Laura Baxter – Repetiteur
Originally from Aberdeen, Laura Baxter graduated from the Royal Academy of Music in London in 2005. Having completed her undergraduate studies at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, she attended the Royal Academy on a scholarship, studying with
Iain Ledingham and specialising in piano accompaniment. Collaborative work with the Royal Academy Opera enabled her to win
the Brenda Webb Prize, part of the Richard Lewis Vocal Award.
She now lives and works in Glasgow, playing with the Cartha Trio, Auricle Ensemble and Opera Bohemia. A committed educator,
she was recently made resident music animateur for Scottish Opera’s Education department, a job which enables her to work
with young people around the country on a variety of education projects and performances.
Marie Claire Breen – Vocal Instructor
Scottish soprano Marie Claire Breen is the chief vocal instructor of Breath Cycle and has worked on a number of education and outreach projects with Scottish Opera. These include residencies with Children’s Hospice Association Scotland at Rachel House in Kinross and Lodging House Mission in Glasgow. She has given masterclasses and vocal tuition in Tianjin Normal University, China and Tanglin Trust School, Singapore. Alongside establishing her career as a vocal instructor, she regularly performs as a soloist across the UK.
In 2010 she graduated from the Alexander Gibson Opera School with Distinction under the tuition of Pat Hay. She was runner-up in Ye Cronies Opera Award and was the recipient of the Governors Recital Prize for Singing 2009, following which she recorded a special performance for BBC Radio Scotland’s Classics Unwrapped. She was awarded the Norma Greig Prize for French Song, the Hugh S. Roberton Prize for Scots Song and was second prize winner in the A. Ramsay Calder Debussy Prize.
She is a former Scottish Opera Emerging Artist and appeared extensively throughout the 2010–12 seasons. Roles with Scottish Opera include Vixen The Cunning Little Vixen (with the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland); Venus Orpheus in the Underworld; Dewman/Cover Gretel Hansel and Gretel; Page Rigoletto; Shepherd Boy Tosca. In October 2012 she created the role of Miss Austin in the world premiere of The Elephant Angel by composer Gareth Williams. She made her BBC Proms debut performing Vaughan Williams’ Serenade to Music with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra under Donald Runnicles.
David James Brock - Librettist
David James Brock is a playwright, poet, and librettist whose plays and operas have been performed in cities across Canada, the United States and the UK. He is the winner of the 2011 Herman Voaden Canadian National Playwriting Award. He penned the libretto for The Sloans Project (composer: Gareth Williams), which was most recently performed at the 2013 Edinburgh Fringe Festival (previous: Glasgow’s 2011 Merchant City Festival, Tapestry New Opera’s 2011/2012 season). Other highlights include libretto for Sewing the Earthworm for the Canadian Art Song Project (Toronto, 2011. Composer: Brian Harman) and Pretty Boy for the Paul Dresher Ensemble (San Francisco, 2012. Composer: Jack Perla). His debut poetry collection, Everyone is CO2, is forthcoming from publisher Wolsak and Wynn in Spring 2014. He lives in Toronto.
Julie Brown - Director (Five Ways of Looking at Fire in the Dark)
Julie Brown trained at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland on the BA (Honours) Contemporary Theatre Practice course. She is co-Artistic Director of Scottish theatre company Random Accomplice.
As a performer, director, producer and project manager her work has taken her across Scotland and further afield to the Czech Republic, Holland, Italy and New York. She has worked for a varied range of companies including National Theatre of Scotland, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Arches Theatre, Bard in the Botanics, Macrobert and, of course, Scottish Opera.
Most recent credits include performances in The Snow Queen (Cumbernauld Theatre); The Incredible Adventures of See Thru Sam (Random Accomplice, CATS Award Winner); directing credits for Der Jasager & Down in the Valley (Scottish Opera Connect Company); Cinderella (Macrobert); and West Side Story (Harlequin Eastwood Theatre for Youth).
She worked with one group of Breath Cycle participants. She will also be directing Pop Up Theatre Royal for Scottish Opera in Spring/Summer 2014.
Dr Rachel Drury – Project Researcher
Dr Rachel Drury is a freelance musician and researcher working predominantly in the field of music education and psychology. She is the creator and composer of BabyO and SensoryO, two groundbreaking operas for infants aged between 6 and 36 months (currently touring with Scottish Opera), for which she has received international acclaim. She is also a lecturer on the undergraduate and postgraduate programmes at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, has a doctorate in music psychology, and specialises in music education for children with additional support needs. She has devised and delivered a number of projects for national arts organisations and her performance credits include the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Scottish Ballet and Scottish Concert Orchestra.
Dr Gordon MacGregor - Chief Study Supervisor
Dr Gordon MacGregor is a Consultant in Respiratory and Cystic Fibrosis Medicine based at the Department of Respiratory Medicine at Gartnavel General Hospital and at the Clinical Research Facility of the Western Infirmary, Glasgow. He is an Honorary Senior Lecturer at the University of Glasgow, having studied medicine at the University of Glasgow and for a PhD at the University of Edinburgh. His particular fields of research are in cystic fibrosis and respiratory medicine and he chairs the Scottish Cystic Fibrosis Group.
His previous research was as part of the UK Cystic Fibrosis Gene Therapy Consortium and he is currently involved in investigator-led and collaborative research as well as pharmaceutical trials. His main academic research focus is in cystic fibrosis and he collaborates at the University of Glasgow.
Lisa Morrison - Physiotherapist
Lisa Morrison has worked in cystic fibrosis for the past 19 years, with the last 12 being in adult care. She is particularly interested in exercise management and has presented locally and nationally on this topic. During the Breath Cycle project, she was particularly involved in the appreciation of how airway clearance may mimic some of the qualities that singing has to offer.
Iain Piercy - Filmmaker
Iain Piercy has worked as a freelance artist specialising in illustration and multi-media film and video work for a number of years. He has worked throughout Europe and has won a number of awards at film festivals in the UK, Europe and America. His current freelance educational film work with Scottish Opera has involved projects in China, Botswana and India.
Dr Gareth Williams - Composer
Gareth Williams is a Chancellor’s Fellow at Edinburgh College of Art. His work seeks to find new participants, collaborators and audiences for new opera and music theatre, and to explore ideas of vulnerability - on stage and through vocal writing.
Williams was Composer in Residence at Scottish Opera from 2011 to 2014, creating several works during this time. Elephant Angel (libretto Bernard MacLaverty), toured Scotland and Northern Ireland in 2012. Another opera, Last One Out (libretto Johnny McKnight) was premièred at the Sound Festival in 2012 in Fraserburgh Lighthouse.
In 2015 he created Fields of Light for the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, commissioned by BBC Radio 3, Let the dancing out for the Maxwell Quartet, and he composed, and conducted the premiere, of Hirda, a new opera created for NOISE Opera, in collaboration with Shetland fiddler Christopher Stout.
In May 2016, Rocking Horse Winner, a new chamber opera, premiered in Toronto, produced by Tapestry Opera Company, and went on to be nominated for 9 Dora Mavor Moore Awards, winning 5, including outstanding opera production.
Currently he is working on the third and final part of the 306 story, written with Oliver Emanuel for the National Theatre of Scotland in 2018. The first part, 306: Dawn, was shortlisted for a 2017 CATS award for best music and sound.
He is also creating a new chamber opera with the band Admiral Fallow, for NOISE Opera, to be performed in whisky distilleries across Scotland in 2018.
Listen to his music at www.garethwilliamsmusic.com