Héloïse Werner

Composer, Soprano

"the vivacious soprano voice of Héloïse Werner pounces on individual notes and words with a tiger’s tenacity and a kitten’s glee"

Geoff Brown, ★★★★ The Times

"Heloise Werner, a brilliant and acrobatic vocalist"

Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph

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Héloïse's debut album 'Phrases' is out now on Delphian Records - it is one of Gramophone Editor's Choices ("extraordinary range, tone and vocal abilities (...) composer of subtle imagination"), Presto Classical Editor's Choices ("absolute tour de force") and described by Apple Music as "a staggering debut from an imaginative and original voice".

Recipient of the Michael Cuddigan Trust Award 2018 and Linda Hirst Contemporary Vocal Prize 2017, French-born and London-based soprano and composer Héloïse Werner was one of the four shortlisted nominees in the Young Artist category of the Royal Philharmonic Society Music Awards 2017 and one of BBC Radio 3's 31 under 31 Young Stars 2020.

As a soprano, Héloïse has recently made her debut with the London Chamber Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, Nash Ensemble, and appeared in The Grange Festival's production of Precipice as the singing narrator. She also premiered Freya Waley-Cohen's Spell Book (Volume 2) for soprano and string quartet at Conway Hall, written for her and the Tippett Quartet, which they will perform again at the Wigmore Hall in 2023. Héloïse is also soprano and co-director for contemporary quartet The Hermes Experiment (soprano, clarinet, harp and double bass). They won the RPS Young Artist Award 2021 and the Royal Over-Seas League Mixed Ensemble Competition 2019. Capitalising on their deliberately idiosyncratic combination of instruments, the ensemble regularly commissions new works (over 60 to date), as well as creating their own innovative arrangements and venturing into live free improvisation. They have released two albums, both on Delphian Records, to critical acclaim - HERE WE ARE (Presto Classical Recording of the Year, Gramophone Editor's Choice, The Guardian's 10 Best Contemporary Albums of 2020) and SONG (Gramophone Editor's Choice).

As a composer, Héloïse has written for musicians including violist Lawrence Power, bassoonist Amy Harman, pianist Mishka Rushdie Momen, mezzo-soprano Marielou Jacquard, pianist Kunal Lahiry, violinist Fenella Humphreys, mezzo-soprano Helen Charlston, The Gesualdo Six, The Bach Choir, CoMA, mezzo-soprano Grace Durham and Miller-Porfiris Duo. Upcoming 2022/23 commissions include new works for Radio France and Wigmore Hall. A selected list of her works is available here.

In 2019, Héloïse performed her solo opera The Other Side of the Sea at Kings Place as part of their Venus Unwrapped series ("you can't help but be dazzled by it" **** The Times). Written in collaboration with poet Octavia Bright, director Emily Burns and visual artist Jessie Rodger, the opera explores language and identity. It was first premiered in London & Aldeburgh in 2018, with generous support from The Michael Cuddigan Trust, and developed in 2017 during a Snape Maltings residency under the mentorship of Zoë Martlew. In 2016, Héloïse starred in Jonathan Woolgar’s acclaimed one-woman opera Scenes from the End at London’s Tristan Bates Theatre, following on from successful runs at the Camden and Edinburgh Fringe Festivals.

Héloïse was born in Paris and was a member of the ‘Maîtrise de Radio France’ for six years. At the same time, she studied the cello at the Conservatoire Maurice Ravel with Valérie Aimard. She then read music at Clare College, Cambridge, where she was a choral scholar. At Cambridge, she studied composition with Giles Swayne and won the 2011 Clare College Carol Competition. In 2009, she was awarded the ‘Creation Prize’ from the Conservatoire Maurice Ravel for her songs for piano and voice, which she performed as part of her cello final diploma. She completed her vocal studies with Alison Wells and coach Anna Tilbrook on the MMus course at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance as a Linda Pilgrim Charitable Trust Scholar and a Help Musicians UK Postgraduate Award holder.

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CD reviews: Phrases June 2022

Delphian

It is hard not to be in awe of Héloïse Werner: a soprano of extraordinary range, tone and vocal abilities, possessing a seemingly inexhaustible expressive range

Guy Richards, Gramophone (Editor’s Choice)

Werner's high-energy (...) is so startling that you might need a breather before carrying on - but there's real heart and soul alongside the avant-garde pyrotechnics throughout this recital of new works, particularly in Werner's deeply personal Confessional and Nico Muhly's radiant Benedicite Recitation for voice and flute.

Katherine Cooper, Presto Music (Editor’s Choice)

The French soprano and composer’s debut disc is an engrossing exploration of the range of the human voice, which Werner pushes to its limits and beyond on works by herself and those of fellow visionaries such as Josephine Stephenson, Cheryl Frances-Hoad and Nico Muhly

The Sunday Times ****

Phrases (Delphian), displays her versatility as a singer and composer, but as musical catalyst too. … Werner’s four songs (including Syncopate, with Zoë Martlew), from vocal acrobatics to verbal confession, and Récitations by the Greek experimental composer Georges Aperghis complete this distinctive album.

The Observer, Fiona Maddocks

Through all these inventive and expressive works, Héloïse Werner shows an undeniable talent for theatre and poetry, and lets us hear a virtuoso and versatile voice, with a rich and touching tone. All the elements for a very successful first solo album!

À travers toutes ces œuvres aussi inventives qu'expressives, Héloïse Werner montre un talent incontestable pour le théâtre et la poésie, et nous fait entendre une voix virtuose et versatile, au timbre riche et touchant. Tous les éléments pour un premier album solo très réussi !

ComposHer, Marie Humbert

Werner performs these works with the utmost integrity; there is not a hint of trickery about them. Full review

The classical explorer, Colin Clarke

The French soprano and composer's debut disc is an engrossing exploration of the range of the human voice, which Werner pushes to its limits and beyond on works by herself and those of fellow visionaries such as Josephine Stephenson, Cheryl Frances-Hoad and Nico Muhly. With crucial contributions from Amy Harman, Lawrence Power, Calum Huggan, Colin Alexander, Laura Snowden and Daniel Shao (bassoon, violin and viola, percussion, cello, guitar and flute), she joyfully negotiates the rapids of spoken word and coloratura on her and Zoe Martlew's Syncopate and the serpentine beauty of Muhly's Benedicite Recitation. Her readings of four of Georges Aperghis's 1978 Recitations and Elaine Mitchener's whetdreem typify a satisfyingly hair-raising voyage to wilder shores.

The Times **** (Classical album of the week )

CD review: The Hermes Experiment with Héloïse Werner / Song – January 2022

Delphian

Werner’s unselfconscious, flexible voice is at ease throughout the stylistic range, albeit retaining a distinctively instrumental quality.

Natasha Loges, BBC Magazine

Héloïse Werner's 'Phrases' Album Launch

Wigmore Hall , 4th June 2022

"A programme without a single dud piece and Héloïse Werner – a performer of stellar talent – supported by a galaxy of young stars"

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Colin Clarke, Seen and Heard International

Werner, Downes & Alexander

St John Smith Square / July 2021

"Héloïse Werner should be a name on the lips of any musical adventurer. (…) This young soprano-composer – and cellist too – is a one-off, who can transform a tiny fragment of song into a mesmerising drama. It’s as if her whole being is double-jointed. Her beautiful voice can flip itself from long-lined lyricism into a battery of percussive instruments: trilling her tongue at jet-propeller speed, turning a simple vowel sound into a complex expression of love or anguish, with a lexicon of facial expressions to match."

Fiona Maddocks, The Observer ★★★★

The Hermes Experiment: Here We Are

CD (Delphian) / August 2020

“the vivacious soprano voice of Héloïse Werner pounces on individual notes and words with a tiger’s tenacity and a kitten’s glee”

Geoff Brown, The Times ★★★★

Precipice

The Grange Festival / August 2020

"Heloise Werner, a brilliant and acrobatic vocalist"

Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph

The Other Side of the Sea

Kings Place, London (April 2019)

"you can’t help but be dazzled by it (…) quickly becoming a latter-day Cathy Berberian or Meredith Monk (…) virtuoso entertainment like this is welcome any time"

Richard Morrison, The Times ★★★★

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