Our leading musicians

Colin Beeson – Chef de Choeur

Colin Beeson received his early musical education and training in London before graduating with First Class Honours from the University of Reading, where he also gained his doctorate in 1976. He moved to Manchester in 1975 in order to take up a position as lecturer at the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) from where he recently retired from his role as its Deputy Principal to embark on a freelance career that has included conducting, examining and education consultancy across the UK, in Eastern Europe and in Hong Kong.

As a conductor, Colin has worked with numerous choirs and choral groups, including also a number of television appearances. As an academic, one of his main interests – and his passion – is for 19th century Italian opera, especially the operas of Verdi. This led him to accept an invitation to join Wilmslow Opera to conduct Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra, after which he remained with the company for several years as its Principal Conductor and Music Director, conducting operas including A Masked Ball, Cavalleria Rusticana, Pagliacci, and Norma. Since retiring from the RNCM Colin has found time again to work in opera and is currently the Music Director of Preston Opera with whom he has recently performed Offenbach’s Orpheus in the Underworld and The Tales of Hoffmann as well as Verdi’s A Masked Ball and Aida. Future plans include performances of La traviata and Pagliacci with Preston Opera in 2013.

This is Colin’s first appearance at the Festival de Musique de St Gaudéric, and he is especially delighted to be visiting this delightful region of France.



Jonathan Lilley, Accompagnateur, Répétiteur et Organiste


A church musician since chorister days at parish and cathedral in Salisbury, Jonathan Lilley trained at the Royal Academy of Music as an organ pupil of Nicholas Danby, with ancillary studies in piano, church music and choral conducting. Whilst still a first-year student he held the organ scholarship at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, and gained the Fellowship of the Royal College of Organists.


After graduation he spent six years making music in and around Leeds. Based at Leeds Parish Church where he was Sub-Organist and the first director of the new Girls’ Choir, he ran a busy and varied freelance career, especially as choral director and accompanist for Leeds College of Music and to numerous choirs around the West Riding of Yorkshire.


 In 2002 Jonathan moved to Ely Cathedral where as full-time Assistant Organist he accompanies the cathedral choir and assists Director of Music Paul Trepte in all aspects of the training and running of the choir. He also acts as organist to The King’s School, Ely, who along with Ely Choral Society and Ely Consort keep him active as a freelance accompanist. In recent years he has gained the Royal College of Organists diploma in choral conducting, and had conferred upon him the Royal Academy of Music’s honorary diploma of Associate in recognition of his work and achievements.

Laura Sheerin – Soprano

Laura Elizabeth Sheerin, graduated with a Bachelor of Music (hons) in Music Performance in 2009 and went on to complete a Masters in Solo Performance with Distinction last year both at the Royal Northern College of Music studying with Peter Alexander Wilson and Mary Brennan. Laura was the grateful recipient of the Yamaha Vocal Scholarship (2009/10) and a Headley Trust Bursary (2010/11), which enabled her to complete her studies at the RNCM.

Whilst at the RNCM, Laura has participated in private and public masterclasses with such distinguished artists as Joan Rogers, Patricia McMahon, Ryland Davies, Jonathan Lemalu, Sandra Martinovic and Claire Booth.

On the operatic stage, Laura has worked with Scottish Opera and Opera Northern Ireland in their co-production of Orpheus in the Underworld, in which she covered the role of Venus.

Laura has sung several principal roles in the RNCM Opera Theatre including: ‘Micaëla’ in Bizet’s Carmen, ‘Vespina’ in Haydn’s L’infedeltà delusa, ‘The Frog’ in Janaček’s The Cunning Little Vixen, ‘Bridesmaid’ in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, and ‘L’écureuil’ in Ravel’s L’enfant et les Sortilèges. She has also sung in the choruses of Puccini’s La Rondine, Weill’s The Threepenny Opera and Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin. In operatic excerpts, Laura has performed the roles of ‘Manon’ in Massenet’s Manon, ‘Suzel’ in Mascagni’s L’amico Fritz, ‘Anne Trulove’ in Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress, ‘Despina’ in Mozart’s Cosí fan tutte, and ‘Belinda’ in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas.

An active proponent of new music, she performed the role of ‘Marie’ in the UK premiere of Tim Benjamin’s Le Gateau d’anniversaire in the Purcell Room of the Southbank Centre.

Singing regularly with the acclaimed chamber choirs, Codetta and the Manchester Consort, Laura has performed roles including ‘Dido’, in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, and Merab in Handel’s Saul, and as a soloist in Duruflé’s Requiem, Handel’s Messiah and Dvorak’s Te Deum. Laura performs annually with the South Creake Chorus in the Yorke Trust Easter project; works including Handel’s Dixit Dominus, Bach’s Magnificat and Cantata No’s 6, 67 and 104 and Handel’s Israel in Egypt.

On the concert platform, Laura regularly appears throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland. Most recently, Laura has performed a series of Gala and Viennese concerts with L’orchestra dell’arte in the Liverpool area. Other highlights include Mozart’s Requiem with the Chiswick Choir and Orchestra in London, Mozart’s Mass in C minor with the King Edward Music Society, Golijov’s Night of the Flying Horses and Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 with the RNCM Symphony Orchestra and Strauss’ Vier Letzte Lieder with the Sheffield Symphony Orchestra.

Laura’s future engagements include performing at the Northern Ireland Opera Festival of Voice in Glenarm Castle, County Antrim in August. www.laurasheerin.com

Daniel Farrimond – Tenor

 Daniel is a Manchester born lyric tenor. In September he is to commence a Masters in Performance at the Royal College of Music, London, under the tuition of Mr Tim Evans-Jones. Prior to this he studied under Peter Alexander Wilson at the Royal Northern College of Music from whom he receives continued guidance. During his time at the Royal Northern, he took part in private and public Masterclasses with Robert Tear CBE, Helen Yorke, Patricia MacMahon and Dennis O’Neill CBE. Daniel was the grateful recipient of an RNCM vocal scholarship and an entrance award from the Lauriston School Trust. Whilst at the Royal College, Daniel will hold an esteemed position as chorister at St John’s, Hyde Park, receiving sponsorship from the Grant William Gibbs Religious and Educational Trust.

His staged solo role highlights include: Baron Von Eisenstein in Johann Strauss’ Die Fledermaus, Jupiter in Offenbach’s Orpheus in the Underworld, Joséf in the modern premier of Harmonia de los tres Mundos, Lucifer in A.T. Ortells’ Oratorio Sacro a la Pasión de Cristo Nuestro Señor, the Father in Humperdink’s Hansel and Gretel, and Fairfax in Yeoman of the Guard, and Ralph in HMS Pinafore at the international Gilbert & Sullivan festival, Buxton. He performed the roles of Gabrielle, Fritz & Dr. Caius for the RNCM opera scenes. Alongside his solo work, Daniel has sung tenor chorus in Verdi’s Falstaff and Mozart’s The Magic Flute, Grange Park Opera, London, Tchaikovsky’s Eugine Onegin, British Youth Opera, and Puccini’s Tosca, Opus1 Music.

Daniel is a frequent concert soloist and recitalist. Highlights of his platform solo roles ; Handel’s Messiah, Mozart’s Solemn Vesper, Coronation Mass in C, Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas and Puccini’s Messa di Gloria. Future engagements include recitals for the William West memorial series, Christchuch, Derry, Ireland, and Leigh Music Society. www.danielfarrimond.com


Louis Hurst – Bass-baritone

 Louis is a young bass-baritone studying with Stuart Mackintyre at the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM). His love of music began during his time at Manchester Grammar School where he sang as a treble chorister. Louis also comes from a musical family as his father is a bassoonist who introduced the young Louis to the Romantic composers. Louis’ performances throughout the UK are vast and varied and he has worked with eminent conductors such as Richard Hickox,Martyn Brabbins, Nicholas Kraemer and many others. His opera roles have been eclectic and unusual, ranging from a lion to a Greek god and even God!

A core part of his repertoire is English song and he works passionately to promote this cultural heritage, whis is in decline, along with the poetry so central to the genre.

Louis is also a Lay Clerk at the Oratory Church of the Holy Name in Manchester, as well as a deputy at Manchester Cathedral, where he is able to indulge his love of Renaissance Polyphony.