Frances Cooper (soprano) was born in Inverness. She began her singing studies at the North East of Scotland Music School in Aberdeen with Raimund Herincx, continuing in London with the late Johanna Peters and, on her return to Scotland, with Patricia MacMahon. A soloist in oratorio and recital, she has also sung regularly with the vocal ensembles Cappella Nova and Dunedin Consort, performing in the St Magnus Festival, Noirlac Festival in France and at the Belfast at Queens Festival. With the early music quartet, Fires of Love, she has sung around the UK and released three critically acclaimed recordings with Delphian Records. ‘Remember me my deir – Jacobean songs of love and loss’ was an editor’s choice in Gramophone Magazine. She has been well known to music club audiences through her performances with the trio Triplicity and as part of a new all-female ensemble for voices and violin, Fliskmahoy! In addition to performance work, she has a busy teaching practice and tutors vocal workshops for adult and youth choirs.
Joanna Nicholson (clarinet) studied at the junior department of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, and then the Royal College of Music, where she was an Exhibition Scholar and winner of numerous prizes. She pursues a lively freelance career performing, broadcasting and recording with many of the UK’s finest orchestras and ensembles, as well as smaller, quirky combinations and has featured as a soloist with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra at the London Proms, and with the Scottish Ensemble, performing the Finzi Clarinet Concerto. She has been invited to play chamber music in venues including the Purcell Room and New York’s Lincoln Center. Her compositions include the score for the dance work In Situ, which won a Herald Angel at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and numerous musical stories for primary school children (which are performed by her group Sonsie Music), as well as several original pieces and arrangements for Turning the Elements. She was artist in residence at The Barn, Banchory during summer 2018 and over spring 2019 toured as Guest Principal Clarinet with Scottish Ballet.
As Turning the Elements, we have appeared at festivals around the country: StAnza Poetry Festival (St Andrews), Fringe by the Sea (North Berwick), Sound Festival (Aberdeenshire), and Book Week Scotland (Jedburgh). We have played in Banff for Music Centeral and, with assistance from the Hope Scott Trust, performed on the Isle of Arran, and in Campbeltown, Dundee and Aden Park in Mintlaw, Aberdeenshire. In October 2018, our programme formed part of The Night With… series of concerts (in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen) where we premiered a new commission by Matthew Whiteside. We were selected to appear in the Edinburgh Fringe in August 2019, again with The Night With…, as part of the Made in Scotland Showcase, curated by Creative Scotland.
- “Frances Cooper’s diction was so clear and so perfect”
- “Joanna Nicholson exploited her most colourful and impassioned playing”
- ” Our two performers had taken us to so many places I had never even imagined before!” Sound Festival
- “The skilful playing of Nicholson on clarinet and bass clarinet combined magically with Cooper’s perfect pitch soprano notes to bring out the full meaning of the songs” Music Centeral