Nicholas Houghton: Director
Nick is an experienced choral conductor, organist, accompanist and workshop leader.
He’s currently Music Director of the Lewes Singers, the East Sussex Community Choir, the Brighton Singers and the Brighton Orpheus Choir, and Chorus Master of New Sussex Opera. Nick also works with many other local groups including the Eastbourne Choral Society.
In a conducting career spanning over forty years, including eight years with the Reading Haydn Choir and fifteen with the Downland Chorale in Surrey, Nick has been fortunate to work with many orchestras and fine musicians including Dame Emma Kirkby, Dame Felicity Lott, Sir John Tomlinson, Julia Bishop, James Bowman, Alison Bury, Anthony Halstead, Neil Jenkins and Judy Tarling.
Having been a chorister at Coventry Cathedral, Nick studied organ with David Lepine, Robert Weddle and Nicolas Kynaston, and music at Bristol University. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Organists. Now a full-time freelance musician, for 35 years Nick also held a variety of teaching roles in both the independent and state sector including five years as Head of the East Sussex Academy of Music (ESAM) in Lewes.
Nick is the organist at St Michael’s in Lewes where he founded the First Sunday Recitals Series. He also maintains a busy concert schedule as a continuo player, generally playing his own Goetze and Gwynn chamber organ (a beautiful 17th century-style instrument) and Bizzi harpsichord.
Howard Beach – Accompanist
Howard Beach’s uniquely wide-ranging style of keyboard playing has been developed through years of partnering fine musicians in many different fields of music, including as an accomplished and characterful vocal accompanist. Between 1988 and 2000 he played for many prizewinning singers in international competitions and concerts, including winners of the Kathleen Ferrier competition, the Richard Tauber prize and the NFMS award.
For a decade from 2000-2010 Howard was the harpsichordist of the baroque quartet Red Priest, recording four acclaimed CDs, touring the world and appearing on radio and TV – including the South Bank Show, for which occasion he fashioned some noteworthy facial topiary.
Since leaving Red Priest Howard has worked as accompanist, repetiteur, coach and teacher. He was also for several years a tenor soloist at the iconic St Bartholomew’s church in Brighton. Howard is pianist for three choirs, Resound, a male-voice chamber choir based in Brighton, the New Sussex Singers and The Fletching Singers.
(Photo: Emma Bailey)
After growing up in Sussex, Shona Knight studied for a BA(Hons) in Music at Durham University, graduating in 2013. A choral scholar of St. John’s College in her final year she won a concerto competition to perform Britten’s Soprano Song Cycle Les Illuminations with Durham University Chamber Orchestra before touring the work in Prague.
Recent solo performances have included the soprano solos in Handel’s Messiah and L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato, Bach’s St John Passion, Haydn’s Paukenmesse, Mendelssohn’s Saint Paul, Cecilia McDowall’s Magnificat and Mozart’s Mass in C Minor.