Recently described by The Times as “quickly becoming a latter-day Cathy Berberian or Meredith Monk”, French-born and London-based soprano Héloïse Werner was one of the four shortlisted nominees in the Young Artist category of the Royal Philharmonic Society Music Awards 2017 presented in association with BBC Radio 3. Recipient of the Michael Cuddigan Trust Award 2018, Linda Hirst Contemporary Vocal Prize 2017 and a Leeds Lieder Young Artist 2018, Héloïse is soprano & co-director for The Hermes Experiment. She is also a composer and in April 2019, she performed her solo opera The Other Side of the Sea at Kings Place as part of their Venus Unwrapped series (“you can’t help but be dazzled by it” **** The Times). Written in collaboration with poet Octavia Bright, director Emily Burns and visual artist Jessie Rodger, the opera explores language and identity. It was first premiered in London & Aldeburgh in 2018, with generous support from The Michael Cuddigan Trust, and developed in 2017 during a Snape Maltings residency under the mentorship of Zoë Martlew. In 2016, Héloïse starred in Jonathan Woolgar’s acclaimed one-woman opera Scenes from the End at London’s Tristan Bates Theatre, following on from successful runs at the Camden and Edinburgh Fringe Festivals. She performed extracts from both The Other Side of the Sea and Scenes from the End live on BBC Radio 3.
In 2019/20, Héloïse premieres and tours her new work for soprano & piano with Natalie Burch, sitting alongside Britten’s Les Illuminations and a new commission by Jonathan Woolgar. The project is generously supported by Wild Plum Arts, Britten-Pears Foundation and Hinrichsen Foundation. Upcoming 2019/20 highlights also include the premiere of a new song cycle for soprano & string quartet, written for her and the Tippett Quartet by composer Freya Waley-Cohen. In 2018/19, Héloïse performed in Macbeth at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, singing music by Laura Moody. She was one of the artists for the RPS-winning “Schumann Street” produced by Spitalfields Festival 2017, and appeared at the 2016 BBC Proms as one of the two singers performing in Steve Reich’s Music for large ensemble with the Multi-Story Orchestra in Peckham’s car park.
In May 2019, her piece Le Coeur Crucifié was premiered by mezzo Marielou Jacquard and pianist Kunal Lahiry at the Jeunes Talents concert series at Paris’ Petit Palais. She is currently working on new vocal and instrumental commissions, which will premiere in 2020/21.
Héloïse was born in Paris and was a member of the ‘Maîtrise de Radio France’ for six years. At the same time, she studied the cello at the Conservatoire Maurice Ravel with Valérie Aimard. She then read music at Clare College, Cambridge, where she was a choral scholar. At Cambridge, she studied composition with Giles Swayne and won the 2011 Clare College Carol Competition. In 2009, she was awarded the ‘Creation Prize’ from the Conservatoire Maurice Ravel for her songs for piano and voice, which she performed as part of her cello final diploma. She completed her vocal studies with Alison Wells and coach Anna Tilbrook on the MMus course at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance as a Linda Pilgrim Charitable Trust Scholar, where she was a finalist in the Soloists’ & Roy Pleasance Competitions. She was a Help Musicians UK Postgraduate Award holder and has appeared in masterclasses with Barbara Hannigan, Sir Thomas Allen, John Mark Ainsley and Eugene Asti.
Héloïse is also a founding member (vocals/cello) of five-piece folk band The Coach House Company who have released two original EP discs: The Coach House Company (2014) and Maiden Tales (2016), and a founding member of vocal ensemble SHARDS, whose debut album is out now on Erased Tapes, and who also feature on Nils Frahm’s latest album All Melody.