Singing Teachers


Choral Scholars and Volunteers each receive six free singing lessons per term from one of our experienced and highly-respected singing teachers, who are accomplished professional singers in their own right:


Ann De RenaisAnn De Renais

The Belgian coloratura soprano Ann De Renais first trained as a piano teacher at the Royal Conservatoire of Music in Brussels and then studied singing at the Royal Conservatoire in Ghent. She moved to London in 1994 for a Post-Graduate year of study with the late Noelle Barker at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where she obtained the Certificate of Teaching Singing.

1996 marked her first visit to the American Voice Teacher David Jones in New York City, and the start of her studying the Swedish-Italian School of Singing as developed by Mr Jones, based on the concepts of his teacher Alan Lindquest.

This led to her recording the vocal exercises for female voice on David Jones’ tuition CD ‘A First Lesson with David Jones’.  She subsequently became Associate Teacher of David Jones in 2002 (, when she started organising his Vocal Master Classes in the UK.  Ann has also been an active singer in his Master Classes in London, Paris and Geneva. She continues her teacher training with Mr Jones during his bi-yearly Teacher Mentoring Programme in NYC.


Roderick EarleRoderick Earle

Roderick Earle was born in Winchester, where he was a chorister in the cathedral choir. In 1974 he graduated from St John’s College, Cambridge where he read Music and was a Choral Scholar under George Guest. He was then awarded a Foundation Scholarship to the Royal College of Music and studied on the Opera Course, later continuing his studies with Czech baritone, Otakar Kraus. He went on to being awarded a Greater London Arts Association Musician of the Year Award, and, after making his opera debut with English National Opera in 1978 and then joining the company for two years, he joined the Royal Opera at the age of 28, making his Covent Garden debut as Antonio in Le Nozze di Figaro in 1980 with Sir Colin Davis. He was a member of the company for 21 years, during which time he made the transition from bass to baritone, and sang over 60 roles.

He has a wide experience of concert work which has included singing the bass solos in Monteverdi Vespers with Sir John Eliot Gardiner at the start of his career through the Classical and Romantic repertoire. He has been fortunate to sing with some of the greatest conductors of the age not only at Covent Garden but also on the South Bank and abroad.

Roderick has taught singing for more than 25 years. As well as being a singing professor at the Royal College of Music (since 1990) he runs workshops, which include coaching in language (French, German, Italian and different pronunciations of Latin), style, communication and stage craft. He has been a tutor on a regular basis for the last 12 years at the East Anglia Summer Music School in Norwich and taught in New Zealand and Singapore. In 2010 he founded The Colchester Chamber Choir of 30 auditioned voices which specialises in pre-baroque and 19th and 20th century a cappella choral repertoire. He now also directs a chamber choir for the McKinsey European Music Festival in Kitzbühel, Austria each summer.


Sheila BarnesSheila Barnes

Sheila Barnes trained at the Yale School of Music, where she took both a Masters and a Master of Musical Arts degree.  Since coming to live in the UK in 1991, she has maintained a thriving London private teaching practice, in which she is sought after by professional singers currently coming from the UK, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, the Netherlands, Latvia, Luxembourg and Belgium, as well as teaching Choral Scholars at Trinity College. 

Her private singing pupils perform regularly as soloists at English National Opera, The Royal Opera House (Covent Garden), Glyndebourne, Scottish Opera, Welsh National Opera, Opera Holland Park, Opera North, English Touring Opera, Garsington Opera, The Royal Netherlands Opera, and ReisOpera (the Netherlands), as well as with consorts such as Exaudi, The Sixteen, The Tallis Scholars, The Cardinall’s Musicke, and the Temple Church in London, at St Paul’s Cathedral, and at Westminster Abbey.

Sheila acted as Vocal Consultant to the Oper Kiel (Germany) for four seasons, teaching private lessons for the soloists, members of the permanent company.  She maintained a studio for eight years in Holland, in The Hague, where she developed her individual approach to teaching singing.


James OldfieldJames Oldfield

The bass-baritone James Oldfield was born in Ipswich and was a chorister at Leicester Cathedral. He subsequently held a Choral Scholarship at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he read Geography, and then a Lay Clerkship at St John’s College, Cambridge. James then held scholarships at the Royal College of Music and the RCM International Opera School, and studied with Ashley Stafford and Graeme Broadbent. His awards included the Eric Shilling Prize, the inaugural Independent Opera Award, and a Sybil Tutton Award from the Musicians’ Benevolent Fund.

James’ solo concert appearances include performances with London Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia, RTÉ Symphony Orchestra, RTÉ Concert Orchestra, Irish Baroque Orchestra, Hallé, Manchester Camerata, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, De Belgische Kamerfilharmonie, and Northern Sinfonia. His recordings include Handel Messiah with the Huddersfield Choral Society and Monteverdi Vespers. James’ operatic performances have been for Opera North, Garsington, Gothenburg Opera, Israeli Opera, and Royal Opera House 2. In 2010, he received the Leonard Ingrams Award from Garsington Opera.

James is a founder member of the Twilight Ensemble, a vocal group specialising in under-performed repertoire of the Romantic era. He conducts an annual music course at Benslow Music, and has taught as a tutor for the National Youth Choir of Wales. He teaches singing privately and at Tiffin School for Boys, near his home in Surrey.


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