EX CATHEDRA | Jacob Ewens - tenor

From our ‘Beethoven, Missa Solemnis’ programme, January 2020

Jacob’s musical training began as a chorister at Westminster Abbey under James O’Donnell (2001-2007). He spent six happy years there immersed in the busy schedule of services, tours, recordings (he took part in six recordings), and was Head Chorister in his final year. He continued his musical escapades throughout school – not only singing, but conducting, playing the organ and the trumpet, where he discovered his love of jazz.

In 2016 Jacob graduated from Oxford University where he was organ scholar at Keble College. After a year as Director of the chapel choir at Lincoln College Oxford, Jacob decided to streamline and focus on his singing by doing an MA course in Ensemble Singing at the University of York where he studied under Robert Hollingworth and Alex Ashworth. Alongside his studies there, Jacob enrolled on scholarship schemes with the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain and Voces8, before completing his MA with distinction in 2018.

Now back home in Peckham, he is enjoying a freelance career, singing regularly with Apollo5, Oxford Camerata and London Voices, alongside the scholarship programme with Ex Cathedra. He has also recently become an uncle and is spending as much time as possible with his adorable new nephew!

1. How long have you been a member of Ex Cathedra and why did you join?

All of 5 months! I applied for the graduate scholarship as I’d heard how brilliant Ex Cathedra was and was also interested in the extensive outreach projects, which, as a Scholar, I can participate in. It’s also nice to get out of London every now and then!

2. What does a typical day look like for you?

I’m not sure a typical day exists in my life! Almost every day is different. I quite like the variation and I get to travel often around Europe which I really love, although I am conscious now of my air miles!

3. If you could choose to perform again any piece you have performed before with Ex Cathedra, what would it be, and & why?

Rachmaninoff Vespers. It was the first time I’d ever performed the entire piece, and probably the most challenging thing I have ever sung. So I’d quite like another go at it!

4. What’s your musical “guilty secret”?

I’m not a big fan of Beethoven! But it is his birthday year and perhaps the Missa Solemnis will convert me. We’ll see…