About us - The musicians
     



 

Geraldine Cassidiy - Soprano

 

Geraldine Cassidy - Soprano
Irish lyric soprano, Geraldine Cassidy, studied voice in London, Munich and Salzurg with Anna Reynolds, Peter Pears, Elizabeth Schwarzkopf and Nicolas Harnoncourt before joining the Opera Studio of the Vienna State Opera.  She has sung principal roles throughout Germany and Austria including Gilda (Rigoletto), The Countess (Le Nozze di Figaro), Violetta (La Traviata), Donna Anna (Don Giovanni) & Anne Truelove (Rake's Progress). She lives in Alsace where she is an active concert soloist and recitalist in the region. She teaches at L'Ecole de Musique de la Vallée de Kaysersberg, at the CFMI in Selèstat and works as a vocal coach for la Mission Voix d'Alsace and has been singing with the Umbrella Singers since 2007.




Gillian Macdonald - Soprano  

Gillian Macdonald - Soprano
Gillian Macdonald was born in Scotland and graduated from the Royal Academy of Music in London then studied opera under Judith Beckmann in Hamburg.  Her career as an opera soloist in Germany and Switzerland includes over 30 major roles in works by composers from Mozart & Donizetti to Schoenberg, Britten & Paul McCartney. She has sung in masterclasses with Elizabeth Grümmer, Hugo Diez (International Music Festival, Lucerne) and Stefan Hasselhof. She lives in Switzerland and has a busy schedule of solo projects including World Premières and Music Festivals. She has been a member of the Umbrella Singers since 2006 and also teaches singing at the Regionale Musikschule in Liestal.



Barbara Laurie - Mezzo-soprano  

Barbara Laurie - Mezzo-soprano
Scottish mezzo-soprano Barbara Laurie is a passionate performer with a special enthusiasm for vocal ensemble work. A graduate of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, she won the Opera Prize at the Ayrshire Music Festival and went on to sing several operas in the Heidelberg Castle Festival (Germany). She studies with baritone soloist Arkadius Burski and has also worked with conductor Giampaolo Bracali and Luisa Maragliano (Italy).  In addition to her work as a soloist and with the Umbrella Singers, Barbara Laurie produces & performs with Ashling Sounds, a trio specialising in classical and Celtic music. She lives in Alsace with her husband and two cats.



Will Wood - Baritone  

Will Wood - Baritone
Will Wood, baritone, was born in Scotland and came to Switzerland in 1999 to study singing with Kurt Widmer at the Hochschule für Musik in Basel. In 2003 he graduated with a teaching diploma für solo singing and then went on to study choral conducting with Raphael Immoos from which he graduated in 2006, as well as taking a post-graduate course for Free Improvisation on the instruments piano, mouth organ and voice with Walter Fähndrich.  Besides singing with the Umbrella Singers since 2002, Will also gives solo concerts, teaches singing privately, conducts and is a school music teacher.



Boris Chnaider - Piano  

Boris Chnaider - Piano
Boris Chnaider, graduated from both the Conservatory of St Petersburg and the Music Academy of Basle. He was a prize winner in the “Claude Kahn International Piano Competition” in 1993, in Paris and has participated in master classes with Alexis Weisenberg and Rudolph Buchbinder. Mr Chnaider lives in Basle, Switzerland, and is well known as a chamber music performer in both Switzerland and Russia. He has made radio and television recordings in a number of European countries and he accompanies Arkadius Burski, Kurt Widmer and Claudia Dora. As well as being the Artistic Manager of the Basle-based concert organisation “Les Evenements”, he is also involved in organising the Swiss-Russian music festival “Musikdialog Schweiz-Russland”. Together with Barbara Laurie, Boris Chnaider was a founder member of the group in 2001.

     

The Umbrella Singers bring you British music sung by British singers. This ensemble, formed in 2001, includes four British singers and a pianist and brings you the best of British music & humour to the 3-country region of Germany, Switzerland and France. 

Classical and traditional British music from ancient and modern eras performed for you by professional musicians in exciting themed programmes with thrilling and beautiful ensembles as well as elegant vocal solos.  Theatrical skills, props and introductory notes are incorporated to clarify the meaning and context of each piece for multilingual audiences.

The wide appeal of their repertoire has brought the Umbrella Singers corporate clients like Novartis, Roche and Jacquet Engineering and they also perform regularly at public and private events and for other organisations like The Gilbert & Sullivan Society in Basel. 

Do you have a special occasion to celebrate?  Would you like an entertaining programme of classical music to make it memorable for your guests?  Whatever format you have in mind - celebration dinner, party or concert - our manager can consult you about your requirements to create a customised programme for your event. 

The Umbrella Singers - British professional vocal soloists singing vocal ensembles from the best of British music.