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Timothy Connor, Baritone


1. Is your family musical?

My mum’s family were very musical. There were 7 children and they all sang together. They went round the local music festivals (and won!) Northern Ireland’s answer to the Von Trapps! My dad’s father played the accordion but as far as I know, no one is or was a professional musician.

2. Which famous musicians do you admire? Why?

Long before I was a singer I was mad about my violin. I loved Nigel Kennedy’s take on Vivaldi and I remember falling in love with Mendelssohn’s E minor Concerto after finding an old CD of Itzak Perlman in a school cupboard. Nowadays I listen much more to singing and I think Christian Gerhaher is one of the best Baritones out there. I think his way with the music is exquisite. I am besotted with all the old recordings of Peter Glossop and of course, Thomas Allen.

3. Can you tell us about of your time studying at the Trinity College of Music?

Trinity was an amazing experience. Obviously it was my first time leaving home and really, I grew up at Trinity and I grew up in London. It was such an open-minded environment and we had some of best chances to work on new music – It was a great time for experiment. Not many undergraduates get the chance to be in fully produced operas at their Conservatoire but we did. I even had a role in my first year as M. Javelinot in Poulenc’s ‘Les Dialogues des Carmelites’ (6 bars of music but stage time nonetheless!) I made many friends and we got up to all kinds of mischief. It was such a nurturing environment for young musicians but as with many places there is always a time to move on.

4. What are your fondest musical memories, privately or performing?

Just over a year ago I played Figaro in Mozart’s ‘Le Nozze di Figaro’ and I got the chance to perform it on a national tour with a small company. We played to really great audiences in some of the UKs most beautiful opera houses. My favourite was probably the Blackpool Grand. It’s a Frank Matcham theatre and it’s just beautiful. My family were there, the theatre was packed and for me at least, the atmosphere was electric.

5. You are currently a student at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. How is it like to study under John Llewellyn Evans?

My principal study lessons with John are my ‘best since sliced bread’ activity. Each time I see him I uncover new nuggets of information that help unlock my tensions and technical problems. He is very inspiring and I get so much from him.

6. You were a Choral Scholar at the Chapel of the Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich. Can you tell us more about this period of your training?

I was a choral scholar for two years at the ORNCC and it was a very interesting experience. Learning to work with precision in a team has been useful ever since. I had some great opportunities like my first ever tour to Italy - I sang Handel’s Messiah at the Emilia Romagna Festival with the Greenwich Baroque Orchestra and singing at St Paul’s Cathedral.

7. You have worked with a wide range of artists. Do any of these performances particularly stand out for you?

I remember seeing Yvonne Howard sing Leonore in Fidelio at Opera Holland Park. I remember I was stunned with the beauty of her voice. Two months later I sang with her at a Proms style event in Cambridgeshire – I found it hard to sing when all I wanted to do was listen!

8. You describe yourself as a proud Concordia Artist. Can you explain to us what this means?

The Concordia Foundation is such a special charity. Its aim is to ‘build bridges of friendship through music and the arts’. It provides platforms at some very prestigious venues in London, works for school children in poor boroughs and works with the sick children at Chelsea Westminster Hospital. I’ve been an artist with them for 3 years and they really build you as a forward thinking artist. The Director, Gillian Humphreys, herself a Soprano, gives all the knowledge that we’re not taught at college.

9. If you could do a duet with anybody alive or dead, who would that dream partner be?

Pavorotti - Without a doubt. And it would have to be the Rodolfo/Marcello duet from La Boheme. Easy!

10. How often and for how long do you practice?

Honestly, it varies from day to day. I can spend a whole day imagining what the feelings are or experience the feelings of space in my throat. Others, I can spend 3 hours learning notes and practicing the basics. For me, its about always thinking about the processes, on the tube, at home in the ad breaks or in the shower. Its such an ongoing journey.

11. Do you or would you like to teach music?

I did teach when I was on my undergrad. I taught a secondary school and South East London and the kids were awesome. I was lucky that they all wanted to be there. I would consider teaching again, especially much later in my career, but for now I’m learning and I’m happy wth that.

12. How do you balance your music with other obligations? What are the biggest sacrifices?

We all know that singing or being a musician is a vocation and a lifestyle choice. We get such wonderful experiences that I don’t think there is any room to complain about the ‘sacrifices’ we make. Of course there are difficult times like being away from family and friends but if they are good enough friends they always understand and when you see them again, its like you never had time apart.

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