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1st Week TT23 Newsletter Interview - Beth 'Fitz' Fitzpatrick

Each week, the OUMS newsletter features an interview with someone who positively contributes to the Oxford music scene. This week, we sat down with a well-known face around the music scene Beth 'Fitz' Fitzpatrick to ask about what they are getting up to this term!


Beth 'Fitz' Fitzpatrick (she/they)

Conductor


Tell us a bit about yourself!

I am in my final year studying Music at St Peter's College, where I also sing with the College Choir as Senior Choral Scholar. Outside of college, I sing with Schola Cantorum of Oxford, where I previously held the office of Student Chair. I am also a pianist and violinist, however singing and conducting are the things I absorb myself in while at university. I took up conducting at the very beginning of my degree, and made my Oxford debut in a performance of Saint-Saëns’ 'Le carnaval des animaux' in November 2021. I am now widely travelled in Oxford as a musical director, with previous credits including Persephone (Oxford Playhouse, November 2021), Ocean Madness (Keble O’Reilly, November 2021), and Carrie (Oxford Playhouse, May 2022). I also regularly advise on student productions, including a recent run of The Addams Family (St Catherine’s College, March 2023). My operatic conducting debut was The Mikado (University Church, March 2022), alongside conducting excerpts from Die Zauberflöte, Les contes d’Hoffmann, and Die lustige Witwe in the Oxford Opera Society’s Scenes Gala (Trinity College Auditorium, February 2022). I have taken part in masterclasses with Sian Edwards (Royal Academy of Music), Colin Metters (Professor Emeritus, Royal Academy of Music), Alice Farnham (Royal Philharmonic Society), and Martyn Brabbins (English National Opera).

What are you working on at the moment?

I am currently both conducting and directing the Oxford Opera Society's production of Mozart's 'Le nozze di Figaro' (and keeping it very quiet). The performances are in 2nd Week of Trinity Term, on 2nd, 3rd and 5th May. The 5th May show is taking place at the Sheldonian Theatre, with the other two shows at St Peter's College Chapel. The show has been filling my calendar since November 2022, however the idea first popped into my head in 2020 when locked in my room during the pandemic. At the end of Hilary Term, we had a fundraising concert which showcased our principal singers and our orchestra, performing Beethoven's 7th Symphony as well as selections from the opera. It has been a fantastic rehearsal process so far, and the incredible talent of both singers and players has been truly inspiring.

What has your favourite musical experience been at Oxford so far?

Funnily enough, rehearsing Figaro! In -1st week of Trinity Term, we had an intense four-day rehearsal session (now affectionately titled Figaro Bootcamp), which culminated in a full staged run of the opera. After such a vast amount of work having taken place throughout that week, seeing everything starting to come together (and everyone still having a voice by the end of the four days) was so exhilarating. While I needed a solid day or two to recover, I am still just as in love with this show and this cast as I was at the beginning of the rehearsal process (maybe even more so) and am raring and ready to go for the last two weeks leading up to the shows.


Where can you see yourself going in the future?

I plan on applying for a postgraduate degree in Conducting to hopefully start studies in September 2024. I would love to make a career in conducting, especially as a representative of the gender minority. While that will, of course, not be my main calling card, I want to help remove the suggestion of gender being the only reason someone is given a job. One should be given opportunities for their talents, not to fill a quotient. Regardless of the social imbalance that still pervades this particular career path, I cannot think of anything I would rather do with my life than make music.


And finally, can you give us a music recommendation?

Fffffig- no I won't suggest Figaro (although I very much will suggest it, do listen to it - or indeed buy a ticket!!). For non-Figaro joys, I've been listening to Britten's Four Sea Interludes, especially the first movement, Dawn. It's utterly divine.






For more information on Fitz's upcoming projects, visit the links below:



To find out more about the OUMS newsletter and our interviews, email Christopher at secretary@oums.co.uk.

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