Who We Are

STEPHEN JACKSON

Stephen Jackson is one of Britain’s most experienced choral trainers. He sang as a chorister at Westminster Abbey, then went on to Trinity School Croydon and Clare College Cambridge where he read music. After a few years as a professional bassoonist he turned to singing (he was a member of the BBC Singers for 10 years) and, finally, conducting and choir training.

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For 26 years he directed the amateur BBC Symphony Chorus, preparing a huge repertoire for many of the world’s principal conductors, among them Boulez, Haitink, Salonen, Rattle, Norrington, Colin Davis and Andrew Davis. In addition to countless choral/ orchestral premieres for which he was responsible (composers with whom he has worked include Tippett, Berio and John Adams), Stephen himself conducted Proms, CDs, studio recordings and the first performances of works by Mark-Anthony Turnage, Richard Rodney Bennett, Judith Bingham, Carl Rütti, Stephen Montague and others, many specially written for him. A unique achievement is to have programmed and broadcast 20th century a cappella classics not previously considered performable by an amateur symphony chorus – Schoenberg De profundis, Poulenc Figure humaine, Britten A Boy was Born, Strauss Die Gőttin im Putzzimmer and many others. Now freelance, Stephen continues to tour worldwide as conductor, teacher and adjudicator. He has worked in China, Japan, the USA, Australia and throughout Europe. In London he directs the chamber choir of Trinity Laban Conservatoire and is a member of the education panel of the Association of British Choral Directors. As a composer and arranger he is published by Novello and Boosey & Hawkes.

REBECCA LODGE BIRKEBAEK

Rebecca is a graduate of the Royal Academy of Music, where she studied singing and piano. During her time at the RAM, she received many prizes, including the Lloyds Bank Scholarship for postgraduate study, which enabled her to complete her studies on the Opera Course.

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Her career over the last 25 years as soloist, former member of the BBC Singers (the United Kingdom’s only full- time, professional chamber choir),  former staff member of the Chorus of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, choral conductor, educator and workshop leader has given her a wealth of experience. Equally at home performing on stage, in the recording studio or broadcasting on television and radio she brings energy, fun and commitment to all her projects.

Rebecca has a great passion for music education, encouraging and inspiring people of all ages and abilities to improve their singing through choral workshops, leading sessions for the BBC Performing Groups, the Royal Opera House, the Kings’ Singers, and Berkshire Maestros amongst many others. As conductor of several choirs, including the Intermediate Choir of the Finchley Children’s Music Group, Rebecca is delighted to be on the staff of Choritalia.

CRISPIN LEWIS

Crispin Lewis is the musical director of Choritalia. He founded Choritalia in partnership with Antonella Petrone in order to combine his passion for singing and choral music with his love of Italy: its culture, landscapes, food and history. Born in London, Crispin has a wide experience of directing choirs of all levels.

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Originally trained as an early-music specialist at the Royal College of Music, he has directed his own vocal ensembles at major concert halls including Wigmore Hall, the Royal Opera House Linbury Studio, South Bank Centre, Kings Place, St John’s Smith Square, and in many live broadcasts on BBC Radio 3. He has performed repertoire encompassing all the major choral works, and ranging from the medieval to many newly commissioned works. He is also a professional singer, appearing as soloist in opera and oratorio.

ANTONELLA PETRONE

Administrative and events director

Antonella Petrone, the co-founder of Choritalia, is an Italian events manager who has lived in the UK for six years, and was born and lived in Italy for 25 years. She combines her experience of Italian culture with knowledge of the British lifestyle to create the perfect holiday experience for guests. Through her experience of organising special events, especially weddings and honeymoon holidays with her own events company ‘Italy Destination Weddings’, she takes huge satisfaction from creating the perfect holiday for all lovers of Italy and of music.

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