Biography

 

Joel Williams is a British tenor and member of the Royal College of Music International Opera School where he studies with Ben Johnson, and is an H F Music Award Holder supported by the Royal College of Music.  Joel is grateful for the additional support of the Josephine Baker Trust and the Countess of Munster Musical Trust.

Joel made his operatic debuts at the Royal Opera House, English National Opera and Glyndebourne as a boy treble with Trinity Boys Choir playing Cobweb in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, one of Die Zauberflöte’s Drei Knaben, and peasant-child in Puccini's Turandot.  In oratorio he performed as the boy-king Joas in Handel’s Athalia with Paul McCreesh, and toured with the Monteverdi Choir and Sir John Eliot Gardiner.

Joel spent a year in Princeton, New Jersey, where he sang with the choirs of Trinity Church, St Thomas Fifth Avenue, NYC, and co-directed the Episcopal Choir of Princeton University.  He went on to take up a Choral Scholarship King’s College, Cambridge, where he studied for a degree in History.  With the choir, Joel took part in numerous international tours, recordings, and radio and television broadcasts.  He was a soloist on many of their recordings, and has performed solos in venues including the Royal Albert Hall, the Concertgebouw and the Sydney Opera House for which he received glowing reviews from the international press.  

On stage, Joel has played Le Ruisseau Les Fêtes D'Hébé (Bastille, Opéra de Paris), Count Belfiore La Finta Giardiniera, Mayor Albert Herring, Hexe Hänsel und Gretel, Dr Blind Die Fledermaus (Royal College of Music International Opera School), Odoardo Ariodante (London Handel Festival), Oronte Alcina (Ryedale Festival Opera), Tamino The Magic Flute (Cambridge University Opera Society), and Satyavan Savitri (Cover, British Youth Opera).  Joel created the role of Daniel in a new opera Bel and the Dragon by Alex Paxton for Tête-à-Tête Opera.  In 2015 Joel was a selected to be part of the Southrepps Young Artists Programme by Ben Johnson. In the summer of 2017 Joel sang Don Ottavio Don Giovanni as a Young Artist with Opera Holland Park. 

Joel's concert engagements include Verdi Otello Act One (Cambridge University Musical Society, Richard Farnes), Pärt Passio (Choir of King's College Cambridge, Stephen Cleobury), Bach St John Passion (Merton College Choir, Oxford, Benjamin Nicholas), Handel Messiah (Bedford Choral Society), Mozart Requiem and Cavalli Magnificat (Danesborough Chorus), Haydn Creation (Grantham Choral Society), Handel Acis and Galatea (Lymington Choral Society) and Vivaldi Magnificat and Gabrieli In Ecclesii (South Somerset Choral Society).

Joel is passionate about art song.  He was second prize winner at the 2017 Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards at the Wigmore Hall, and first prize winner at the 2017 Somerset Song Prize, the Sir Anthony Lewis Memorial Prize, and the Sidney Sussex Lieder Competition.  As a Pembroke Lieder Scholar, Joel regularly worked with the accompanist Joseph Middleton and was coached by many of the country’s greatest song performers including John-Mark Ainsley, Joan Rodgers, and Amanda Roocroft.  At the Royal College of Music, Joel studies lute song repertoire with Jakob Lindberg.  Joel performed with Kitty Whately and Joseph Middleton at the Wigmore Hall, which was broadcast live on BBC Radio 3.  Joel has given recitals for the Barber Institute at Birmingham University, the Leeds University International Concert Series and at the Victoria Rooms in Bristol. In 2017 he made his debut for both Leeds Lieder and the Oxford Lieder Festival with programmes of Sonnet settings and Schumann and Brahms Lieder.

Joel is also so grateful to those who have supported him up to this point.  Many thanks to the Ladies of the Soirée d'Or, the Kathleen Trust, the Seary Charitable Trust, the Il Circolo Italian Cultural Association, the Ryan Davies Memorial Fund, the Mario Lanza Foundation, the Philip Bates Trust, and the Michael James Trust.

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Joel’s elegant tenor was total pleasure
— Peter Reed, classicalsource.com
All the cast turned in outstanding performances. All of the voices sparkled in the Britten Theatre... Special mention to Joel Williams for a well-observed and brilliantly obsequious Mr Upfold, brimming with awkward mannerisms belying a darker secret.
— Jon Jacob, thoroughlygood.me
The voices complemented each other perfectly – [Edward] Grint warm and mellifluous, [Thomas] Hobbs bright and edgy – and when they were joined by Joel Williams, the tenor Evangelist, for the trial before Pilate, the variance in timbres created a sublime example of minimalist contrast.
— Barry Creasy, musicomh.com
And so to the Phantom: Joel Williams’s anti-hero was a tour-de-force in the abilities of an exceptional performer. I do not use the term ‘shivers down the spine’ lightly but when Williams and Skinner were on stage together, the air was electric. His solo performance was similarly powerful: he made me cry at least twice...
And of course Williams, on whose entrance to the stage even the few shy stragglers were forced to leap to their feet in admiration.
— Gabrielle Watts, Varsity.co.uk
radiant solos
— Peter McCallum, Sidney Morning Herald
beautifully sung
— Alexandra Coghlan, theartsdesk.com