Although Moeran provided an alternative ending for English Horn, the Ulster Orchestra has made the first recording with the composer’s preferred ending—beautifully sung by soprano Rebekah Coffey—creating an atmosphere of bleak and lonely expanse colored by birdsong. Naxos Review Recording
What a busy Year!
What a year this has been. I have hardly had time to breathe and here we are moving toward the close of the year again.
Time moves so quickly that is hard to keep up with all that is going on but it has been a wonderful year.
January and February were filled with days of school choirs competing in The School choir of the Year Competition. It was a wonderful competition and a real celebration of the hard work that is going on behind closed doors in Primary and Secondary Schools throughout Northern Ireland. It was a pleasure to be a part of the competition as a panel judge representing the Ulster Youth Choir.
Congratulations to Regent House Grammar School, winners of the Senior Title and St. Lawrence’s Primary School, Fintona winners of the Junior Heat.
During February it was a pleasure to return to perform with the creative team of Dumbworld, composer Brian Irvine and John McIIduff who created the new work “Anything But Bland” for the Northern Ireland Science Festival. This work celebrated the Life of Lilian Bland – one of the first women in the world to design, build, and fly an aircraft.
This was a powerful work reflecting on the position and role of women in the 1900s. It illustrated how many women were simply told their role was to “Wash Up, Clean Up, Shut Up, Have another baby!” (a direct quote from John’s Libretto!). Women like Lilian strove ahead to break the mould. As a working mother I have the choice to explore a career and raise a family, so this work resonated strongly with me. At the British Composer Awards 2017 on the 6th of December, Anything but Bland was the winner of the Community or Education Project.
With the Ulster String Quartet, Rebekah also managed to squeeze a recording session for Classical Connections, BBC Northern Ireland into February as part of the BBC Rosemary Street Recitals.
March saw great success for two of my singing students with Rebecca sitting the new ARSM Diploma in March with a successful mark of 49 out of 50. A magnificent achievement for a student also studying for her A levels. Michael in the same period received a distinction in his Grade 8 Music.
During April the Ulster String Quartet debuted a programme of Film Music for the Belfast Film Festival. This concert was a huge success at the Black Box and is titled “A Film Music Journey”, compéred by film journalist Tim Burden and much of the music arranged by Danny McCann-Williams. We have since performed this programme for the Foyle Film Festival in Derry.
Throughout the year it is also a joy to work with the National Choirs and April is always full of boys singing at the National Boys Choir of Scotland. Here I work with the treble voices in the Junior Chorps and NBC – working on individual lessons, warm up and ensemble coaching. In July I returned to work with the singers of the Ulster Youth Choir and Ulster Youth training Choir. It was amazing to listen to our new choir, the Ulster Youth Junior Choir for singers 10-14 year olds. This choir will provide a wonderful opportunity to develop both our young singer’s vocal and musical abilities so they are ready for the next step to the Training Choir.
In September I was appointed to join the music staff at The Queen’s University Belfast. It is a little strange to return to your Alma Mater – whilst walking across the same cobbled stones 17 years after first arriving, I wondered how different do I really feel…?
The answer is not that different! Musically I have gained a lifetime’s worth of professional experience but inside I just feel like the same student who first arrived in 2000! It is exciting to work with the singers on their degree courses and help them on their own musical journey and career.
Professionally my focus has expanded to include university teaching, vocal coaching, educational workshops work with the Ulster Youth Choir and my adjudicating work with the School Choir of the Year. My true focus and love still remains the same and as we move into 2018 my focus will return to my operatic work.
November brought great news which will enable me to work on an exciting operatic project. I am delighted to share the news that I have been award an ACES award from the Arts Council Northern Ireland through funding from the National Lottery. Full details of my project and plans are featured on the home page.
December has rolled around again with successful exam results for singing students with Diploma exams in Church Music and ABRSM practical/ Theory exams. On the local festival circuit students have been gaining valuable performing experience and have been awarded prizes, the Snowmen soloists all sang fabulously in concert with the Ulster Orchestra and Choral scholarships have been award from Oxford University.
It has been a great year with many musical blessings for myself, my students and the ensembles with whom I work. It’s almost time to take a little time off and spend quality time with the family. May you all have a wonderful Christmas and New Year.
Born in Northern Ireland, I graduated from Queen’s University Belfast Bachelor of Music and then from the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester with a Postgraduate Vocal Diploma. Since 2002 I have been performing in Operas, Oratorios and Concerts throughout the U.K and Ireland.
In the field of opera I have performed roles with many opera companies including Opera North, English Touring Opera, Opera Theatre Company, Ni Opera, Lyric Opera, Castleward Opera, Buxton Festival, The Belfast Festival at Queens, Aldeburgh Festival, Stowe Opera and Bampton Classical Opera.
I have performed often with The Ulster Orchestra including their Proms in the Park concert at Hillsborough Castle and my broadcasts include Radio Ulster, BBC Radio 3 and BBC Radio 4.
I perform regularly in intimate recitals and large corporate events. Should you wish to discuss a forthcoming event please send me a message using the contact form below. I work with a number of pianists and also with The Ulster String Quartet and I would be happy to programme the perfect music for your event.
For details of my opera and concert performance repertoire click here
Voice coaching is available in my purpose built studio. Click here to contact me
‘Ach, ich fühl’s’ (Pamina’s Act Two lament from The Magic Flute), the other Mozart selection, requires more inwardness and intensity. Although Coffey’s voice is not naturally muscular or aggressive, her upper register surges and expands impressively here, vividly communicating the character’s emotional desolation. Coffey’s is a relatively light, lyrical soprano voice, at times almost soubrettish …
Award for Soprano Rebekah Coffey from The Arts Council Northern Ireland
20 creatives from Northern Ireland scoop Arts Council ACES awards
Monday 27th November 2017 at 2pm 0 Comments Literature , Music & Opera , Visual Arts , Community Arts , Drama , Dance
Pictured (L-R) are ACES artists, Myra Zepf, Kelly Creighton, Rebekah Coffey, Jane Talbot, Mary Murphy, Rhiann Jeffrey, Emily McFarland, Jennifer Goddard, James Conor Patterson, Ayesha Mailey, Koichi Samuels, Davy Watson and Andrea Spencer.
20 artists from Northern Ireland have been announced as the latest recipients of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland’s ACES awards 2017/18, a National Lottery supported funding grant bestowed upon Northern Ireland’s most talented emerging artists to allow them to develop their professional, artistic careers and create new work.
Awards under the Artists Career Enhancement Scheme (ACES) are made annually to professional artists working in music, visual arts, drama, dance, literature and participatory arts and are among the most prestigious awards bestowed by the Arts Council. The artists include three drama awardees, six visual artists, five musicians, five literature awardees and one community artist.
In addition to receiving a bursary of up to £5,000 each, many of the 20 artists have been partnered with a professional organisation or leading artists, at home or abroad, to help each of them to deliver new creative work. Some of these include; Prime Cut Productions, Queen’s University, Ulster Orchestra, Institute of Contemporary Art Philadelphia, Moving On Music, An tSnáthaid Mhór, Tinderbox Theatre Company, Seamus Heaney Centre at Queen’s University, composer Garth McConaghie and leading soprano, Nathalie Paulin, University of Toronto.
Roisin McDonough, Chief Executive of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, commented: “These 20 artists are already established and highly regarded in each of their fields. The ACES awards are given in recognition of their work to date and to provide them with support to take their careers to that vital next level. The ACES programme has been running successfully now for eight years and addresses the need for on-going training and skills development within the arts sector.”