Elizabeth Stafford was born and educated in Birmingham. She studied for a BA(hons) in Music at Durham University, graduating in 1999, and in 2002 completed a PhD in Performance Studies at Sheffield University specialising in the vocal music of Henry Purcell. Elizabeth then went on to study Vocal Performance with Wendy Eathorne at Trinity College of Music, where she was chosen to represent the college at a Masterclass with Emma Kirkby at the Handel House Museum, and from whence she graduated with a PGDip in 2004. Elizabeth studied singing with Janet Edmunds from 1997 to 2006 and with Margaret Field from 2006-2008.
As a soprano soloist, Elizabeth has won many competitions and awards including: First Prize and ‘Most Promising Young Female Singer’ in the David Clover Competition; finalist representing Sheffield University in the Musica Britannica Sir Anthony Lewis Competition; Cecily Alice Campbell Scholarship (2 years running); Kathleen & Margery Elliott Scholarship. She has appeared as an oratorio and opera soloist with numerous ensembles in venues including Symphony Hall, Birmingham Town Hall, and most of the major cathedrals in England. She has given recitals in many prestigious locations including the CBSO Centre, the National Gallery, the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Malta Cultural Centre, and has broadcast as a soloist on BBC Radio 4 and the BBC World Service. From 2000-2003 she was First Soprano Lay Clerk at the Metropolitan Cathedral of St. Chad, Birmingham. In 2011, Elizabeth gave a performance of Rossini’s Cat Duet in the presence of Princess Michael of Kent.
As a choral conductor, Elizabeth has conducted numerous youth and adult choirs in venues including Symphony Hall, Birmingham Town Hall, Tewkesbury Abbey & St Chad’s Cathedral, Birmingham. She currently directs the Staffordshire Youth Chamber Choir, having previously conducted the award-winning St Paul’s Girls’ Centenary Choir (Birmingham) and the Blackwood Community Singers (Walsall). In 2009, Elizabeth was selected for a choral conducting Masterclass with David Hill and the BBC Singers, and in 2010 was invited to conduct a massed choir for the Music for Youth Family Prom in Birmingham. Elizabeth now delivers ‘Instant Choir’ workshops all around the UK, creating a ‘choir-in-a-day’ from participants who have never sung before.
In recent years, Elizabeth’s musical style has diversified beyond the traditional classical soprano repertoire into musical theatre and beyond. For 11 years she managed and performed with the ensemble Stardust Cabaret who specialised in providing musical entertainment for private, corporate and charity events. Their repertoire ranged from jazz and musical theatre to contemporary pop and rock.
Concert work includes: Haydn’s Creation, Nelson Mass, Great and Little Organ Masses and St. Nicholas Mass; Handel’s Messiah, Dixit Dominus, Solomon and Gloria; Mozart’s Exultate Jubilate, Coronation Mass, Requiem, Vespers, and Dominicus Mass; Faure’s Requiem; Vivaldi’s Gloria and Nulla in mundo pax sincera; Purcell’s Come ye Sons of Art and Hail! Bright Cecilia; Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater; Saint-Saen’s Christmas Oratorio; Berkley’s Missa Brevis; Charpentier’s Midnight Mass; Panufnik’s Song to the Virgin Mary; Mahler’s Fourth Symphony; Britten’s Rejoice in the Lamb; Mendelssohn’s Hear my Prayer; and Beethoven’s Choral Symphony. Operatic roles include: Susanna and Barbarina in The Marriage of Figaro; Pamina, First Lady and First Spirit in The Magic Flute; Dido, the Sorceress, Belinda, the Spirit and the Witches in Dido and Aeneas; Venus in Venus and Adonis; Galatea in Acis and Galatea; Mrs. Sem in Noye’s Fludde; Cupid in Orfeo (Gluck); and a Young Tree in Paul Bunyan. Music Theatre Roles include: Maria in West Side Story, Cosette in Les Miserable and Sarah in Guys and Dolls. Premieres include: Anthony Mosakowski’s Five Ophelia Songs (British Premiere 1999); Sam Thompson’s Five Songs about Love (World Premiere 2000); The Bride in Samantha Caroline Graper’s opera The Song of Songs (World Premiere 2003); Samantha Caroline Graper’s O Viridissima Virga (World Premiere 2003).