Q&A with singer Ellen Arkwright

Ellen Arkwright was our soloist at a recent concert, where she continued our magical theme with arias from Mozart’s The Magic Flute and Don Giovanni. In this short Q&A you can find out more about what drew her to a career in singing, her worst concert experience and the best advice she received.

Q: How did you get into singing?
My parents met doing a music degree so music has always been a huge part of family life. I started playing the trumpet and apparently sang around the house all the time. Dad thought I better have some lessons, it just went from there.

Q: Solo, chamber or choral – what is your favourite?
I don’t sing as much choral music as I used to, but I still love listening to choirs, I snap up any opportunity to do that. My big love is English song and French Melodie. It has been brilliant getting stuck into some operatic arias for this concert, I look forward to delving into more of this repertoire as my voice matures – it still has a long way to go!

Q: Your favourite singer?
This is a really difficult question. I have a huge amount of respect for the work of Joyce Didanato; my number one singer at the moment (changes all the time) is Anna Netrebko, her live    recording of La Boheme on Spotify is sublime.

Q: One of your ‘top ten pieces’ that you would like to sing one day?
Without a doubt ‘Rule Brittania’ at the last night of the Proms.

Q: Hardest piece you’ve ever sung?
Bach Cantatas are fiendishly difficult so any of them that I have learnt.

Q: Best concert experience as a soloist?
I was extremely honoured to be asked to sing at Geoffery Burgons memorial concert at St John Smiths Square. He had written for our Chapel Choir at school not long before he passed away. To be able to honour him in such a fantastic space was incredible – I will never forget that.

Q: Worst moment in your musical career?
The first concert I was ever asked to sing in as a soloist (I was 12) I cried for half an hour beforehand – Mum had to drag me on!

Q: What music do you like to listen to – apart from classical?
Jazz is my other passion – there is always jazz playing at home.

Q: Best piece of advice you’ve received in your career?
The best piece of advice I ever received was “It’s not the best musicians who make it to the top it’s the people who are the easiest to work with”.