Phoenix was formed in 2002 with the merging of Cantamus and the Heritage Singers. We are a non-auditioned choir and enjoy singing to a high standard with professional orchestras and soloists. The choir gives two main concerts a year, including programmes of sacred and secular choral music. The choir is usually joined by its sister choir in the Netherlands, Maastricht Phoenix, for one a concert a year. The choir is a registered charity and supports local charities through various carol singing events. It can also be booked for weddings and funderals.
MICHAEL FIELDS – Musical Director
Michael is a multi-faceted musician with world-wide reputation in performing, directing, teaching, composing and record producing.
Although a lutenist and guitarist through his first training, his work has always involved working with singers - foremost in a 35 year duo partnership with soprano Evelyn Tubb, as well as accompanying other eminent singers ranging from Emma Kirkby to Van Morrison, conducting amateur and professional choral and instrumental groups, and composing a variety of vocal works.
Michael began his musical journey playing folk, jazz and rock in California. A growing interest in 'early' music led him to England in 1974 where he continued his studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and in Basel. He received the AGSM and LRAM diplomas in 1977.
Michael Fields is widely regarded as a leading interpreter of the works of Hildegard of Bingen. He directs the vocal ensemble, VOX ANIMAE, whose audio and video recordings of Hildegard's Ordo Virtutum have received international acclaim.
Michael has been Musical Director of Wadhurst based chamber choir POLYPHONY for 20 years, he directs the baroque ensemble SPREZZATURA and KALEIDOSCOPE, an ensemble of voice, flute and guitar. He founded the MAYFIELD CHAMBER OPERA COMPANY which specialises in Baroque opera. He also teaches at Westminster School, London.
Michael is married to soprano and singing teacher Ansy Boothroyd and lives in Eastbourne.
ANSY BOOTHROYD – Deputy Musical Director
Ansy was a choral scholar at Trinity College Cambridge where she studied Modern Languages. During this time, she also performed a Christmas panto (directed by Prince Edward) to the royal family at Windsor castle. She then went on to study singing for two years at the Royal College of Music. She has performed as an oratorio soloist in the Queen Elizabeth Hall and the Barbican and in many operas and opera galas, and toured the UK, France and the USA with London City Opera. In contrast, she enjoys singing with her band, Jazzmatazz. Ansy teaches singing at Christ’s Hospital, Eastbourne College and Sastamala Gregoriana early music summer school in Finland and is also Musical Director of the Fletching Singers. She is a professional potter and sculptor, exhibiting in several of the UK’s finest galleries.
GAVIN STEVENS – Accompanist
GAVIN went to the Royal Academy of Music where he studied composition, piano and electronic music; winning the Arthur Hinton prize at the end of his first year for performing his compositions in a recital
Gavin has worked for over 30 years as a teacher of piano and since 2011, guitar. As a pianist he gives frequent piano recitals where he likes to include works by 20th Century British composers alongside his own music and more standard repertoire.
As a composer, Gavin has written a wide range of works for piano and a growing number of pieces for guitar, among works for other instruments and voices.
Gavin has been accompanist 'extraordinaire' for Phoenix since our 2014 season. He is also the accompanist for Heathfield Choral Society.
Our Phoenix Choir Patrons
EVELYN TUBB has been a much loved patron of Phoenix for several years. She is renowned for her innovative and adventurous performances, which breathe life and character into both familiar and forgotten songs
"Evelyn Tubb must be one of the few truly outstanding sopranos of her generation. Her recitals are worth travelling the length of the country to hear." Yorkshire Post
"A high class concert - a veritable gem, to have had the opportunity to hear the extraordinary voice of Evelyn Tubb. Fields' lute playing accompanied her voice with a precision and harmony rarely found between singer and accompanist." L'Arena, Verona
Evelyn comes from a large and artistic family and played many instruments, danced and sang from early childhood, much of which was spent in the Isle of Wight. She followed this with studies in singing, piano and trumpet at the Guildhall School of Music. In those student days, Evelyn was a regular visitor to Eastbourne, where her eldest brother played for a week each summer on the bandstand, as a member of the band of the Royal Corps of Transport - back in the days before pop tribute bands came to dominate our seaside summer entertainment.
Her professional career as a singer has since taken her around the world several times, singing in opera and oratorio, giving recitals with lutenists Anthony Rooley and Michael Fields and performing as a member of one of the world's leading and most influential early music ensembles, the Consort of Musicke.
Evelyn has long been involved in music education and is Professor of Singing at the Schola Cantorum, the acclaimed school for historic performance practice, in Basel, Switzerland and frequently gives masterclasses around the world. She is a passionate advocate for the benefits of singing on the whole person, knowing from her own experience that it is an activity that engages and enriches body, mind and spirit. She is delighted and honoured to be the Patron of Eastbourne's Phoenix Choir, and looks forward to a long and fruitful relationship with them.
Roberto Balconi is a Milanese singer and conductor. While his vocal repertoire ranges from early to contemporary music, he has focused particularly on the style and technique of baroque music, establishing himself internationally as one of its most accomplished performers. He has sung at major venues and early music festivals all over the world and made a large number of recordings. He has for many years also been active as conductor, notably with the instrumental and vocal ensemble Fantazyas, and devotes his time to musical research and the rediscovery of forgotten repertoire. He has recorded, for Brilliant Classics, Egidio Romualdo Duni’s Les Deux Chasseurs et la Laitière, conducting the Polish baroque orchestra Accademia dell’Arcadia. With Fantazyas, for the same label, he has released Giovanni Ghizzolo’s Il Secondo Libro de Madrigali, and, more recently, Giulio Caccini’s Le Nuove Musiche, 1601.
Rogers Covey-Crump has enjoyed a solo career as a leading British concert and ensemble singer spanning forty-eight years, appearing at the BBC Proms, cathedrals and other major venues around Britain, on the Continent and in North America, notably as Evangelist in the Bach Passions. Rogers is a "tenor haute-contre," a natural voice in a high range without falsetto, while still retaining the characteristic ring of a true tenor.His accurate pitch and ability to adapt to different temperaments is a major factor in his outstanding career. He is interested in early and very recent music. Alongside his work with Songcircle and then The Hilliard Ensemble, his recordings include the secular songs of Dufay and Ockeghem, albums of lute songs with Jakob Lindberg and Paul O’Dette, five albums of late eighteenth-century song with Café Mozart, and much Baroque repertoire, and the ceremonial and the church music of Purcell with The King’s Consort.
DEREK LEE RAGIN