Formby Choral Society

Soloists’ Biographies

Biographies of the soloists on Saturday 20th November 2021

Barbara Ruzsics is a Hungarian soprano who studied music at both the College of Charleston. South Carolina, USA and the Liszt Academy of Music, Budapest.   She was awarded her Master’s degree with distinction in Singing and Teaching.   

Barbara has attended masterclasses by Nicolas Clapton, Laszlo Polgar,  Krisztana Lakia, Nancy Argenta, Eva Marton and Felicity Lott.   

She was awarded second place in The National Association of Teachers of Singing Competition in Norfolk, Virginia, USA in April 2008.   The following year Naxos recorded Liszt’s Dante Symphony with Barbara as treble soloist.   

Since moving to Liverpool in 2010 Barbara has sung for many performances of Lieder and Opera concerts around Merseyside.   Recent engagements have included soprano soloists in:  Handel’s Messiah, Bach’s  St. John Passion, Mozart’s Requiem, Haydn’s Creation, the title role of Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice, Brahms’ Requiem, Strauss’ Four Last Songs, Mahler’s Ii and IV Symphony, Beethoven’s IX Symphony and Ravel’s Sherezade.   Barbara is a regular performer at Hope University concerts, Liverpool, the Music for All Concert Series at the Metropolitan Cathedral, Four Season Opera Concerts in St George’s Hall, Liverpool and she is a member of the Liverpool Bach Collective lead by Philip Duffy.

Joyce Tindsley (mezzo-soprano) was born in Lancashire and, after graduating from UCNW, Bangor, where she studied with William Mathias, continued her vocal training at the RNCM with Barbara Robotham and Christopher Underwood, and later with Opera North’s Wyn Davies and Sally Burgess.

Over the years Joyce has worked with legendary conductors such as Georg Solti, Charles Groves, Richard Hickox, Stephen Cleobury, John Rutter, and David Willcocks and appeared as a soloist in many major concert halls and cathedrals around Britain with orchestras including the BBC Philharmonic, Bournemouth Symphony, and BBC Concert Orchestra. She has had a connection with the BBC for over 30 years, firstly as a member of the BBC Northern Singers and latterly the Daily Service Singers. 

Joyce has always enjoyed teaching alongside her performing career and has worked as vocal tutor at Lancaster University, provided masterclasses for Chetham’s School of Music, as well as running a private teaching practice. She provides workshops and teaching to choral groups and was appointed vocal coach to the Huddersfield Choral Society in September 2017, to the Keele Bach Choir in September 2018, and she also became the Musical Director of the LGN Community Choir in January 2019. In her spare time she is studying for an MA in Voice Pedagogy at the Voice Study Centre.

British tenor Philip Clieve was born in Lancashire. He is a graduate of the prestigious National Opera Studio and gained both his MMus and Bachelors’ from the Royal Northern College of Music. 

Philip has worked with most of the UK’s major opera companies, including Opera North, Welsh National Opera and English National Opera. 

Operatic roles include Max Der Freischütz, Alfred Die Fledermaus, Prince Philippe A Dinner Engagement, Gherardo Gianni Schicchi, Zorn Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Ralph H.M.S. Pinafore, The Defendant Trial by Jury, Mr Box Cox and Box and Colonel Fairfax Yeoman of the Guard. He has also performed many Oratorios, including Handel’s Messiah, the Mozart Requiem, Mendelssohn Elijah, Puccini Gloria, Rossini Petite Messe Solennelle, J.S. Bach Magnificat and Stainer The Crucifixion. 

Philip enjoys a varied concert portfolio, having sung Strauss, Schubert and Schumann lieder, English song of the 19th and 20th century and the songs of Paolo Tosti. 

Philip returns to the National Opera Studio as an Associate artist for the 21/22 season.

Stuart O’Hara is a freelance singer based in London. A graduate of Durham University and the University of York, he studies with Alexander Ashworth (RAM).

​​He has worked with directors and conductors including Eamonn Dougan (Britten Sinfonia Voices, The Sixteen), Justin Doyle (RIAS Kammerchor), Philip Duffy (Liverpool Bach Collective), JanJoost van Elburg (Westerkerkkoor, Amsterdam), Mark Elder (Hallé), Robert Hollingworth (I Fagiolini), James MacMillan (with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra), Paul McCreesh (with the Royal Northern Sinfonia),  Peter Seymour (Yorkshire Baroque Soloists), Greg Skidmore (Lacock Scholars), and Andrew Parrott (Taverner Consort).

Recent highlights include Awaken! with I Fagiolini at the National Centre for Early Music, York, French baroque cantatas with Canzona at Brighton Early Music Festival in October, and the quincentenary of John Fayrfax with Ensemble Pro Victoria in October.

Born and bred in Liverpool, Stuart was a lay clerk at the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King (RC) for many years, and also spent two years as a songman in the choir of York Minster. He is now a lay vicar in the choir of Westminster Abbey

Jon Barton – organist

Jon began studying the organ at Liverpool Cathedral with Ian Wells, and then with Matthew Owens and Kevin Bowyer at the Royal Northern College of Music. He also studied piano with Paul Janes and harpsichord with David Francis. Whilst at the RNCM he was awarded a scholarship to continue his studies abroad with Zsigmond Szathmary, Bernhard Haas and Yanka Hekimova. Since then he has performed in many cathedrals and concert halls across the UK, and also features regularly in concerts and functions at Liverpool Hope University.
He is Organist of Shrewsbury Cathedral, teaches at Birkenhead School and Merchant Taylors’ School, Crosby, and not only accompanies BCS, but also Formby Choral Society, and Amadeus: the Chamber Choir.

David Holroyd – conductor

at the organ of Wakefield Cathedral

Until summer 2019, David was Director of Music at Merchant Taylors’ School in Crosby. He studied organ and choir-training at the Royal Northern College of Music with Ronald Frost, Gillian Weir and John Bertalot.

David’s musical career began at the age of 7 as a choirboy at St Hilary’s Church Wallasey, where in due course he became Organist and Choirmaster.  He spent a time as Assistant Organist at Chester Cathedral before moving to Merchant Taylors’ School. He has conducted BCS since 1985, and also conducts Formby Choral Society, and Amadeus: the Chamber Choir, and is Organist at St Peter’s Church, Formby.