photo of Laura Ashworth

Sun 4th March 2018 2.15pm: LAURIE ASHWORTH (soprano) and FRIENDS: Three fine musicians team up for Schubert’s Shepherd on a Rock

Laurie Ashworth (soprano), Karen Anstee (clarinet), John Gough (piano)

Programme to include:
Schubert Shepherd on the Rock
John McCabe 3 Folk Songs for voice, clarinet and piano
Poulenc Sonata for Clarinet and Piano
Songs by Richard Hageman and Roger of Laura Ashworth

Soprano Laurie Ashworth was born in Wigan, Lancashire. Since graduating, she has established herself as a highly sought-after concert artist, specialising in oratorio, recital and recording.
Laurie commenced her studies in 2002 at the Royal Northern College of Music under the tutelage of Caroline Crawshaw. She graduated with first class honors in 2006 and was awarded the RNCM Gold Medal, the college’s highest accolade for performance. Awards from The Arts and Humanities Research Council and The Countess of Munster Musical Trust enabled Laurie to complete her Masters in Vocal Performance at the Royal College of Music. She graduated with distinction in 2008.
In 2010 following an acclaimed performance of Jonathan Dove’s song Full Fathom Five, Laurie was awarded the Song Prize at the Kathleen Ferrier Awards. In the same year she was a finalist and runner-up in BBC Radio 2’s Kiri Te Kanawa Prize; a nationwide search by Dame Kiri Te Kanawa and the BBC to find a new operatic star. This led to numerous appearances on BBC Radio 2’s Friday Night is Music Night.

Laurie has performed at many of the UK’s major venues, making her Wigmore Hall recital debut in 2014 and her BBC Proms debut in the world premiere of Bob Chilcott’s The Angry Planet in 2012.
Operatic roles have included Susanna in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro for English Studio Opera, Lucy in Menotti’s The Telephone for Wexford Festival Opera, Serpetta in La Finta Giardiniera in Switzerland, and First Witch in Dido and Aeneas for Opera de Dijon.

Laurie has appeared regularly in broadcasts for BBC Radio 2 and 3, in a variety of repertoire ranging from opera arias to musical theatre and wartime songs made famous by Dame Vera Lynn. In addition to this, she is fast becoming known as the ‘Chilcott Soprano,’ and features as the soloist on premiere recordings of both Bob Chilcott’s Requiem (Hyperion 2012), and his more recent St. John Passion (Signum 2014). Further recordings include selections of Chilcott’s Christmas music with the Commotio Choir (Naxos 2013), songs by Malcolm Arnold for remembrance CD Bright Jewels and Der Hölle Rache from Die Zauberflöte for Granada TV’s The Worst Witch.

In addition to her oratorio and recording work, Laurie regularly performs back in her home town at both Wigan Athletic and Wigan Warriors matches.

Since graduating from the RNCMc in 1997 Karen has enjoyed a very full and varied playing career. For 5 Years she was principal Clarinet for the touring orchestra Performing Arts Symphony Orchestra as well as freelancing with all the major orchestras in the North West, performing numerous recitals; many of them with John Gough and delivering children’s workshops in many different educational settings. After the birth of her daughter, Karen took a step back from orchestral performing and concentrated more on her teaching. Karen is currently Clarinet and Saxophone tutor at Manchester Grammar school and Cheadle Hulme school.

John Gough was born and bred in Chester and enjoys a busy and varied career. Engagements have taken him to America (including Carnegie Hall), Denmark and throughout the United Kingdom. He has given frequent broadcasts on BBC Radio 3 and also recorded for Radio 2, Classic FM, World Service, S4CTV and BBC TV.

As a soloist he has appeared with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and the Halle soloists. He has performed at the Purcell Room and Wigmore Hall on several occasions and at the Buxton and Chester Festivals.

Following his studies with Marjorie Clementi and Gordon Green at the Royal Northern College of Music he won several scholarships and prizes including the John Ireland Centenary Piano Competition at the Wigmore Hall.
As a chamber music player he has given live broadcasts of the complete piano quartets of Brahms, Dvorak and Faure.

He has given recitals at the Ribble Valley international Piano Week, a live broadcast from the Bridgewater Hall, Manchester and for many seasons was the soloist with the Performing Arts Symphony Orchestra in concerts at many stately homes throughout England. He made his screen debut with a brief appearance in the film “Hilary and Jackie”. He has appeared under such conductors as Sir Neville Marriner, Edward Warren and Timothy Reynish and in concert with Martin Roscoe, Jane Irwin, Louise Winter and Janet Hilton.