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4 April, 2013

Meet Tom – our new bass!


It’s a big day for Stile Antico: we’re thrilled to announce our newest member, the bass Tom Flint!  Tom will be touring with us in the US and Canada. We thought we’d ask him a few questions, to give you a chance to get to know him.

Stile Antico: Of all our members, you’ve travelled the furthest to join the group!  Tell us a bit about yourself and how you came to be in the UK.

Tom: I first sang when I joined the choir of St Peter’s Cathedral in my home city of Adelaide, South Australia, when I was 19 after having played the trumpet since I was 10. After a couple of years I realised I wanted to sing for a living so I took up a music degree at the Elder Conservatorium and graduated with First Class honours.

I enjoyed singing in Adelaide but it became clear that to truly be able to work as a freelance soloist and ensemble singer I had to move elsewhere. With the enormous range of opportunities for singers in London it seemed like the logical place to relocate so in July 2011 my violinist wife, Julia, and I packed up and made the move. We’ve loved every minute of London musical life and haven’t looked back!

Stile Antico: How did you get interested in singing early music?  Do you have any particular areas of interest, or composers that particularly excite you?

Tom: The first early music I ever sang was Byrd’s Ave Verum Corpus in a service with the cathedral choir and I was so moved (perhaps unhelpfully in performance!) that my eyes streamed while I sang it. From that point on my experience and tastes broadened dramatically, in large part thanks to my years as a member of Adelaide Chamber Singers and Syntony.

My love of early music seems limitless to me but Lassus and Monteverdi, and the Iberian composers like Guerrero, Lobo and Victoria continue to cement themselves as my favourites, each for quite different reasons, and I’ll always have a soft spot for the chromaticism of Gesualdo. I also particularly love singing anything sonorous and rich with the basses split between two or three parts. And who could forget Bach?

Stile Antico: What was it about Stile Antico that made you want to become a member?

Tom: In addition to the repertoire itself, there’s a lovely purity and sensitivity about the way Stile Antico performs Renaissance polyphony that really grabbed me from the first time I heard them. There’s also something about the group working collaboratively as chamber musicians without a conductor out the front that resonated strongly with me.

Stile Antico: How did you feel when you were offered the job in Stile Antico?

Tom: Honoured and delighted!

Stile Antico: What was the audition process like?

Tom: Given that it began back in September 2012, it has seemed like a very long time! It was a really enjoyable process for me, especially once my trial began and I was able to rehearse and perform with the group in a variety of contexts, not to mention getting to know the lovely members themselves. They’re a very welcoming bunch!

Stile Antico: What are you most looking forward to in joining the group?

Tom: The opportunity to perform my favourite repertoire to a very high standard with people who are a) extremely skilled at what they do, b) equally passionate about it, and c) dedicated to achieving a common goal in making the music come alive.

Stile Antico: What’s the most daunting part of becoming a member of the group?

Tom: Filling the enormous boots left by the previous bass, Olly!

Stile Antico: What do you like to do when you’re not singing?

Tom: I have a lot of interests and hobbies but my biggest passion outside of music is for the history and culture surrounding the East Asian martial arts, and for nine years I’ve been practising an 800-year-old Chinese battlefield style of kung fu called Yet Chia.

The remaining members of the group fly out to Boston this evening; tomorrow we give our first concert in Cambridge, MA.  We’ll be blogging here as regularly as we can on the road!    Do also check out our Facebook page, where we’ll post reviews and news as we go, and follow the @stileantico Twitter feed for up-to-the-minute updates.  Several members of the touring group have personal twitter accounts, too: you might like to follow @wjbdawes, @composer_jim, @colla_voce, @BenedictHymas, @tomflintbass and @amycwood!