Born in London, Grace Rossiter is a singer, pianist and violinist by training. Singing in the Finchley Children’s Music Group and at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, as a child, she initially hoped to pursue a career in singing until she took part in a masterclass with the BBC Singers, which inspired a new interest in conducting. She read Music at Bristol University, during which time she conducted both the University Chamber Choir and Orchestra. On graduating, she worked with choirs and operatic societies in the south west as a conductor and repetiteur before returning to London in 2001 when she was appointed Musical Director of the Finchley Children’s Music Group. She made her BBC Proms debut with the choir in 2004, conducting the children’s chorus in Britten’s War Requiem with the LSO and Sir Colin Davis. In the same year she released a disc with FCMG, Bethlehem Down (Naxos), to critical acclaim. The disc includes two of her own arrangements, one features the British tenor Philip Langridge, and the other has been recorded by the BBC Singers for Radio 3. Grace has conducted FCMG performances at the Royal Festival Hall, Royal Albert Hall, Barbican, St John’s Smith Square and Kings Place.
FCMG enjoys a busy and varied concert diary, and with the choir, Grace has worked with conductors including Kurt Masur, James Levine, Richard Hickox and Sir Colin Davis. The choir has also performed at many large scale events, including singing with Madonna at Wembley for Live Earth. Grace has recently conducted the premieres of two song cycles for choir and small ensemble by James Weeks and John Pickard; the London premiere of Michael Finnissy’s opera Mankind; the premiere of Common Dance by Terry Mann at the Borough Hall (Greenwich) with choreographer Rosemary Lee as part of Dance Umbrella 2009; and last month she conducted the premiere of The Jailer’s Tale, a children’s opera commissioned by FCMG as part of their 50th anniversary celebrations from composer Malcolm Singer. The choir was joined by players from the Yehudi Menuhin School to give a concert performance at the Menuhin Hall (Surrey) before the production moved to the Pentland Theatre at the artsdepot (Finchley). At the end of March, Grace will conduct the same forces for another concert performance of The Jailer's Tale at the Southbank.
Actively involved in community music-making, Grace is Musical Director of Finchley Choral Society and the Symphonic Wind Orchestra of North London. Future performances with FCS include Scarlatti Stabat Mater and a concert of French and Italian repertoire at St Briavels Church in the Wye Valley. Grace has also worked with Enfield Chamber Orchestra, Camden Singers, City of Bristol Girls Choir, Bright Angel Theatre Company, Bristol Opera, and New Youth Opera. She has recorded for Naxos, film, radio and television, and has performed throughout the UK, Europe and Australia.
“…with Finchley Children’s Music Group, which is positively flourishing under
Grace Rossiter’s exceptionally efficient and well-articulated musical direction…”
Roderick Dunnett on Michael Finnissy’s Mankind