Growing up on the Isle of Man, Eliza was surrounded by music-making, and a plethora of orchestras, choirs, folk bands and amateur dramatics reigned over the community. Eliza began singing lessons with Eleanor Shimmin at the age of thirteen, accompanying the piano and double bass tuition she was already undertaking through the Island’s Music Service. Eliza moved progressively through the ABRSM exams, gaining a distinction for her Grade 8 singing exam in 2008.
Eliza took up a place reading Music at Royal Holloway, University of London. She studied voice with Elaine Pearce and performed in examined recitals, as well as with a number of student ensembles. Highlights included an ‘Early Music’ concert with celebrated lutenist Michael Fields, a solo in the college chapel to commemorate Remembrance Sunday, and a concert celebration of the works of Stephen Sondheim, in which she both sang and played lead double bass in the orchestra (though not at the same time).
After returning to the Isle of Man following her graduation, Eliza worked for 3FM Radio as a studio programming assistant and music co-ordinator. In 2013 she entered the Manx Music Festival in several adult voice classes, hoping to demonstrate that she was serious about pursuing singing as a career. Eliza won the Lieder Mezzo-Soprano class, and she was also the youngest finalist in the prestigious Cleveland Medal Test by some twenty years. It was therefore a wonderful surprise when Eliza became the second youngest winner of the Cleveland gold medal in the competition’s 120-year history. Eliza was subsequently invited to perform a solo at the Manx bank holiday ceremony, live-streamed on the BBC, and was given a coveted invitation to sing at the annual World Manx Association dinner.
Eliza previously worked as a qualified secondary music teacher on the Isle of Man. In the summer of 2015 Eliza worked with young people in upstate New York, teaching her second instrument, double bass. During this time Eliza performed alongside the New York Pops Orchestra and fellow musicians from all over the world, and was a Pink Lady in the staff production of ‘Grease’!
In the summer of 2016 Eliza played the dual role of ‘Rose Seller/Annie’ in the Taylorian 10th anniversary production of ‘Oliver!’ at the historic Gaiety Theatre. She was also a member of the Ensemble, with a total of six costume changes during the show’s two-week run.
Since early 2017, Eliza has lived in London, UK. She takes singing lessons with Nicholas Martin and voice/movement classes at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA).
© Eliza Florence Townsend 2017