Shropshire-born Soprano Holly Teague studied at The Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, The Royal College of Music, London, and CNSMD, Paris. She is an Audrey Sacher Scholar and is kindly supported by the Mario Lanza Educational Foundation and the Walker Trust. She is the 2020 recipient of the St Clare Barfield Rosebowl for Operatic Distinction, a Josephine Baker Trust Artist, and Artistic Director of UKAC Productions Ltd.
A versatile musician, Holly’s repertoire ranges from delicate 16th Century lute song to 21st Century layered voice and electronics. She is a regular soloist for symphonies, oratorio and sacred concerts across the UK, as well as gala evenings, recitals and new music projects. Passionate about music at home, this year she will present a new song cycle “A Shropshire Lass” written by composer Martin Bussey especially for Holly and guitar duo partner, Michael Matthews using the poetry of Mary Webb, as well as organising, hosting and performing at the inaugural Shrewsbury Proms in September 2022.
Holly splits her time as much as she can between London and Shropshire, where she enjoys spending time indoors with her cat, Roo, and outdoors with enthusiastic Border Collie rescue, Beau.
Born in the UK and raised in Europe, South America and Africa, Michael Matthews’ flamboyant and expressive performances are placing him at the forefront of the young generation. He has been praised for a rigorous technique alongside his natural musical perception by leading figures in the field including Goran Sollscher, Mark Ashford and Maximo Diego Pujol. His concerts are communicative, eccentric and have been described as truly beautiful and professional. He brings a new identity to traditional repertoire as well as verve and dynamism to contemporary and lesser known works. Since his youth, Michael has studied with distinguished and unorthodox teacher and performer Rob Johns, completing his First Class Honours Degree in 2016 with distinction in performance. He has subsequently performed in recitals, masterclasses and competitions across the country and abroad. Recently, he has given solo recitals with an emphasis on the Renaissance and its links to contemporary music. In the spring of 2017, Michael gave his debut performance of Joaquin Rodrigo’s Concerto de Aranjuez with the Sheffield Chamber Orchestra. He will appear at the Wigmore Hall in the 2018/2019 season as part of the Tillett Trust’s Young Artists’ Platform.
Holly and Michael met in 2018 at a competition that neither of them won! Over the pandemic they worked together online and are now are proud to present a varied progamme of repertoire including early lute song, traditional folk songs, and a brand-new work. Recent concert highlights include Thea Musgraves “Five Love Songs” at the David Josefowitz Recital Hall in London, and they are looking forward to a recording of this repertoire later in 2022. “Shropshire Lass” by Shocklach composer Martin Bussey is the first piece that has been written especially for them, and it is a pleasure to be able to present it, in-part, at the first (of many!) Caldecott festivals.
Martin Bussey, based in the borderlands of England and Wales, combines the roles of composer and conductor. He currently directs the Chester Bach Singers, Cantiones Choir in Oswestry, and is a vocal tutor at Manchester University. He is Chairman of the Finzi Friends, a director of Ludlow English Song and a trustee of Kantos Choir. Martin’s commission for the 2021 Pinner Festival A Brother Abroad, composed to a libretto by Anthony Pinching, received a warm reception at its first performance by Marcus Farnsworth. It is receiving its next performance at the 2022 Ludlow English Song Weekend. This followed the recent successes of Mary’s Hand (2018) and Timeless Figure (2020), each premiered at the Tête-à-Tête Opera Festival. His two piano works Floreat Coll. Reg. were premiered at the 2020 Three Choirs Festival by Matthew Schellhorn who commissioned them, and these are scheduled for recording in 2022. Other recordings include Through a glass, a recording of songs, by Marcus Farnsworth on ResonusClassics. The 2019 CD of Martin’s choral music In no strange land, sung by the London-based professional choir, Sonoro, directed by Neil Ferris on Resonus Classics, received four-star reviews in BBC Music Magazine, Gramophone magazine and Choir and Organ. Martin was a Choral Scholar at King’s College, Cambridge, then studied singing at the RNCM. He ran the aural, academic music and choral programmes at Chetham’s School of Music, where he taught from 1988 to 2013. Scores of his music are available from www.composersedition.com. Martin recently completed a new staged cycle for Soprano and Guitar, Shropshire Lass, based on the poetry of Mary Webb to be premiered in 2022. He is working on a Dickens commission for the 2022 St Marylebone Festival, focused on characters from the novels written when Dickens lived in nearby Devonshire Terrace in the 1840s.