Hailed recently by the Daily Telegraph as ‘a voice of real distinction’, Nicky Spence is fast emerging as one of ‘our finest young singers’. An artist of great integrity, Nicky’s unique skills as a singing actor and the rare honesty in his musicianship are steadfastly earning him a place at the top of the profession.
Highlights for for 2014/2015 Season include David Die Meistersingers Von Nürnberg at the ENO with music director Ed Gardner, a Rossini double at Welsh National Opera as Rodolphe Guillaume Tell and Mambre Mosè in Egitto with Maestro Carlo Rizzi, and Francesco Benvenuto Cellini at De Nederlandse Opera under Sir Mark Elder. Concerts include recitals with Roger Vignoles, Malcolm Martineau and The Allegri Quartet and performances of Handel with Tromsø Chamber Orchestra, a World Premiere by Jonathan Dove with the Oxford Bach Choir, and Tippett’s A Child of Our Time with the Auckland Philharmonia in New Zealand. Nicky will also perform appear in concert at the Barbican, the Purcell Room, and Birmingham Symphony Hall.
Recent concert performances include an appearance at the BBC Proms, Act I of Tristan und Isolde with the BBC Scottish Symphony under Donald Runnicles, and Beethoven Symphony No.9 at the Barbican with the Philharmonia. Other concerts include Finzi’s Dies Natalis with the BBCCO, Elgar’s The Kingdom at Kings College, Cambridge, Mozart C Minor Mass at Cadogan Hall, Britten’s Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings with L’Orchestre National d’Ile de France under Gordan Nikolic and at the Wigmore Hall with Chamber Domaine. Nicky made his New York Recital debut with Malcolm Martineau this last season which also featured a live broadcast of Brahms Liebesliederwalzer at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, a Britten Song-Cycle Series in Aldeburgh, a recital series at Kings Place as part of their Britten 100 celebrations, and appearances at the Oxford Lieder Festival, St. John’s Smith Square, Spitalfields festival with the Songsmiths and the Purcell Room.
An experienced recording artist, Nicky attracted a long-term recording contract with Universal Classics at a young age and has increasing recognition on stage, radio and television as a presenter and performer alike, having contributed to tours and Platinum Selling disks the world over. In latter years, he has enjoyed successful collaborations on record with Graham Johnson (Schumann: The Complete Songs Vol. 10 / Hyperion), Britten Songs with Malcolm Martineau (Onyx) Messiaen’s La Mort du Nombre with Sholto Kynoch (Stone Records), and a disc of premiere Hoddinott recordings. Adding to his credentials in contemporary repertoire, his recent world-premiere recording of Mark-Anthony Turnage’s song cycle A Constant Obsession, for Resonus Classics received uniformly excellent reviews. Earlier this year, Nicky released his debut solo recital disc with Malcolm Martineau entitled As you like it: Shakespeare Songs, which brought him great acclaim:‘Nicky Spence is a young singer with a lovely sound, an astonishingly varied emotional range, and a way of telling a story through a song that grips the listener and doesn’t let go… He has the true singer’s gift of communication, without which these works would just be pretty but dull sounds. Instead – with the help of some superb accompanying from Malcolm Martineau – he brings them alive with joy, pain, love, despair and wit.’ – Warwick Thompson *****
Future recording plans include a CD of Eichendorff settings by Wolf, with Sholto Kynoch, a disc of premiere pieces by Jonathan Dove for Naxos and a recital disc of French Repertoire with Malcolm Martineau for Chandos Records.
In 2011 Nicky took his position as an inaugural Harewood Artist at the ENO supported by the American Friends of ENO. Following his formative training at the Scottish Youth Theatre and the NYMT, Nicky graduated from the Guildhall School of Music & Drama and went on to study at the National Opera Studio. A former Britten-Pears Young Artist, Georg Solti and Samling Scholar, Nicky’s awards also include the National Bruce Millar Opera Prize, the Kathleen Ferrier Young Singers Award, the Concordia Barthel Prize, the Sybil Tutton Award, a Young Classical Performer of the Year nomination at the Classical Brit Awards and inclusion into of the Gold Medal Final at the Guildhall School.
Hailed as ‘Scotland’s Top Tenor’, Nicky contributes heavily to the culture of his homeland. As one of Scotland’s proudest sons, Nicky has performed for the Royal Family and other heads of State on several occasions including the Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall. As a spokesperson for Scottish culture, Nicky has been commissioned to write documentaries, comment on current affairs and has toured extensively with the world’s most popular stars, leading to the success of his own debut album of Scots songs My First Love, which reached the top ten in the Scottish Pop Charts. A committed charity worker, Nicky is Age UK’s youngest patron and an ambassador for the Musicians Benevolent Fund. Nicky works enthusiastically with various charities both locally and Nationwide, which includes the presidentship of his hometown’s very own Dumfries Musical Theatre Company.
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