EX CATHEDRA | Ex Cathedra Scholars 2020-21


Imogen Russell is a soprano based in Cambridge. She graduated from her MMus in Vocal Performance at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire with distinction in 2020, under the tutelage of Amanda Roocroft. During her time at the Conservatoire, she was a student scholar with Ex Cathedra, under the direction of Jeffrey Skidmore. As an undergraduate, Imogen sang with The Choir of Trinity College, Cambridge under the direction of Stephen Layton for four years. Other groups Imogen has performed with include lluminare, the Armonico Consort, and Polyphony, with whom she has recently toured Norway, singing stand-out solos in music by Arvo Pärt.

Gabriella Liandu is a Zambian-Scottish mezzo soprano, currently based in Birmingham. She recently completed her Bachelor of Music (Vocal and Operatic) degree at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, awarded with First Class Honours.  She is currently working within various fields of the music industry, including performance and education. Her work takes her far beyond the operatic stage. Her experience covers a wide range of genres with a large repertoire expanding through to Choral and Jazz. Gabriella was a Student Scholar with Ex Cathedra in 2018-19.

Tim Burton, tenor, stated singing as a Chorister at Gloucester Cathedral. He then went on to sing at both Truro and Gloucester Cathedrals as a choral scholar, and as a Lay Clerk at Tewkesbury Abbey. Tim is currently a Lay Clerk at Birmingham Cathedral whilst studying Vocal and Operatic Performance at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. His solo performances include Mozart Requiem, Rossini Petite Messe Solennelle and Bach St Luke Passion.

Jonty Ward, bass, began his singing career at the age of six as a founding Chorister under Stephen Clarke at Radley College. He went on to sing as a chorister at New College, Oxford becoming head chorister in 2011. In 2019 Jonty graduated with a first-class honours degree in music and has recently completed his postgraduate studies at the University of York. He currently sings as a Bass Songman at York Minster having taken up the position earlier this year. Jonty was a member of the Genesis Sixteen 2019/20 programme, and enjoys playing the organ and directing music at St Lawrence Parish Church, York.

Student Scholars

Ciará Preston Myakicheff, soprano, grew up in the Lake District and began her musical studies on piano and flute, before turning her focus to singing aged fifteen. Ciará has a special interest in early and choral music, which she found singing in a chamber choir with Dr Anthony Milledge. Pursuing this interest she has taken solos in performances of Bach’ St Matthew Passion, Handel’s Dixit Dominus and Haydn’s The Creation and has gained further experience with the Hallé Choir under the direction of Sir Mark Elder, for whom she has sung in the semi-chorus of Bach’s Mass in B minor, and in performances of Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 and the premiere of Emily Howard’s The Anvil in commemoration of the Peterloo protests. She is currently in her first year at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire studying Vocal Performance with Louise Crane.

Katie Hackman, mezzo soprano, was born in Seoul, South Korea. After she started playing the piano and cello aged 6, Katie discovered she had a passion for singing and choral music, whilst being part of Downe House’s Prima Voce, performing at Winchester and Guilford Cathedrals, and Royal Festival Hall. She has been a member of the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain since she was 13 years old. Katie is currently in her 1st year at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, studying on the BMus Vocal and Operatic course. 

Marcus Burton, tenor, began his singing career as a Chorister at Bristol Cathedral, progressing to become Head Chorister and then Deputy Head of the Consort Choir with a choral studentship. In 2018 Marcus joined the Royal College of Music Junior Department, studying voice with Jean Claude Ohms as his teacher. Marcus was a part of RCMJD Parry Voices and Chamber Choir, directed by Joy Hill, performing in venues around London and was included in the RCM Student Union production of Sweeney Todd. Earlier in 2020, Marcus completed a project of significant interest to him and researched and performed a solo recital at Bristol Cathedral as a part of their lunchtime recital series, based on the evolution of English Song. Marcus is currently in his first year at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, with Jonathan Gunthorpe as his teacher.

Oliver Barker, bass baritone, is from Oxfordshire where he discovered his passion for music, learning the violin, saxophone and piano. As a singer he has been able to perform alongside choirs such as the Oxfordshire Youth County Choir, The Radley College Scholars, The King’s Singers and the London Chamber choir. He has been lucky enough to shadow conductors such as Laurence Cummings in his direction of Monteverdi’s Vespers at the Garsington Opera and is currently studying in his first year on the Vocal and Operatic course at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire being taught by Christopher Turner.