Harpist Louise Thomson and vocal ensemble Corvus Consort (formerly the New Oxford Consort) both hold a deep affection for the lesser-known and rarely-performed repertoire for choir and harp and formed this collaboration in order to perform the rich and varied programmes of music it offers.
Louise Thomson is a versatile and experienced musician, whose playing has taken her to prestigious concert venues around the UK including the Royal Albert Hall, St David’s Hall in Cardiff and Bridgewater Hall in Manchester. It has also given her the opportunity to perform with some of the country’s most respected ensembles: the Hallé Orchestra, Manchester Camerata, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra and Manchester Concert Orchestra. She has been invited to perform live on BBC Radio 3, and made her television debut performing live on BBC 1 for the Heaven and Earth show with soprano Katherine Jenkins.
Some of Thomson’s early notable successes included winning the Harp Finals at the world renowned Royal National Eisteddfod of Wales Competition in 2003 and performing as a Finalist in the London International Harp Competition in 2005.
In April 2007 she was short-listed to audition for HRH The Prince of Wales for the position of Royal Harpist at Clarence House and performed for HRH Queen Elizabeth II and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh at The Royal Variety Performance in the same year.
Louise was awarded a place at Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester to study with Eira Lynn Jones. During this time Louise won the Ida Carroll String Prize for outstanding musical achievement, and was subsequently awarded an entrance scholarship to study at the Royal Northern College of Music.
Completing her undergraduate course in 2005, with a First Class BMus (Hons) degree, and her post-graduate diploma (PGDip) with Distinction in Performance in 2006, Louise went on to complete a Masters Degree (MMus) in 2007, again with Distinction in Performance. She concluded her time at the RNCM by winning the Concerto Competition. After graduating, Louise was immediately invited onto the Live Music Now Scheme (founded by Yehudi Menuhin) which involved extensive touring around the country giving solo recitals and educational workshops to an enormous range of audiences.
Louise also takes great pride in her harp teaching and has built up a highly vibrant harp community around the North of England. She tutors harp at Withington Girls’ School, St. Anselms Preparatory School in Bakewell and Sheffield High School for Girls. Louise is also the harp tutor at Huddersfield University and is a visiting tutor at RNCM.
The Corvus Consort is a vocal ensemble based in the UK.
Founded and directed by Freddie Crowley, the group draws its members from a pool of young professionals in the early stages of their singing careers.
Its key objectives of musical versatility and innovative programming lead the Consort to perform a wide variety of genres and styles, ranging from the Renaissance to the present day, and to enjoy a range of instrumental collaborations. The ensemble is also flexible in size and forces, so it can be carefully tailored to each particular performance context.
Ongoing collaborations include a project exploring Baroque choral works with the Ferio Saxophone Quartet and a programme of music for upper voices and harp with harpist Louise Thomson.
In summer 2020 the Consort released two videos, recorded remotely during the coronavirus lockdown. Their video of J. S. Bach’s accompanied chorale ‘Jesus bleibet meine Freude’ was premiered as part of The Sixteen’s Sounds Sublime Online festival. The festival also featured the Consort’s video in collaboration with Music on the Edge, which explores the Renaissance soundworld of Tomás Luis de Victoria’s ‘O vos omnes’ through instrumental improvisations.
Since making its first appearance in Devon in September 2018, the Consort has enjoyed performances at the Kings Lynn Festival, Borough Theatre Abergavenny and Merton College Chapel in Oxford, as well as several more concerts across the Westcountry. Future engagements include a Christmas concert for the Lamberhurst Music Society and planned performances at Buckfast Abbey and Clifton Cathedral.