Joshua Ellicott


"…the outstanding Joshua Ellicott."

The Times

"Joshua Ellicott…musical distinction, emotional precision and a keen dramatic urgency."

The Boston Globe

"…the magnificent tenor Joshua Ellicott."

Wiener Zeitung

"The outstanding tenor Joshua Ellicott is one of the most distinguished Evangelists of the day."

The Guardian

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Joshua Ellicott represents an extraordinary talent, effortlessly crossing genre from Song to Opera to Concert repertoire with his sweet-toned, flexible yet powerful, lyric tenor voice. His versatile musicianship is apparent in the wide range of repertoire in which he excels and the comprehensive list of conductors and ensembles with whom he works.

Described by the Wiener Zeitung as ‘the magnificent tenor’ for his performance with Nikolaus Harnoncourt in Purcell’s Fairy Queen he has also been described by the New York Times as a “stand out in an excellent cast” for his portrayal of Andres in Wozzeck with the Philharmonia and Esa Pekka Salonen at the Lincoln Centre New York.

Joshua’s international career now sees him travel to the premier concert halls of the world with some of the finest artists of this generation. In the field of early music he has worked with Nikolaus Harnoncourt (Concentus Musicus Wien), Sir Roger Norrington (Zurich Chamber Orchestra), Harry Bicket (The English Concert), Harry Christophers (The Sixteen, Boston Handel and Haydn Society), Robert King (The King’s Consort), Paul McCreesh (The Gabrieli Consort, Wroclaw Baroque Orchestra), Bernard Labadie (OAE), Emmanuelle Haim (Le Concert d’Astree) and has developed a particular affinity with the works of Bach, Handel and Monteverdi and within that a special love for the role of the Evangelist in Bach’s Passions. Such is the flexibility of Joshua’s voice that he is also able to meet the stylistic demands of later repertoire and he has been privileged to work with such luminaries as Sir Mark Elder, Daniel Harding and Esa Pekka Salonen in works as varied as Parsifal and Tristan und Isolde (Wagner) to The Seven Deadly Sins (Kurt Weill) and Wozzeck (Berg). Orchestras include the BBC Symphony and Concert Orchestras, The Philharmonia, The Hallé, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Swedish Radio Symphony, Trondheim Symphony, Stavanger Symphony, Brabants Orkest, RTE Symphony, Ulster Orchestra and Netherlands Radio Chamber Orchestra.

Song is another important feature of Joshua’s artistry and his care for the text, allied to his beautiful and carefully modulated vocal production, allows for the most moving and engaging of performances. One of the greatest successes of recent years has been a programme devised around the First World War letters of Josh’s Great Uncle Jack in which through his dramatic readings of letters and interspersed song, audiences have been left deeply moved. A particularly special performance took place at the Cologne Early Music Festival where some of the letters were translated into German and read by Joshua.

This season he returned to the Freiburger Barockorchester to sing the role of Florestan in Beethoven’s Leonore, sang Handel’s Saul with the Internationale Bachakademie Stuttgart, and makes his debut at Théâtre du Châtelet.

This biography is for information only and should not be reproduced.

​Winter into Spring, recital with Anna Tilbrook, The Oxford Lieder Festival

(February 2021)

… his recital, with Anna Tilbrook at the piano, paid quiet homage to the partnership of Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears, a Schubert group preceded by Britten’s Winter Words. His lean, very English-sounding tenor is an ideal instrument for Britten’s songs, and he clearly has a keen narrative gift…

Hugh Canning, The Times

First tenor Joshua Ellicott and pianist Anna Tilbrook wrung us with Britten’s Winter Words — a cycle of Hardy settings bookended by some of the composer’s bleakest vignettes — characters caught in a cycle of missed connections, isolation, exclusion. Ellicott whittles his voice down to a Pearsian point for these sketched miniatures, his line so spare that even the slightest softening — the melisma that halos the seraphim in ‘The Choirmaster’s Burial’, the floated opening to ‘A Time there Was’ — tells keenly.

Alexandra Coghlan, The Spectator

Lammermuir Festival recital with Anna Tilbrook

(September 2020)

Tenor Joshua Ellicott, joined by pianist Anna Tilbrook, gave a glorious nature-themed recital the following day, beginning with three tender, thoughtful Schubert songs before blossoming into the more troubled romance of Schumann’s Op. 39 Liederkreis, which also allowed Ellicott’s lyric tenor to bloom into rich, radiant colours. They continued with five Vaughan Williams songs that rather magically matched visionary mysticism with a sturdy gruffness, and were all the more powerful as a result.

David Kettle, The Scotsman

The little church of Holy Trinity, Haddington is hosting nearly all of this year’s concerts. It is a snug venue with a lovely acoustic, and the engineers have done a first rate job of capturing it. Joshua Ellicott’s golden-voiced tenor sounded wonderful in it, partnered by the sensitive, responsive pianism of Anna Tilbrook for his song recital. His opening set of Schubert nature songs oozed gemütlichkeit, with a sound as warm as the autumn sun; and he then gave a haunting performance of Schumann’s Opus 39 Liederkreis, which married the poems’ energy with the beauty of the music, bewitchingly so in ‘Mondnacht’. There was more nature-painting in his Vaughan Williams selection, with a delightful Linden Lea, followed by three of the Songs of Travel, where Tilbrook’s piano line drew my ear as much as Ellicott’s voice, and a radiant Silent Noon, before two Quilter songs ended a beautifully conceived recital.

Simon Thompson, Seen and Heard International​​​

​ Handel Messiah, New York Philharmonic

David Geffen Hall (December 2019)

The tenor Joshua Ellicott sang forcefully

Zachary Woolfe, The New York Times

​ Britten Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings, Royal Northern Sinfonia

Sage Gateshead (November 2019)

Tenor Joshua Ellicott and horn Peter Francombe proved a formidable pairing… Ellicott sang with a light airy tenor perfectly suited to the work.

Gavin Engelbrecht, The Northern Echo

​ Britten Canticle V & Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings, City of London Sinfonia

(November 2019)

I have never heard it performed so beautifully. Joshua Ellicott has the perfect voice for Britten. He’s got that ghostly, piercing Peter Quinty tone that you associate with his music, but he pulls it off in a sensitive and wonderfully controlled manner.

Timmy Fisher, Classical Music Pod

​ CD Recording: Handel Samson (title role), Dunedin Consort, CKD 599

(October 2019)

In this new recording, tenor Joshua Ellicott sings that scene with a probing inwardness. Handel’s setting is treated less as an operatic portrayal, more the intimate heart of an evolving religious drama.

Richard Fairman, Financial Times****

As Samson himself, tenor Joshua Ellicott navigates that tight-rope between oratorio and opera really well.

Andrew McGregor, BBC Radio 3 Record Review

John Butt has created the best Samson ever. He’s chosen the original 1743 version, star soloists with early-music chops and his band of top instrumentalists…As Samson, Joshua Ellicott is wonderful from his first air, which he infuses with a whispered despair to the swelling nobility of his last.

Berta Joncus, BBC Music Magazine*****

Joshua Ellicott’s Samson is an appealingly sympathetic character, delivering an eloquent “Total eclipse” in Act 1

Graham Rickson, The Arts Desk

Here we have Joshua Ellicott, a lyric tenor known for his Evangelist in Bach's passions as well as later 19th century repertoire. Here he brings a real sense of intimacy to the role… We are in Samson's head, as much as we are anywhere and Ellicott's reading really brings this over. His account of 'Total Eclipse' starts in the most intimate, moving manner, and then grows into something approaching operatic. Ellicott's voice is a lyric one, with the remarkable staying power to cope with the long role… expressively characterful and with an ability to bring a remarkable sense of focussed power to the vocal line when needed.

Robert Hugill, Planet Hugill

Joshua Ellicott … light and eloquent

Nicholas Kenyon, The Guardian

In the title role, tenor Joshua Ellicott…drew me more deeply into Samson’s plight: in his spiritual anguish (‘Total eclipse’ is moving in its quiet inwardness and lack of rhetoric), in the graphic encounters with Dalila and the Philistine heavy Harapha, and in his serene, cathartic ‘Thus when the sun’, where Butt’s spacious tempo again pays dividends. ...I'm plumping for Samson: for its superb solo team, led by Joshua Ellicott"

Richard Wigmore, Gramophone

In the role of the fallen and tortured hero, the tenor Joshua Ellicott delivers a performance of anthology… the voice knows how to play with all the expressive colors to transcribe the range of emotions associated with this tragic character

Pierre Degott, ResMusica

Handel Il Trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno (Tempo)

Royal Danish Opera (April 2019)

The soloists were excellent… Joshua Ellicott with his powerful, dramatic tenor.

Lars-Erik Larsson, Norra Skåne

Joshua Ellicott as Time, awakens Beauty and wanders through an adventurous labyrinth of chords

Jan Brachmann, Frankfurter Allgemeine

English tenor Joshua Ellicott seized the stage with authority as Time. A competent heir in the strong lyrical tenor tradition in his home country, his voice was able to seamlessly change from cool softness to bright sharpness.

Valdemar Lønsted, Dagbladed Information

…the deeply controlled Joshua Ellicott as Time.

Søren Schauser, Berlinske Tidende

Odes to St Cecilia: Purcell, Britten & Handel, The King’s Consort

(November 2018)

…with fine singing from the soloists, soprano, Julia Doyle, countertenor, Robin Blaze and Joshua Ellicott, tenor.

Frank Cliff, Eastern Daily Press

Stuart MacRae I am Prometheus, The Hebrides Ensemble

(September 2018)

Joshua Ellicott giving a restless, questioning, deeply human performance as the eponymous Titan.

David Kettle, The Scotsman

Bach St John Passion (Evangelist)

Teatro Arriaga (April 2018)

As always, Bieito inspired astonishing levels of commitment from his cast, which also included Joshua Ellicott as the Evangelist…

Xavier Cester, Opera Magazine

Handel Solomon (Zadok), Scottish Chamber Orchestra

The Usher Hall (April 2018)

Joshua Ellicott, on the other hand, made a lot out of the little that Zadok the priest has to do, and his beautiful tenor, full of juicy tone and agile technique, was revelatory, an example of how wonderful this music can sound when it is sung with proper lyricism.

Simon Thompson, bachtrack****

Joshua Ellicott’s tenor voice mastered the vibrato trills superbly in the role of Zadok

Barbara Bryan, Edinburgh Guide****

Tenor Joshua Ellicott made a nimble, lyrical Zadok

David Kettle, The Scotsman

Bach St John Passion (Evangelist)

Yorkshire Bach Choir (March 2018)

Joshua Ellicott took the demanding Evangelist role … This was lucid, dramatic storytelling, ravishingly sung.

Robert Gammon, The York Press

CD Recording: Dyson Choral Symphony, Bournemouth Symphony

November 2017

Joshua Ellicott sings with a true sense of drama.

Andrew Mellor, Gramophone

Mozart Lucio Silla (Title), Buxton Festival

Buxton Opera House (July 2017)

Joshua Ellicott was impressive as Silla…

Opera Now

I have nothing but admiration for Joshua Ellicott as Lucio, the tyrant who melts to produce an unlikely happy ending

Richard Morrison, The Times

In the title role tenor Joshua Ellicott has great fun giving the audience his Richard III, with a little Mozart on the side

Alexandra Coghlan, The Spectator

Joshua Ellicott succeeds in giving Silla an angry and unstable persona.

George Hall,

The two men in the cast included the eponymous role of Lucio. Portrayed by Joshua Ellicott whose committed acting, and bravura singing, made a convincing dictator. Although Silla’s conversion to benevolence was sudden Ellicott achieved both facets of the character with vocal aplomb and good characterization

Robert J. Farr,

Joshua Ellicott made a strong impression as the dictator Silla, one minute railing against the conspirators and threatening Giunia for refusing to marry him, and the next minute wracked by anxieties and worries. He made the lieto fine work

Robert Hugill,

From Your Ever-Loving Son Jack

Cheltenham Festival, Parabola Arts Centre (July 2016)

From Your Ever-Loving Son Jack, performed by the tenor Joshua Ellicott and the pianist Simon Lepper, was a sequence of songs and extracts from letters home written by the singer’s great-uncle during his tragically brief First World War enlistment. In a redoubtable Lancashire accent, Ellicott warmly conveyed the soldier’s resolute cheerfulness — that innocence agonising to think of — and intermittently burst into song, whether the high art of Frank Bridge’s late, searing Humbert Wolfe setting, Journey’s End, or Haydn Wood’s sentimentally appealing Roses of Picardy. His vocal power and diversity of repertoire were alike impressive.

Paul Driver, The Sunday Times

Handel Samson, Handel and Haydn Society

Boston Symphony Hall (April 2014)

“...with tenor Joshua Ellicott's forceful performance shining like the brightest of ornaments on the hood of a gleaming, well-oiled machine. Ellicott didn't just fill Symphony Hall with his incandescent, seemingly effortless sound; he also broke many a hardened heart with his compelling take on this tortured text.

As noted, tenor Ellicott was nothing less than riveting, delivering a fierce, keening power that sometimes conjured Milton's own rhetorical voice, as well as literally the darkest depths of despair (in the terrifying "Total eclipse") or the harshest heights of rage ("Why does the God of Israel sleep?"). Finally, of course, Samson finds God's light, as well as a transcendent calm - which Ellicott also captured exquisitely as Samson made his way toward his doom in the temple of the Philistines.

– The Hub Review

Joshua Ellicott’s dramatic tenor had the persuasive power to arouse our sense of pity. After an orchestral ritornello, his first aria began with the chilling words “Total eclipse,” sung without accompaniment here and each time they reappeared. The opening words of the rage aria “Why does the God of Israel sleep?” were again sung unaccompanied. In the fulminations that followed, Ellicott’s voice had theforce and the flexibility to handle extensive coloratura passages with conviction.

Musical Intelligencer

Bach St John Passion, Zurich Chamber Orchestra

BBC Proms, Royal Albert Hall (July 2014)

The aria ‘Erwäge wie sein blutgefärbter Rücken’ (which contemplates Christ’s wounded body) showed how expressive he could be.

The Daily Telegraph

…the outstanding Joshua Ellicott…

The Times

Bach St Matthew Passion, Handel and Haydn Society

Boston Symphony Hall (March 2012)

Deservedly huge cheers at the end of the night went to Joshua Ellicot...musical distinction, emotional precision and a keen dramatic urgency.

The Boston Globe

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