Choral Scholars 2023-24
Thames Philharmonic Choir is delighted to have appointed five Choral Scholars who are singing with us this season. They are:
London-based soprano Lottie Day is a first-class graduate of the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. Since graduating, she has blossomed as a choral singer, having held a scholarship at St Mary’s, Primrose Hill, and currently at St Pancras New Church. During her studies, Lottie sang with the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire’s prestigious Chamber Choir under Jeffrey Skidmore and Paul Spicer. At this time, she was also employed as Soprano Choral Scholar at St Philip’s Cathedral in Birmingham from 2021-2022.
As well as choral singing, Lottie is an avid soloist and opera singer. In Summer 2022, she performed as La Musique in the RBC’s production of Les Arts Florissants, in which her singing was described as “gorgeously light”. Other past roles include Mary Braud in Stephen McNeff’s opera Banished (2022) and Erste Knabe in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte (2019), and various parts in Monteverdi’s Madrigals of Love and War (2018). A keen linguist and singer of French repertoire, she was also a finalist in the Stuart Cameron Smith French Song Prize in November 2021.
Alongside her classical musical endeavours, Lottie is a singer-songwriter with a real love for writing poetry. She hopes to create a portfolio career which will truly allow a variety of creative musical pursuits in many genres.
Natalka Pasicznyk is a First Class Music graduate of King’s College London, who is pursuing postgraduate vocal studies at the Royal College of Music with Patricia Rozario. She has had lessons with renowned singers, such as Nadine Sierra and Barbara Bonney.
Past operatic roles include Susanna in Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro (Ensemble Orquesta Academy), the role of Bessie Throckmorton in Edward German's Merrie England (Brent Opera) and Spring and Mystery in Purcell’s Fairy Queen (Not Just Opera). More recently, she has debuted Eralys Fernandez's children’s operas, Mr and Mrs Hake and the Magic Princess Fish and The Shoemakers and the Elves in Ireland, as well as soloing more oratorio and cantata repertoire outside of London.
Having grown up singing Ukrainian folk music with her father and sister, Natalka is enthusiastic about sharing her culture and has become involved in sharing Ukrainian classical music in recent years. She has performed Ukrainian art songs at the Ukrainian Holland Park Cultural Centre and, more recently since the full-scale invasion, performed for charity concerts in King's Place Concert Hall, King’s Cross, and St Barnabas Church, Kensington, to raise funds for people affected by the war. In the past, she has been interviewed by the Ukrainian department of the BBC World Service about her musical endeavours as a third-generation Ukrainian soprano.
Mezzo-soprano Rachael Best-Babayeju joined the Royal Academy of Music in September 2022 with a scholarship on the Undergraduate Vocal Studies course. She is currently under the instruction of Alex Ashworth and Chad Vindin (previously Benjamin Mead), and has been taught by Jean-Claude Ohms. At the academy she was recently invited to tour in Neresheim with the Academy chamber choir and is also part of the founding team for the African Caribbean Society.
Outside of the Academy, Rachael is an avid choral singer and currently sings with many choirs. She frequently sings with the National and London youth Chamber Choirs, and Rodolfus choir having performed at events and venues such as the BBC news awards, Good morning Britain, the Royal Albert hall and Royal festival hall, working under Ben Parry, Gareth Malone, Laurence Cummings and Greg Beardsell among others.
Rachael’s solo work includes the soprano solo in Bob Chilcott’s St John Passion at St John the Divine, the role of Dido - Acts 1 and 2 - in a semi-staged performance of Purcell’s ‘Dido and Aeneas’ and Eric Whitacre’s ‘Fly to Paradise’.
Rachael is also fascinated by the interrelation of physics, psychology and music and hopes to pursue this further alongside her singing in the future.
Matthew is a British tenor currently studying towards an MA in music performance at the Royal Academy of Music with Richard Berkley-Steele. Prior to the MA, Matthew graduated with a first-class degree in French, Italian and Business from the University of Kent with a year spent at the Université de Neuchatel in Switzerland where he continued his French language studies alongside private vocal tuition from Swiss Bass, Sylvain Muster.
In the 23/24 season Matthew is one of nine artists selected for the Glyndebourne Academy program and has benefitted from coaching with Mary King, Yolanda Grant-Thompson, Peter Selwyn, Caroline Jaya-Ratnam & Nicholas Bosworth.
Since moving to London, Matthew has established strong working relationships with Joe Fort, Manvinder Rattan, Graham Ross and Harry Bradford. Matthew is delighted to be working with Harry, James Orford and Thames Philharmonic Choir on their scholarship programme for the 2023/24 season.
In 2023 Matthew became a young artist of the Gilbert & Sullivan Society and in performance of G&S has sung the roles of Alexis, The Sorcerer; and Ralph, HMS Pinafore. Matthew has appeared at the International Gilbert & Sullivan Festival held at Buxton Opera House where he sung Nanki-Pooh, The Mikado and Marco, The Gondoliers with Peak Opera.
Matthew has also performed as part of the chorus in Verdi’s La Traviata and Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore and will soon be appearing in The Royal Academy Opera’s performance of Ariodante.
His concert experience includes the tenor solos in Handel’s Messiah and Dixit Dominus; Mozart’s Spatzenmesse and C Minor Mass and Haydn’s Nelson Mass and Heiligmesse. Matthew also enjoys a varied schedule of solo recitals and has three recitals planned for the 23/24 season in collaboration with Thames Philharmonic Choir.
Australian baritone Allyn Wu, based in London, is a passionate singer with a warm and rich voice. Currently in his final year of undergraduate studies at the Royal Academy of Music, he is mentored by Marcus van den Akker and Iain Ledingham, with previous instruction from Caitlin Hulcup, James Baillieu, and Maree Ryan.
Recently, Allyn performed Chopin's Polish Lieder at the Academy's piano festival and participated in the Academy Voices concert series at the Italian Cultural Institute. He also served as the bass soloist for the Side by Side Telemann cantata project with the Academy of Ancient Music.
In addition to his solo work, Allyn is an avid choral singer and has been a choral scholar in various churches and choirs. He frequently performs in the Academy's Bach in Leipzig concert series, collaborating with esteemed musicians such as Masaaki Suzuki, John Butt, Dame Jane Glover, Eamon Dougan, and Peter Whelan. Notably, he recently contributed to the chorus of the Royal Academy Opera's productions of Stravinsky's Rake's Progress, the Opera Triple Bill, and Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro.
Alongside his involvement with the Thames Philharmonic Choir, Allyn also sings with the Philharmonia Chorus. He has been selected for the 2023-24 cohort of Genesis Sixteen and as a choral scholar for Oxford Bach Soloists.
Allyn's deep passion lies in early music, particularly Bach, as he has already studied more than half of Bach's 200 cantatas. He also plays the violin and piano and is currently pursuing conducting lessons with Dominic Grier, aspiring to lead his own early music ensemble in the future.
“Once again, we were delighted with the number and quality of the applicants", says TPC Chair Sandra Macniven. "We are all looking forward to working with this year's Scholars, and really appreciate their enthusiasm for the idea of singing with the Choir and being involved with us as a community".