British mezzo soprano Laura Hocking is in her final year of postgraduate studies at the Royal College of Music as a Helen Marjorie Tonks Scholar. She studies with Rosa Mannion and Jo Ramadan. Throughout her studies she has been kindly supported by a TSH Prince Donatus and Princess Heidi Von Hohenzollern scholarship, the William Gibbs Educational Trust, the Sylvia Harris Award, the Mario Lanza Educational Foundation and a Countess of Munster Award.
Laura’s recent concert work has included Bach’s St John Passion, Mozart’s Requiem, Mozart’s Vespers, Vivaldi’s Gloria, Handel’s Messiah, Walton’s Façade, Mahler songs with Roger Vignoles and Bach cantatas with the London Handel Orchestra. Operatic experience includes the title role in Dido and Aeneas (Hurn Court Opera), Amastre in Cavalli’s Xerse (Ensemble Orquesta), Nerone in L’Incoronazione di Poppea (The New Renaissance Collective), La Grosse Dame in Les Mamelles de Tirésias (Royal College of Music International Opera School), Zweite Damme in Die Zauberflöte (Broadstone Music Series) and contemporary opera premieres as Angelica in Lara Poe’s The Fermi Paradox, and Embryo 3 in Sophie Sparkes’ Our Perfect Child (RCM/Tête-à-tête). In opera scenes she has performed as Dorabella, Concepcion, Juno, Hermia, Ramiro and Xerxes.
This June Laura will be performing as Mrs Kneebone in Berkeley’s A Dinner Engagement with RCMOS.
George Ireland studies at the Royal College of Music under Simon Lepper and Roger Vignoles and with the generous support of the Kendall Taylor Award, the Hervey Benham Charitable Trust and the Pimlott Foundation. Originally from Harwich, George began to play the piano from scratch, self taught, at the age of fourteen, achieving grade five with distinction in two years and grade eight with distinction two years later. Soon after he was giving concerts throughout East Anglia. In 2013 he won the Tendring Rotary Club Young Musician Competition and as a result gave his Concerto debut with the Clacton Concert Orchestra, performing Mozart’s Piano Concerto K.595. He performed Mozart’s Concerto K.503 with the St Botolph’s Music Society Orchestra in 2014 to great acclaim, returning in 2018 with K.466. In 2016 he won the University of Birmingham Concerto Competition, performing Grieg’s Piano Concerto with the University Symphony Orchestra.
As an accompanist George has given song recitals throughout the UK including at the German Embassy in London, St George’s Bristol, Peterborough Cathedral, St Luke’s Brighton and St Leonard’s Bledington as part of the Bledington Music Festival. He has also enjoyed Répétiteur positions with British Youth Opera, Birmingham Opera Company and University of Birmingham Summer Festival Opera, and works regularly as a choral accompanist. He holds the accompanist position of the East London Chorus and is the repetiteur and chorus master for Opera Integra.
For two years he was also the orchestral pianist in the CBSO Youth Orchestra as well as the University Philharmonic and Symphony Orchestras under conductors Cristian Măcelaru, Daniele Rosina, Michael Seal and Jac van Steen, and gave performances in Birmingham’s Symphony Hall and Town Hall.