Listen and learn: Charlotte Bowden


In the 21st of a series of articles, David Bird discusses the work of Redbridge Music Society and introduces us to soprano Charlotte Bowden, who will be performing at Wanstead Library this month

Two essential aims of Redbridge Music Society are to promote and support up-and-coming young musicians, especially those associated with the borough, and to bring high-quality live chamber recitals to the people of Redbridge at affordable prices. This month, outstanding young soprano Charlotte Bowden, together with award-winning pianist Ella O’Neill, will give a recital of music by Schumann, Brahms, Britten and others at Wanstead Library. 

Charlotte completed her undergraduate studies at the Royal Academy of Music and is currently studying on the Masters in Performance course under Rosa Mannion and Simon Lepper at the Royal College of Music, where she and her accompanist Ella first met. Charlotte is a Huffner Scholar, a Harriet Cohen Memorial Music Award holder and is currently a Philip and Dorothy Green Making Music Young Artist. She is also a Britten-Pears Young Artist having studied the title role of Handel’s oratorio Theodora with Sarah Connolly and Christian Curnyn in 2018; this was followed by an invitation to study at the Verbier Festival Atelier Lyrique in July 2019. She was awarded second prize and the audience prize in the 2018 Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards and first prizes in the Marjorie Thomas Art of Song Prize and the Michael Head Prize.

Charlotte has performed at prestigious venues such as Cadogan Hall, Snape Maltings and the Royal Festival Hall, and next month will make her Wigmore Hall debut as Orfeo in Handel’s Italian serenata Parnasso in Festa. She also has a keen interest in new music and created the role of Variable 4 in Bofan Ma’s chamber opera This Is No Opera. She is a Help Musicians UK Ian Fleming Award holder and is particularly grateful for the support of the Josephine Baker Trust. Charlotte went to Forest School in Snaresbrook and is delighted to be returning to the area to perform.

Accompanist Ella O’Neill is increasingly in demand across the UK as a song and chamber music pianist. Last April, she performed in the finals of the 64th Kathleen Ferrier Awards at the Wigmore Hall, where she was awarded the Help Musicians UK Accompanists’ Prize in memory of Arthur and Gwyneth Harrison. She returned to the venue in September to perform in the International Song Competition, and then in November for the finals of the Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards.

The collaboration of two such outstanding musicians promises to make the recital a particularly memorable occasion.

Charlotte and Ella will perform at Wanstead Library on 18 February from 8pm (tickets on the door: £10). For more information, call 07380 606 767. Redbridge Music Society is supported by Vision Redbridge Culture & Leisure and is affiliated to Making Music.