Jo Williamson

Jo Williamson
Jo Williamson ABSM, GBSM, Mezzo-Soprano

Mobile: 07434 962344

Email: jomezzo59@hotmail.com

“The girls all work so hard and I am very proud of them. Well done Cantabile!”

Josephine (Jo) Williamson was born in 1959 into a very musical family playing Pop, Rock, Jazz and Brass Band music. She started playing the cornet at the age of 10, but most of all she loved to sing which she started at the age of 3 years old. Singing has since been her life.

At the age of 12 she started having lessons with Miss Pamela Cook thanks to her school music teacher, Mrs Purseglove,  recognising her potential talent. At the age of 13 she joined the world renowned Cantamus Girls’ Choir, conducted and directed by Pamela Cook and accompanied by the talented Michael Neaum. In 1976 she was offered a place at the Birmingham School of Music (Conservetoire) where she continued to study with Pamela Cook.

Jo won all the major singing awards at Birmingham including the English Song prize, Opera prize, Lieder prize, Recital prize and Mario Lanza prize, plus a scholarship from BRMB Radio. In addition to singing work during this time, as a member of equity she was also able to do TV work. Whilst at Birmingham School of Music, Jo was also a member of the opera group. Lead roles played included Carmen (Carmen) and Dorabella (Cosi fan tutti).

After graduating from Birmingham, Jo studied for a short while with Sir Geraint Evans before going to Belgium to sing with a Belgian opera company for 3 months. She then returned to Britain and auditioned for the New Israeli Opera Company which she joined. Jo was also offered a place with Doyle Carte Opera, but she had already committed herself to the New Israeli Opera. Roles played included Miss Jessel (The Turn of the Screw), Lola (Cavalleria Rusticana) and Annina (La Traviata), all conducted by Zubin Mehta. Jo also sang with a smaller opera company in Israel performing the role of Magdalena (Rigoletto). She worked in Israel for just over a year.

On her return to Britain, Jo took time out to study again, and attend some more vocal courses. Jo was then offered work with Opera North for a short period until she moved on to a full contract with Scottish Opera. Jo worked as a chorister and understudied solo roles conducted by Sir Richard Armstrong such as:- Third Lady (Magic Flute), Olga (Eugine Onegine), Annina (La Traviata) and Mercedes (Carmen).

After leaving Scottish Opera to marry and move to Herefordshire, Jo assisted her husband in his business, but did continue doing concert work and oratorio work as a soloist. She was then asked to be the lead Mezzo Soprano with Bel Canto Opera performing all the Verdi  Mezzo roles and others such as:

Amneris (Aida), Eboli (Don Carlos), Azucena (Il Travatori), Preziosilla (The Force of Destiny), Nicola (Tales of Hoffman), Cherubino (Marriage of Figaro), Palucci (The Impressario) and Adalgisa (Norma).

Jo also played the role of Carmen (Carmen) for Cheltenham Opera. During this time, Jo was asked by Martyn Lane to assist him as vocal coach with the Herefordshire Junior Singing Club which he set up in 2004.

In 2006, Jo was asked to teach singing at Hereford Cathedral School which she continues to do with much pleasure. Jo is also Director of Cantabile Girls’ Choir. She formed them in 2008, and they have had some wonderful successes and achievements.

“The girls all work so hard and I am very proud of them. Well done Cantabile!”

In addition, Jo teaches adults and children outside of school.

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