David Douglas - Creative Director
Ayrshire Tenor David Douglas trained at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama and the Royal Northern College of Music. He has gained considerable experience performing for some of the worlds most prestigious companies in Grande Motets by Rameau and mondeville for the Les Arts Florissants, Hyppolyte et Arice by Rameau for Glyndbourne Festival Opera conducted by William Christie, Medea by Charpentier for English National Opera conducted by Christian Curnyn, the title role in Actéon by Charpentier for Dartington Advanced Opera conducted by Robert Howarth and Asterion in Nais by Rameau for The Britten Pears Artist Program conducted by Christophe Rousset.
On the concert platform David has performed throughout the Uk in the British Music Festival concert, Schumann festival Concert (RNCM); Mozart requiem (Chesterfield Philharmonic and The Sage, Gateshead); Bach Magnificat, Vivaldi Magnificat (Bollington Festival); Saint-Saens Oratorio de Noel (Bolton Choral Union); Monteverdi Vespers, Finzi For St Cecilia (Levens Choir); Bach Christmas Oratorio (Dumfries Choral); Orff's Carmina Burana (Royal Liverpool Philharmonic), Stravinsky’s Les Noses (Salford Opera Action Project and Future Fires); Messiah (Belfast Philharmonic); Paul Spicer Easter Oratorio (Northern Chamber Orchestra).
David enjoys taking a lead role in community music and outreach projects. He piloted the Singing Doctors project for Welsh National Opera and formed the arts organisation, Ayrshire Opera Experience.
David's roots are in Scottish traditional music which he performs regularly, recently releasing the album 'The Sweetest Hours, songs by Robert Burns'. Traditional performance highlights include: A Scottish Journey at the Royal Northern College of Music, The Red Lion Folk Club, St Margaret's Episcopal Church recital series, Folk for Folk Festival, Burns Meets the American Song Book and Burns to Bernstein (Robert Burns Birthplace Museum), Burns Aflame and headlining the 2014, 2015 and 2016 Alloway Sessions.
Chorus Master/Musical Director
In July 2006, Stephen Cowan graduated from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland gaining a BEd Music (Hons). During the time he spent at the RSAMD, Stephen studied Flute with Sheena Gordon, Piano with Lily Geddes and Isabel Anderson in addition to conducting with Dr Alasdair Mitchell.
He is actively involved in music making both within local schools and in the community. As a church musician, Stephen has held a number of varied and challenging positions within many churches including, for five years, when he was Organist and Director of Music at Fullarton Parish Church, Irvine and responsible for the development of their vast musical resources (instrumental and vocal).
From 2006, Stephen taught Music at Auchenharvie Academy, Stevenston and subsequently held the post of Principal Teacher of Leadership (Skills Development). He has worked nationally for the Scottish Qualifications Authority supporting the implementation of the new National Qualifications in Music. Stephen was Musical Director of Kilmarnock and District Choral Union from January 2013 until April 2015 and has been Musical Director of Dreghorn Musical Society, now the largest choral group in Ayrshire, since August 2008. He was Musical Director for Acteon meets Tam O’Shanter, the inaugural summer course of Ayrshire Opera Experience, in August 2014.
In August 2014, Stephen became Principal Teacher of Music & Art at St. Joseph’s Academy, Kilmarnock.
Colleen Nicoll - Music Staff/Associate Director
A versatile and ‘enchanting’ (Glasgow Herald) soprano, Colleen Nicoll recently completed a Masters in Vocal Performance at Trinity Conservatoire of Music and Dance with distinction under the tuition of Laureen Livingstone and Jean Paul Pruna. Colleen is generously supported by The Hope Scott Trust, The Trinity Laban Hardship Fund and External Courses Fund and The Kathleen Trust. Colleen has performed roles in numerous operatic productions including the title role in Handel’s Semele, Tytania (A Midsummer Night’s Dream- Britten), Susanna (Le Nozze di Figaro – Mozart), Daphne (Actéon- Charpentier), Yum Yum (The Mikado – Gilbert and Sullivan), Giannetta (L’elisir d’amore – Donizetti), Lady Dunmow (A Dinner Engagement – Lenox Berkeley)
In Operatic Scenes Colleen has performed Tytania (A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Britten), Eurydice (Orpheus and Eurydice – Gluck), The Controller (Flight- Jonathan Dove) 1st Lady (The Magic Flute – Mozart) and Blanche (Dialogues des Carmélites – Poulenc)
Colleen also has experience performing modern music, working frequently alongside composers. Recently she performed a new opera by Omar Shahryar The Sweeper of Dreams at the Tête à Tête festival in London.
Colleen has a busy concert diary including a recent solo recital for Perth Festival of the Arts, Rossini's Petite Messe Solennelle with Perth Choral and Mozart's Requiem with Ayrshire Choral Experience. Colleen is also a member of the Kellie Consort recently taking part in a Scottish tour as a consort member and soloist.
This year Colleen was a ‘Mentor Scheme’ student with English National Opera and is also on the Student Scheme with the London Philharmonia Chorus. Future engagements include Tytania in Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream with Surrey Opera, Daphne/Proserpine in Charpentier’s La descente d'Orphée aux enfers with Ayrshire Opera and Barbarina in Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro at the Normansfled Theatre.
Jennifer is a classically trained pianist based in Glasgow. Having studied piano performance to postgraduate level at various UK conservatoires, she now works as a pianist performing in various duos and ensembles around the UK. As well as perfoming, Jennifer also teaches piano and works as a vocal coach and musical director for musical theatre schools and performance courses.
As a soloist, accompanist and as part of the Redmond Duo, the Redmond Trio and the Pasticcio Ensemble Jennifer is experienced in performing at corporate events, weddings and recitals.
Louise Robertson gained a BSc (Hons) in Textiles and Fashion Design Management from Heriot Watt University in 2001. Since gradating she has worked with some of the world’s top production companies.
Highlights include Sunset Boulevard/ Really Useful Company, The Secret Garden/ The Byre Theatre, Tally's Blood, Mistero Buffo, Passing Places, Good Things/ Borderline Theatre, Saturday Night Fever/ Adam Spiegel Productions, Fame, High School Musical/ Stage Entertainment and Assistant Head of Wardrobe/Cirque du Soleil and National Theatre of Scotland.
In 2014 Louise was the Assistant Head of Costume for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.
Experienced Make up artist and wardrobe mistress Claire Monica graduated in 2015 from the The Academy of Make-up Scotland. She has since been involved in the fashion, beauty and special effects industries. Working for Superior Model -Management, Make-up artist Sarah Hill, The Hope St Magazine, The Scottish Design Exchange fashion show and various projects promoting the Overgate Shopping Centre in Dundee in conjunction with the with the Dundee Courier and The Evening Telegraph.
Her involvement in opera begain in 2009 when she became wardobe misteress for Edinburgh Studio Opera and has since worked for Komische Opera, Ayrshire Opera, Opera Dynamica and Trinity Lanban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. Claire has recently become a published artist through her collaborations with Yemmi King, photographer for Dreamless and Ffmagazine.
Chris Waddell/Scots Language Translation(Acteon & Orpheus)
Prior to his current role as learning manager at the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum, Chris worked for National Museums Scotland at the National Museum of Rural Life in his home town - Wester Kittochside, near East Kilbride.
He has also been Biodiversity Officer at Stirling Council’s Countryside Service, managing the local authority area’s Nature Conservation and Senior Park Ranger with Cheltenham Borough Council in the Cotswolds.
Christopher gained his Honours Degree in Countryside Management in Ayrshire at the Scottish Agricultural College’s Auchincruive campus. He has a strong interest in Scottish and rural history, Scots language and literature and the wonderful landscapes and wildlife of his native land.