Nigel Foster

Pianist & specialist accompanist

Nigel was the piano accompanist at the Opera South New Year Champagne Reception, Concert & Dinner 2009, just as he was at the Twelfth Night Celebration New Year Concert 2008, and the Twelfth Night concert and the Soirée Music on a Summer’s Evening in 2007. He also played at other events over the years such as Cinderella in 1999 when he played harpsichord instead of piano, as part of the augmentation of the wind quintet.

Nigel Foster was born in London. He studied piano at the Royal Academy of Music, at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama (with Graham Johnson), and also privately with Roger Vignoles. At both the Academy and the Guildhall, he won every prize and award available for piano accompaniment. In 2000 Nigel was appointed an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music.

Nigel is the Founder and Artistic Director of The London Song Festival. This is an annual event, launched in October 2007 to showcase and promote Nigel’s principal interest and passion, the classical song repertoire. In 2010 the Festival celebrates French Song and Poetry, performed in atmospheric settings. The four concerts will feature two internationally known artists; tenor James Gilchrist and baritone Stephan Loges who will perform alongside a number of very exciting up-and-coming young singers who have all won major prizes in the past year. Details can be found on the London Song Festival website.

Nigel enjoys a busy schedule performing on the concert platform. He has played for instrumentalists including violinist Madeleine Mitchell, and for singers including Philip Langridge (Opera South President), Neil Jenkins, Jane Manning OBE, Ian Partridge, Stephen Varcoe, Sarah Walker, Yvonne Kenny, as well as many of Britainís leading young singers. Nigel performs at major UK venues including the Wigmore Hall, the South Bank Centre, the Barbican Arts Centre, and St John Smith Square in London, and at St David’s Hall in Cardiff. In his formative years, Nigel played for Graham Johnson’s Songmakers Almanac, the Park Lane Group, and several opera companies including Glyndebourne.

Nigel has worked with the great conductor Sir John Eliot Gardiner, and he has particularly happy memories of his time as a rehearsal pianist for the late Sir Georg Solti, playing for singers including Renée Fleming, Angela Gheorghiu, and Roberto Alagna. Nigel has played for masterclasses for Sarah Walker, Sherrill Milnes, Nelly Miricioiu, Thomas Hampson, Tom Krause, Stuart Burrows, and Ileana Cotrubas, and works closely with Sarah Walker in the Vocal Department at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

Nigel’s musical interests range from the baroque right through to contemporary music. With various singers, he has given premières of works by many leading composers including John Metcalf, Alun Hoddinott, Richard Causton, Julian Philips, Edward Rushton and Huw Watkins.

Nigel’s many CD recordings include several discs of contemporary music and anthologies of songs of Alun Hoddinott and Mansel Thomas with baritone Jeremy Huw Williams for the Sain label; “Songs from Latin America” with soprano Marina Tafur for the Lontano label; several CDs with the Dolmetsch Ensemble; and collections of English song with Stephen Varcoe. He features on the soundtrack of the French film “L’Homme est une femme comme les autres”.

Nigel has performed extensively all over Europe (France, Germany, Spain, Greece, Portugal, Ireland, the Netherlands), in Asia (Japan, Malaysia), and in the Americas (USA, Canada, Colombia). He has radio and television credits in both Britain and continental Europe.

An association with Opera Plus led to regular playing and coaching in Belgium, where Nigel enjoyed indulging in the local chocolates. Nigel has appeared on English and Welsh television and played for song recitals on Classic FM and French radio.