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Erin Gwyn Rossington - Mezzo-soprano

Biography

1- You are currently on your final year at the Royal Northern College of Music under the tuition of Peter Alexander Wilson. How is this progressing?

I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at the RNCM and studying with Peter. In the past 6 months I feel my voice has developed and become much richer in quality, I feel much more comfortable and confident in my singing. I was very pleased to perform for the first time as a soloist with Orchestra on Friday for a student led project. We performed Debussy’s lesser known work, yet so beautiful La Damoiselle Elue. I am very excited to be competing in the prestigious Elizabeth Harwood Memorial Prize in two weeks in the RNCM Concert Hall.

2- Is your family musical?

I have a fairly musical family. My mother can play piano and sing and played the organ in chapel, most of my family on my mother’s side are musical and can sing, as singing in choirs is a big tradition in Wales. I also had a Great-Aunt who sang as a soloist and won many prizes at the Eisteddfod’s over the years. I know if she was still alive she would be very proud of me pursuing this career.

3- You recently won the Lieder Prize at the David Clover Singers Platform. Can you tell us more about this event, your feelings and which pieces did you sing?

I was very pleased to have won the prize, performing one of my favourite lied, Allerseelen by Strauss. I travelled to Sheffield to sing in the preliminary rounds on the Saturday and competed in Lieder, French Song and Opera classes and was very happy to win all of my categories. This meant I returned on Sunday to sing again for the panel and had a wonderful time. I received lovely feedback and look forward to hopefully returning next year.

4- You performed the role of Madame Thernardier in the Urdd’s Welsh production of Les Miserable in the Millennium Centre, Cardiff in October 2015. Can you tell us of your feelings at the time and the audience reaction please?

This was a fabulous experience and was a huge realization of my passion for performing. So many of the audience said it was incredible, especially as it was a youth production. I still hear people going on about now, it was one of the best productions I have been involved in. We also had the pleasure of preforming on the West End stage for the 30th anniversary of the show and met Cameron Mackintosh himself, including all of the previous Stars who have been involved in the show over the years.

5- You are the winner of the under 19 female solo of the Urdd Eisteddfod in 2014, and were also awarded the Violet Mary Lewis Memorial scholarship for the most promising voice at the National Eisteddfod of Wales in 2017. Clearly both of these are important milestones in your development. Do you feel there is something special in being Welsh and being able to sing and clearly appreciated by your community?

I feel very privileged to be Welsh and to have had so many experiences in competing and being on stage during my childhood. This has made me feel comfortable on stage and help realise my passion for singing and performing.

6- You recorded the soundtrack for Welsh National Youth Opera’s new project ‘Hedd Wyn’ written by Stephen McNeff alongside WNO Orchestra. Can you tell us more about this project and are you happy with the results?

It was an amazing project. We worked with the stunning WNO Orchestra and I met lifelong friends along the way. It was great to work on a project with the composer in the rehearsals, to have his input help create a clearer vision for us as singers. It will hopefully be made into a film, but we are still waiting to hear back for more information regarding this.

7- What are your fondest musical memories, privately or performing?

I remember my singing teacher in high school telling me I had something special. We were having a discussion about my future, I wasn’t sure whether to do opera or musical theatre. She told me that my voice was made for opera and so I went on to have lessons with Brian Hughes, and then got a place at the RNCM and the rest is history. My passion just keeps on growing for it!

8- How often do your practice?

Daily, it is very important to keep up technique to help the muscle memory. I think it is also important to relax and allow yourself days off. It is not that I will sing constantly for 3 hours a day. But making sure I know translations, working on the language, doing breathing exercises and the knowing the background of the piece- these are all crucial aspects to being a singer.

9- Would you consider teaching in the future?

Possibly, I have done some non-musical teaching and do enjoy it, especially with younger children. I am sure I will get the chance to teach at some point in my career.

10- Who would your dream accompanist be, from the present or past?

It definitely depends on what repertoire you’re performing. But, you can’t not love Helmut Deutsch playing lieder.

11- What advice would you give to young musicians at the start of their journey?

Don’t give up! Work hard and in time, you will get your moment. Follow your gut instinct and do what feels right for you, everyone's journey is different, and don’t ever apologise for being different!

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submission February 2019