleges. Pupil successes include 2015/16 winner of BBC Radio 2 Young Girl Chorister of the Year, two of her pupils were soloists in the 2016 BBC Proms and recent Cambridge singing pupils have been awarded places at the Royal College of Music, Royal Academy of music, Junior Royal College of Music, The Manhattan School of Music and Welsh National Opera.
Lynette has run singing workshops for the BBC Singers, The King’s Singers, The Choir of King’s College Cambridge, Britten Sinfonia and Aldeburgh Music. She is a member of the British Voice Association, and lectures on Vocal Health and Training on the MMus in Choral Studies and is co-ordinator of, and a Vocal Pathway Leader (along with Sidney’s Director of Music) on the newly expanded MMus in Choral Studies.
Lynette’s passion for sharing the love of choral music led her to set up the children’s music charity King’s Junior Voices, a ninety-voice Cambridge children’s choir which is free so that all children can experience choral singing regardless of their personal circumstances. Sponsors for the choir are always welcome. King’s Junior Voices have worked with The King’s Singers, Cambridge Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus, were broadcast on Classic FM last Christmas, and were a lead choir (conducted by Lynette) in Friday Afternoons, a worldwide online schools’ project to celebrate Britten’s centenary.
For twenty-five years Lynette has sung as an alto with the BBC Singers and, when time allows, as soloist and chorus member for other leading ensembles in Britain including The Monteverdi Choir, The Sixteen, English National Opera, Opera North, The Bach Choir and The King’s Consort. She appears regularly for BBC radio and TV, and frequently at the Royal Albert Hall and on the South Bank. Cambridge performances include regular song recitals with accompanists including Patrick Hemmerle, Andrew Goldman, Stephen Betteridge, Fusae Takahashi and Douglas Hollick. Solos on disk include Shallow Brown on the Gramophone Award winning The Choral Music of Percy Grainger (Gardiner/Monteverdi Choir).
She has been teaching since her student days where she was awarded a Bachelor of Music Education with double Honours in Vocal Performance and Education at the University of Melbourne where she was also a Choral Scholar in Trinity Chapel Choir. After university she sang in the Chorus and Young Artists’ Encouragement Programme of the Victoria State Opera. Winning the national Liederfest Scholarship enabled her to travel to the UK to further her vocal studies, and she has remained in the UK since.
- Nicholas Hurndall Smith, Singing teacher
Nicholas Hurndall Smith read Music at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, where he was organ scholar, and then went on to study with David Pollard on the Guildhall School of Music & Drama’s Opera Course, supported by The Leverhulme Trust, The Worshipful Company of Salters and The Worshipful Company of Tobacco Pipemakers and Tobacco Blenders.
He began his career with a Rodney Milnes review in Opera Magazine: “The tenor Nicholas Smith shone especially brightly, a most accomplished actor as well as an inventive singer” and he has since been described as “Wonderfully manic” in London’s Metro and the Times wrote of “The delightful cameo of Nicholas Smith’s servant Arv”. Other roles include Lurcanio, Snout and Don Curzio for English Touring Opera, Flute and Tamino for Longborough Festival Opera, McHeath and Flute for Opera Project, Ecclitico, Sellem and Normanno at Iford Arts and Lysander for British Youth Opera.
Of his concert work the Daily Telegraph wrote “A refreshingly mellow tenor” and the Financial Times of his “Rapt and devout delivery”, and he has sung the arias in Bach’s St John Passion at the London Handel Festival, Bach Cantatas 63 and 65 with the Academy of Ancient Music, Schubert’s Winterreise at St. Marien Spandau, Berlin, the title role in Carissimi’s Jonah in the BBC Proms, Bach’s Christmas Oratorio in Kristiansund, and the Evangelist in Bach’s St John Passion in Jever. He recently sang the role of Coridon in Handel’s Acis and Galatea with Paul McCreesh and the Gabrieli Consort & Players in Vienna, Strasbourg and at the Wigmore Hall. He is in demand as a Britten soloist and has sung St Nicolas with the London Mozart Players, the Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings with the Haffner Orchestra, the Spring Symphony (c. Paul Spicer) at the Mary Wakefield Festival and the War Requiem with the combined choral societies of Cumbria.
He is a member of the highly acclaimed solo-voice ensemble I Fagiolini, with whom he has appeared throughout Europe, America, South Africa and the Far East as well as regularly on BBC Radio 3. His recording of Acis and Galatea in the role of Coridon with the Dunedin Consort was recently selected as First Choice Recommendation by Radio 3’s Building a Library.
Nicholas’ teaching is informed by his enthusiasm for the contrasting aspects of singing both sacred and secular music, both on the concert platform and on the operatic stage. He has a special passion for the music of Monteverdi which he has developed over the years singing with I Fagiolini both in concert and in their regular releases on Chandos.
- Felicity Cook, Singing teacher