Simon Keenlyside Britishborn baritone

Simon Keenlyside Britishborn baritone

Keenlyside was born in London, the son of Raymond and Ann Keenlyside. Raymond played second violin in the Aeolian Quartet, and Ann’s father was the violinist Leonard Hirsch. When he was eight, he was enrolled in St John’s College School, a boarding school for the boy choristers of the Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge and spent much of his childhood touring and recording with the choir under the direction of choirmaster George Guest. He later attended Reed’s School in Cobham, before moving on to university at Cambridge. Keenlyside read zoology at Cambridge University, returning to St John’s as a choral scholar, before studying singing at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester.

Simon Keenlyside Britishborn baritone

After graduation, he won a Peter Moores Foundation scholarship (1985) and chose to join the Royal Northern College of Music to study voice with the baritone John Cameron under whom he developed a love for lieder and German poetry. Keenlyside later said of him: Everyone has to trust a teacher and I trusted John. It is possible to make the Faustian pact of beefing up your voice young. You might survive, but many talented young voices have been ruined. John always said “don’t push it, sing your age”. That can be very frustrating. You just have to trust that nature will eventually grant you heft.Simon Keenlyside made his operatic debut at the Hamburg State Opera as Count Almaviva (Le Nozze di Figaro). He has since sung in Geneva (Hamlet), San Francisco (Pelleas), Sydney (Figaro), Berlin (Figaro), Paris (Papageno and Guglielmo), at the Metropolitan Opera, New York (Belcore), La Scala, Milan (Papageno and Count Almaviva under Riccardo Muti), in Ferrara (Don Giovanni under Claudio Abbado), and at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden (Belcore, Marcello, Guglielmo and Count Almaviva under Bernard Haitink). He returned to La Scala (Papageno), to the Metropolitan Opera (Marcello) and to Paris (Dandini in La Cenerentola and Yeletsky in Pique Dame). He made his debuts at the Vienna State Opera (Figaro and Marcello) and the Bavarian State Opera (Marcello and Wolfram), and sang his first Orfeo in Brussels, London and at the Aix-en-Provence Festival.

Simon Keenlyside enjoys extensive concert and recital work, appearing recently with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra under Zubin Mehta, Chamber Orchestra of Europe under Claudio Abbado, Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra in Salzburg and Berlin under Claudio Abbado, and City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in London and Vienna under Sir Simon Rattle.

For EMI Classics, Simon Keenlyside has recorded two recital discs featuring works by Schubert and Strauss with Malcolm Martineau, and Des Knaben Wunderhorn under Sir Simon Rattle. His most recent role is Mercutio in Charles Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette with Roberto Alagna, Angela Gheorghiu, and Michel Plasson conducting the Orchestre du Capitole de Toulouse.

In 1995 Simon Keenlyside received the Singer of the Year Award both from the Critics Circle and the Royal Philharmonic Society.

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