Four young alumni of the Wells Cathedral School were honoured by their former alma mater for their outstanding contribution to music. Countertenor Iestyn Davies, soprano Meeta Raval, cellist Jamie Walton and recording engineer Sam Okell were awarded Foundation Fellowships.
Iestyn Davies – whose Hyperion debut disc of music by Nicola Popora was released the same day as his fellowship was bestowed – studied the oboe at Wells until, at a choir rehearsal, he was discovered to possess a magnificent countertenor voice. The rest is history and engagements on his immediate horizon include appearances at New York’s Met in Handel’s Rodelinda and his Carnegie Hall debut in December.
Meeta Raval, one of the first Head Girl Choristers in the country and a
finalist in this year's BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition, has
been touring with Mid Wales Opera as Cio Cio San in Puccini’s Madama Butterfy. She then joins the Opera North company.
Cellist Jamie Walton has recently recording the Dvorák and Schumann cello concertos with Vladimir Ashkenazy and the Philharmonia (a set of Britten’s music for cello will follow in 2013). Next month he launches the next North York Moors Chamber Music Festival which he founded. ‘The period at Wells is at the soul of my music,’ he commented. ‘My teacher Margaret Moncrieff-Kelly said she was most interested in how I coloured my music. She grounded me and helped me express myself through my playing.’
Sam Okell, a recording engineer at Abbey Road Studios, was the first Department of Education and Employment-funded Specialist Percussionist at Wells. He spent his sixth form years studying music, maths and physics A-levels. He recently won a Grammy earlier this year as part of the team responsible for remastering the entire Beatles catalogue.