Summer School of Music
Communicate Through Singing : Biographies
Stephen Varcoe was for many years a leading international baritone soloist, with a wide repertoire ranging from the Baroque to Contemporary music. Among his more than 150 recordings are works by Purcell, Handel and Bach with John Eliot Gardiner and the Monteverdi Choir; Haydn and Beethoven Masses with Richard Hickox and a large number of songs with piano. These include Schubert, Fauré, Chabrier and Hahn with Graham Johnson, Parry, Stanford and Finzi with Clifford Benson and Grainger with Penny Thwaites.
Since retiring as a performer, Stephen has taught notably at the Royal College of Music where he directs song classes and coaches individual students. This and his Doctorate in Performance make him ideally suited to teach at Sherborne Summer School where he has now taught for several years
Alex Jenkins read music at the University of Nottingham graduating with a BA(Hons) and an MA. He was appointed Musician-in-Residence at Christ’s Hospital in West Sussex for two years, where he later worked as a visiting piano teacher. In 2017 Alex graduated with distinction in his MPerf in Piano Accompaniment at the Royal College of Music under the tutelage of Simon Lepper, Roger Vignoles and Andrew Zolinsky. Whilst there Alex was awarded the Titanic Memoriam Prize for best performance by a pianist in the Lies Askonas Vocal Competition and an accompanist’s prize at the Brooks-van der Pump English Song Competition, as well as performing at the Wigmore Hall, the Royal Albert Hall and the Victoria & Albert Museum.
He is currently a professional accompanist and vocal coach at the Royal Welsh College of Music, working predominantly with the Vocal, Choral Conducting and Opera Departments. He is musical director for the postgraduate opera scenes at the RWCMD as well as senior vocal coach in his regular summer residency at Sherborne Summer School of Music. In December 2022 Alex made his TV debut as the pianist for an S4C documentary alongside the ‘Only Boys, Girls and Kids Aloud’ choirs and the world-renowned soprano Rebecca Evans. Alex regularly works with choirs, currently accompanying for Swansea Bach Choir and the Kenfig Hill & District Male Voice Choir. Recent concert highlights include accompanying Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle and Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana. Alongside the wealth of vocal music he is involved with, Alex is also a member of the Apollo Trio with violinist Oliver Nelson and clarinettist Paul Vowles, having recently completed a thrilling recital series around the South of England.
Martyn Noble is Sub-Organist at H.M. Chapel Royal, St. James’s Palace, Musician-in-Residence and Teacher of Piano at Highgate School and Teacher of Organ and Piano Accompanist and at the Royal College of Music Junior Department. He is also the regular accompanist of the Pro Arte Choir and deputises for several other choral societies in and around London.
In the UK, he has given Organ recitals in many Cathedrals and churches, he has also played in Paris, Leiden (Holland), Budapest, Brussels, Germany and Northern Ireland. As an accompanist he has worked for professors and students at the Royal College and Royal Academy of Music, the Leeds Lieder Festival and the British Isles Music Festival. In 2018, he was fortunate to play Keys 2 for the UK tour of ‘Miss Saigon’.
In 2015, Martyn graduated with a first class BMus from the Royal College of Music. He has appeared live on BBC Radio’s 3 and 4 and has recorded several CD’s for Novello, Boosey & Hawkes and Priory and Signum Records. Martyn plays annually for Classic FM’s broadcast of ‘Carols from Buckingham Palace’ which airs immediately after H.M. The King’s speech on Christmas Day.
He has also composed several choral works which are distributed by the Chichester Music Press and have received premieres at Exeter University, the Royal College of Music and as part of the Festival of Contemporary Church Music