British countertenor Iestyn Davies has been made an MBE in the 2017 New Year’s Honours List, for services to music
Iestyn Davies is widely recognised as one of the world’s finest classical singers and is celebrated for the beauty and technical dexterity of his voice as well as his intellectual musicianship.
Iestyn Davies comments: "I’m honoured to receive the order of MBE. I have been singing for as long as I can remember and I have always worked hard and given all I can so that others can enjoy some of the greatest music ever written. In this distinction therefore, I recognise those who have been integral to my musical upbringing; my parents and the Choir of St John’s College Cambridge, in particular George Guest and Christopher Robinson. The MBE will continue to remind me of the significance and good fortune a musical education has given me.”
Born in York in 1979 into a musical household (his father being the founding cellist of the Fitzwilliam String Quartet), Davies began his singing life as a chorister at St John’s College, Cambridge under the direction of Dr. George Guest and later Christopher Robinson. After graduating in Archaeology and Anthropology from St John’s College, Cambridge, Davies went onto study at London’s Royal Academy of Music, of which he is now a fellow.
Davies’s career highlights to date include being the first British countertenor to sing at New York’s Metropolitan Opera House, two Gramophone Awards for his Recital discs Arise, my muse and Arias for Guadagni, Handel’s Saul at Glyndebourne in 2015, and performing the singing role of Farinelli to critical acclaim in Claire van Kampen’s Olivier Award-nominated play Farinelli and the King, which enjoyed a successful West End run in the same year.
Forthcoming engagements include George Benjamin’s Written on Skin at the Royal Opera House from 13–30 January, where he will reprise the role of Angel 1-The Boy which he performed to critical acclaim in Vienna, Munich and Paris in 2013. Davies returns to the Royal Opera House from 24 April – 8 May for the UK premiere of Thomas Adès’ eagerly anticipated new opera The Exterminating Angel.
On 30 December 2016 Davies released an album of JS Bach’s Cantatas, directed by Jonathan Cohen and accompanied by Arcangelo.