Phoenix was formed in 2002 from the uniting of two choirs, Cantamus and Heritage Singers. It performs several times a year, including two large programmes of sacred and secular choral music with an orchestra and excellent professional soloists (see our Concerts page).
The choir is a registered charity and supports local charities through carol singing in the Beacon Centre, local hotels and other venues.
MICHAEL FIELDS – Director
MICHAEL FIELDS 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.
EVELYN TUBB – Patron of Phoenix Choir
EVELYN TUBB 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.
GAVIN STEVENS – Accompanist
GAVIN STEVENS works as a teacher of piano and guitar. 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 gives frequent piano recitals and he likes to include works by 20th century British composers in these concerts alongside his own music and more standard repertoire.
Gavin has been accompanist for Heathfield Choral Society since 1999.