2017 Performer Profiles: Thomas Herford

No.1 – Thomas Herford (tenor)

Associate Artistic Director Jamie Campbell introduces some of the outstanding performers taking part in the 2017 Southwell Music Festival.

“We are thrilled to be welcoming tenor Thomas Herford back to Southwell Music Festival.

1) Who are you, where are you based, and what work do you do?

I’m Thomas Herford, a tenor based in London. Like most of my colleagues here at Southwell, I’m a proper freelancer. I’m lucky to have a very broad, challenging and fulfilling singing career, performing both as a soloist and an ensemble singer with some amazing colleagues. An important part of my work is being a key member of the baroque ensemble ‘Solomon’s Knot’, performing, among other things, many of the great oratorios by heart and without a conductor. Lots of people think we’re mad to do this, but singing the whole St John Passion from memory (chorus, arias and Evangelist) at Bach’s own church in Arnstadt recently was a genuine life highlight! I also sing quite a lot of opera – I love acting – and the rest of my time is filled with Monteverdi Choir projects and other bits and bobs. So, a big mixture, and I feel very fortunate.

2) What music are you most looking forward to performing in Southwell this year?

My two main things this year are Buxtehude’s Membra Jesu Nostri and Poulenc’s Figure Humaine, and I’m looking forward to both of them hugely! The Buxtehude, one of the earliest pieces that can be recognised as an Oratorio, is a deeply moving meditation on the various different parts of Jesus’s crucified body, and the Poulenc is a shattering response to the Nazi occupation of France, by turns despairing and patriotic. It’s going to be an intense week therefore, and I’m excited about having the chance to dig deeply into these seminal pieces.

3) What other things have you got coming up that are interesting in the next few months?”

The coming months are a bit crazy. Lots of Bach (St John Passion evangelists in Switzerland, my first St Matthew evangelist in Christchurch Priory, a tour of the B Minor Mass with Solomon’s Knot), a Salieri opera called ‘La Scuola di Gelosi’, a staged Gesualdo and Monteverdi madrigal show in Italy, and a tour of Scotland with I Fagiolini and the Scottish Ensemble. Another highlight is a performance of Handel’s Saul in nearby Nottingham at the end of November. Hope to see some of you there!