New Chamber Opera Studio was developed in its present form during 2000, by Stephen Rice, the Studio's first director, and Michael Burden, New Chamber Opera's director productions. Its principal aim is to focus New Chamber Opera's work with undergraduates into a unified workshop in which, during each term, the members of the Studio prepare extracts or small operas. Since then, it has presented a range of small pieces and extracts, and has prepared the material for three Hambro Visiting Professors of Operas, Thomas Allen, Phillip Gossett, and Graham Vick.
The Studio is currently directed by Jonathon Swinard. Jonathon is a third-year musician and holds the New Chamber Opera (NCO) Repetiteur Scholarship at St. Catherine’s College. He started his musical education aged six, studying at Exeter Cathedral School, where he was a music scholar, and Kingsbridge Community College.
In 2008, he received his DipABRSM in Piano Performance with distinction. As a repetiteur for NCO he has worked on Don’t Go Down the Elephant After Midnight with Patricia Rozario, Gluck’s Orpheus and Euridice, Galuppi’s Il monda alla roverso, Menotti’s The Medium and Cavalli’s Erismena. In 2010 he conducted a short run of Opera Extracts for NCO in the Holywell Music Room and a performance of Handel’s Esther; in 2011 he will conduct a run of Rossini’s The Barber of Seville in Oxford’s Sheldonian Theatre. Last June he conducted the premiere of Martyn Harry’s new children’s opera Passing the Remote and in October conducted the original music for a critically acclaimed production of T.S.Eliot’s Murder in the Cathedral for the Oxford Playhouse.
As a pianist he has worked for the OU Gilbert and Sullivan Society, St Peter’s Opera, Kingsbridge Amateur Theatrical Society and ‘Take Note’ and spent three years as Musical Director of the Kingsbridge Youth Theatre. He has just finished a year conducting the Oxford University Student Chorus – directing three highly successful concerts, including Beethoven’s Mass in C and Rossini’s Petite Messe Solenelle. Jonathon is also an actor whose credits include Prof. Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady, Tony Brockhurst in The Boyfriend at the 2009 Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the title role in The Philanthropist at the Burton Taylor and Mr Braddock in The Graduate. He is former President of the St Catherine’s College Music Society and sings with Lincoln College Chapel Choir.