DEBORAH MILES-JOHNSON combines the roles of mezzo-soprano, vocal coach and conductor. As a singer Deborah has now worked with most of the world’s leading conductors including both Sir Simon Rattle and Sir Andrew Davis performing Stravinsky’s Requiem Canticles. Among many solo performances was Bach’s St Matthew Passion with the English Concert in concerts around Europe, Istanbul and Japan and the lead role in Handel’s IlParnasso in Festa for the London Handel Society which was taken by the BBC.
As a consort singer, she has sung with many high profile ensembles including The Sixteen and the Tallis Scholars and the BBC Singers with whom she has made many broadcasts and recordings. She also sings regularly at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden as a member of the Extra Chorus and has sung under many conductors including Semyon Bychkov (Tannhäuser) Lorin Maazel (1984) and Daniel Oren (Robert le Diable). Other productions include Andrea Chénier (Giordano) under Sir Antonio Pappano where she sang alongside Jonas Kaufmann, Lucia di Lammermoor (Donizetti) and Oedipe (Enescu). She is currently in rehearsal for The Nose by Shostakovich.
As a soloist, she acquired a reputation for taking on difficult contemporary works at short notice and took the part of Caroline in Henze’s Elegy for young Lovers for Radio France at three days' notice. She sang the premiere of Brian Elias’s Laments with the BBCSO at a week's notice and Jean Barraqué’s …au dela du hasard with Klangforum in Vienna, although that had the luxury of two weeks' notice!
Commercial recordings include an excerpt from Carmen with Gerald Finlay on his recital disc and the Missa Brevis in D and B flat by Mozart with St Albans Cathedral Choir under Andrew Lucas for Naxos. She recorded the role of Betty Doxy in the Britten/Gay arrangement of The Beggar's Opera and one of the Converse in the EMI recording of Puccini's Suor Angelica. She made her Wigmore Hall debut performing Upon Silence by George Benjamin with the viol group Fretwork following performances in Geneva.
Deborah also has a thriving career as a vocal coach and chorus master. She began by conducting friends in male-voice choir music which eventually evolved into the now highly successful prizewinning Imperial Male Voice Choir with whom she performs all over the world, most recently in St Petersburg. She was appointed Chorus Master for Chelsea Opera Group in 2010 and had the privilege of working with Richard Bonynge on Donizetti’s Belisario. She was vocal coach to the excellent BBC Symphony Chorus for 20 years, has assisted many of the big London choirs and now gives vocal workshops to choirs around the country and abroad (www.choralclinic.co.uk). She worked with the Hong Kong Bach Choir in 2011 and Sydney, Australia, in December in 2014 for choral workshops and sessions with the choristers at St Mary’s Cathedral.
Her diverse musical life includes performing on the soundtrack of many recent major films including Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and the latest Shrek and Alice through the Looking Glass. She has a thriving teaching practice at her home in St Albans and enjoys playing the viola (not very well) in a string quartet.