WELCOME TO LEVEDY
Levedy Ensemble is an exciting new voice and harp quintet formed by students and graduates of Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance.
Levedy Ensemble has found a niche performing works for upper voices with harp, and the group were also delighted to recently be announced as winners of the inaugural Carne Trust Chamber Competition. As recipients of the Innovation Award, the group have commissioned a song cycle which, in collaboration with Sing Inside, will be workshopped in prisons next year.
The members of Levedy Ensemble (a Middle English word meaning ‘lady’, inspired by the language in Britten’s Ceremony of Carols) are particularly interested in the juxtaposition of solo and ensemble voices with harp, and cultivating a unique and mature blend. Formed of opera singers with choral backgrounds, and a multifaceted harpist with experience as a concert soloist and opera pit musician, Levedy seeks to push the boundaries of the classic ethereal voice-harp ensemble sound and create instead a rich, robust and full-bodied scape.
PREVIOUS PROJECT: ALONE, TOGETHER
Alone, Together is a creative response to the concept of isolation. Like all artists, Levedy Ensemble as a group was affected by the Coronavirus pandemic, not least because the musicians were unable to work together, rehearse and perform. The pandemic encouraged Levedy Ensemble to consider groups and communities for whom isolation is a part of their every day life; such as hospitals, nursing homes and prisons. Levedy Ensemble are excited to have developed a project that will allow them to express the isolation they had experienced, whilst reaching out to and working with often-isolated communities.
Levedy Ensemble is passionate about championing the work of women in creative fields and commissioned rising female composer Shaye Poulton Richards to set seven poems written by female poets, from Sappho to Emily Dickinson, to music. The group also asked Shaye to write five accompanying soundscapes. The soundscapes, unlike the songs, are improvisatory, and use material written by Shaye to create artistic responses to the songs in the cycle. These soundscapes act as a tool through which Levedy Ensemble, partnered with charity Sing Inside, will work with isolated communities in prisons across the UK over the coming months.
November 2021: A risentir le stelle
Levedy was delighted in November 2021 to be invited by Lilium to Padova, Italy, to record as part of the 'A risentir le stelle' project, which highlights creative dialogues between music and contemporary art, in particular reacting to the artworks of the exhibition ‘A riveder le stelle’ – Eremitani Museums, curated by Barbara Codogno.
Commemorating the anniversary of the disappearance of Dante Alighieri seven hundred years ago, verses from the three Divina Commedia Cantiche are interpreted alongside music, in this case Hymn to the Waters from Holst's Rig Veda, The project was realised with the support of Comune di Padova – Assessorato alla Cultura.
The group's experience is garnered from a vast array of choirs and ensembles including the choirs of Queens’, Robinson and Trinity colleges, Cambridge; the Old Royal Naval College Trinity Laban Chapel Choir; the Philharmonia Chorus; the National Youth Choir of Scotland; Emma Kirkby’s Dowland Works and the Facade Ensemble, as well as in orchestras such as the London City Philharmonic; the CBSO Youth Orchestra and the Swiss Youth Orchestra (SJSO)
Madeleine Todd, soprano
Madeleine Todd is a soprano currently in her final year at Trinity Laban. She first started singing as a member of the National Youth Choir of Scotland at the age of seven, and continued her musical education as a choral scholar with the Choir of Trinity College, Cambridge under Stephen Layton. With the latter she has recorded the works of Ralph Vaughan-Williams, Gerald Finzi and CV Stanford, and has toured internationally to the USA, Canada, Hong Kong and Australia. She is currently a choral scholar with the Choir of All Saint's, Orpington.
As a soloist, Madeleine has appeared in performances of Handel’s Messiah, Bach's B Minor Mass and Purcell’s Hail Bright Cecilia. Her most recent operatic performances include singing the role of Susanna in Puzzle Piece Opera's production of The Marriage of Figaro, and as a chorus member in The Elixir of Love at Waterperry Opera Festival, where she was a Young Artist.
During her time at Trinity Laban, Madeleine has sung the roles of Noémie in Massenet’s Cendrillon, Echo in Strauss's Ariadne auf Naxos, Eurydice in Offenbach's Orphée auf Enfers and L'Ensoleillad in Massenet's Chérubin. She is looking forward to completing her masters in the next year whilst embarking on some exciting projects with Levedy!
photo: Jamie Johnson
Olivia Bell, soprano
Olivia has just graduated with distinction from the master’s programme at Trinity Laban as a Kathleen Roberts scholar under Tessa Cahill, winning the Director's Prize for Excellence. She has been chosen to represent the vocal faculty in the Gold Medal at King's Place in January.
She previously read English as senior choral scholar at Queens’ College, Cambridge, where a love of Anglo Saxon and medieval literature was born - in perfect timing to join Levedy! This year she was joint recipient of the Joaninha Award and inaugural recipient of the Rose Opera bursary. Masterclass highlights at Trinity included with Barbara Hannigan, Sandra Dugdale and Ubaldo Fabbri.
A former young artist at Bury Court, premiering Mad Kind Suibhne in association with English National Opera, recent roles include: First Witch (Dido and Aeneas), Hurn Court Opera; Soprano (Diary of One who Disappeared), Two Moors Festival/Momentum: Papagena [cover] (The Magic Flute), Oxford Opera; The Lost One (A Time of Empty Tales), Tete a Tete festival; Annina (La Traviata), New Sussex Opera; First Lady (The Magic Flute), Opera Anywhere.
Her song and ensemble repertoire ranges from lute music as a member of Emma Kirkby’s Dowland Works, to Stimmung with the Façade Ensemble.
photo: Jamie Johnson
Helen Daniels, mezzo
Helen is a mezzo-soprano from Coventry, who recently graduated with a distinction in her master’s in vocal studies from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance.
Under Trinity Laban’s tuition she has performed in masterclasses with renowned singers Barbara Hannigan, Anna Stéphany and Gidon Saks, and played Rosina (Il barbiere di Siviglia), Ursule (Béatrice et Bénédict), Nancy, (Albert Herring) and Ino (Semele).
In September 2021 Helen is delighted to be joining the Swiss Opera Studio programme based in Bern, where she will be studying with Christian Hilz. Helen is generously supported by the Alec Turner Music Scholarship (awarded by the General Charity of the City of Coventry), The Turner Exhibition Fund and the Soothern and Craner Charitable Foundation.
Alongside her studies Helen is a professional ensemble singer and has performed with many highly-acclaimed groups including Classical Opera, Philharmonia Voices, The Hanover Band, City Bach Collective and Sansara.
Helen read academic music at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, where she sang with Trinity College Choir under the direction of Stephen Layton.
Rhian Davies, mezzo
Laudine Dard, harp
Laudine Dard, praised as a lively and engaging harpist, is much in demand internationally as a solo, chamber and orchestral musician. Passionate about chamber music, she plays frequently with several ensembles. Recent solo repertoire includes the Dances by Debussy and the Concerto for flute and harp by Mozart.
Laudine has played with many orchestras such as the London City Philharmonic, the CBSO Youth Orchestra, the Swiss Youth Orchestra (SJSO) and the Orchestre Symphonique Genevois. She performs regularly in prestigious venues including the Wigmore Hall in London, the Victoria Hall in Geneva, the Tonhalle in Zürich and the Birmingham Symphony Hall.
Laudine studied in Geneva Conservatoire and in Vienna with Julia Reth. She was then awarded a scholarship to study at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London with Gabriella Dall’Olio and Frances Kelly.
She will start a Master of Music in Munich in the class of Cristina Bianchi in October.
She was selected to perform in masterclasses with Marie-Pierre Langlamet (Berliner Philharmoniker), Fabrice Pierre, Emmanuel Ceysson and Germaine Lorenzini among others to perfect her playing.
Rhian Davies is a final-year postgraduate mezzo-soprano at Trinity Laban, studying under Teresa Cahill. Prior to studying at the conservatoire, Rhian graduated from the University of Cambridge, having read Music at Robinson College as an alto choral scholar. As an oratorio and cantata soloist, she has performed works by Handel (Messiah and Dixit Dominus), J. S. Bach (B Minor Mass, Christmas Oratorio and Magnificat), C. P. E. Bach (Magnificat), Mozart (Reqium) and Duruflé (Requiem). She has also participated in live broadcasts on BBC Radio 3 and French media with The Old Royal Naval College Chapel Choir and The Philharmonia Chorus.
On the operatic stage, Rhian has studied the roles of Maman (L'enfant et les sortilèges), Second Maid (Elektra), Marcellina (Le Nozze di Figaro), Third Lady (Die Zauberflöte), Mistress Quickly (Falstaff), Mother (Louise), Juno (Semele), Hermia (A Midsummer Night’s Dream) and Auntie (Peter Grimes) as part of Trinity Laban’s Postgraduate Opera Scenes. She also sang the role of Filipyevna in scenes from Eugene Onegin, as part of a WNO side-by-side project with the Trinity Laban Symphony Orchestra, and Charwoman and Great Aunt Ermintrude in Thea Musgrave’s A Christmas Carol. Rhian has participated in masterclasses with Patricia Bardon, David Gowland, Stephanie Wake-Edwards, Michael Morfidian, and Susan Bullock.
Photo: Jamie Johnson