Helen Hancock (soprano), Anita Vedres (violin), Sarah Groser (viol), Yonit Kosovske (harpsichord)
Helen Hancock sings emotion-filled arias from Handel’s operas Rinaldo, Alcina and Guilio Cesare in Egitto, his oratorio Il trionfo del tempo e del disinganno and from Rameau’s opera Castor et Pollux. Instrumental pieces by Handel (violin sonata HWV 371 in D major) and by Rameau (Pièces de clavecin en concert no 3: La Lapoplinière, La Timide, Tambourin) round off the programme.
Galway Early Music initially got to know Helen as the director of the Coole Music recorder ensemble The Whistleblowers. We then discovered that she is an accomplished singer who has taken the huge step of moving from choral singing to studying and performing as a soloist.
We are happy to introduce her to our local and international audience with this glorious programme of Handel and Rameau.
Galway based soprano Helen Hancock (soprano) is a native of Dublin. Her musical passions centre on Baroque opera and sacred music, art song and Mozart opera. A regular recitalist, Helen has performed at St Mary’s Cathedral Limerick, The Hunt Museum Limerick, Yeats Tower Thoor Ballylee in Galway as part of Heritage week 2019 and at Rathfarnham Castle evening recital series in March 2020. Most recently she performed in Galway Early Music’s Midwinter Festival and European Early Music Day celebrations.
Helen studied singing at the Royal Irish Academy of Music and at TU Dublin while pursuing an engineering degree in University College Dublin. Since resuming vocal studies with Professor Owen Gilhooly at the Midwest Vocal Academy in Limerick in 2015, Helen has completed her ARSM and DipABRSM diplomas and undertaken training abroad including Training in Classical Voice with Janice Chapman and Dr Ron Morris in 2017, The Abingdon Summer School for Solo Singers in the UK in 2018 and 2019 and The Singer as Artist in France in September, 2019. Helen won the Todd Cup for Oratorio at the Feile Luimnigh in March 2020 and was runner-up in the Duggan Cup for lieder.
Helen continues to study with Owen Gilhooly and with UK based Christine Cairns. She has worked with collaborative pianists including Uk-based Nigel Foster, Seho Lee and Irina Dernova and Mark Keane with whom she has performed regularly. Helen has a passion for chamber music which stems from her background as a recorder ensemble player. Helen also teaches recorder and singing at Coole Music and Arts, Galway and is choral conductor of SATB choir The Marine Singers.
Yonit Kosovske performs as a soloist and collaborative artist on harpsichord, modern piano, fortepiano and chamber organ. At home with repertoire from the Renaissance through New Music, Yonit curates, directs and co-produces projects and festivals that integrate music, text, movement, and painting, as well as her original photography and short film. Chrome Attic, Yonit’s ongoing research-recording-performance project, explores connections between musical chromaticism and chiaroscuro in Baroque painting and contemporary photography.
She recently received a 2020 Arts Council Music Commissions Award for Watershed—a song-cycle for voice and piano to be composed by Ailís Ní Ríain on poetry by Jessica Brown, to be premiered in 2021 in collaboration with contralto Julie Comparini.
Together with Vlad Smishkewych, Yonit co-founded H.I.P.S.T.E.R., an acronym for Historically Informed Performance Series, Teaching, Education and Research, as well as WAVE~LINKS, a new series of explorations in music and artisanry. Yonit is a Lecturer in Music at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance, University of Limerick.
She has given masterclasses throughout Ireland, the United States, Israel, China, and Colombia. She is the author of “Historical Harpsichord Technique: Developing La douceur du toucher,” (Indiana University Press, 2011), and she holds a Doctor of Music degree from Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, where she studied with harpsichordist Elisabeth Wright.
Anita Vedres (violin) was born into a musical Dublin family. She studied at the Royal Academy of Music in London and then at the Utrecht Conservatorium. She was a member of the Irish Chamber Orchestra for several years which she left in 2000 for family reasons. It was around this time she discovered a new passion for period performance and became a founding member of the Irish Baroque orchestra. She went on to do a masters in period performance and studied baroque violin with acclaimed Swiss violinist Maya Homburger completing her master with first class honours. Anita enjoys a busy and varied career as a freelance violinist working with every orchestra in the country. She has travelled to China with the RTE concert orchestra, Germany with the Irish Chamber Orchestra, Edinburgh and London with the Irish Baroque Orchestra and to Bucharest with the National Symphony Orchestra. She also enjoys chamber music and has performed as baroque violinist in Trio Quattro, Armoniosa and the Eidola trio.
Sarah Groser (viol) first played the viol as a nine year old when her father lent her one to keep her happy while she was waiting to start on the cello. She didn’t play a viol again until her late teens when she heard a viol consort and fell in love with the sound of viols playing together. At Manchester University she was able to study both baroque cello and viol with Charles Medlam, then went on to Rotterdam Conservatorium to study baroque cello with Jaap ter Linden.
Since her studies Sarah has concentrated on the viol and more recently the violone. She has been a member of the Rose Consort of Viols for twenty years, Sonnerie for eight years and has worked with many other ensembles including Fretwork, Charivari Agreable, London Baroque, Dowland Consort and The Irish Consort.