2024 Proms Launch Party
Each year Proms sponsors an annual Launch Party prior to our annual festival as a thank you to our Gold and Silver Friends and our Sponsors. The party features a performance by up and coming professional talent who show prodigious abilities and promise to be the next generation of artistic headliners. For 2024, Proms is pleased to have Eleanor Grant, vocalist and double bassist, and Gus McQuade, classical guitarist, as our guests.
Our Artistic Talent for the Evening
Biography: Eleanor and Gus formed their duo three years ago as second year undergraduates at the Royal Academy of Music. While working together, they became aware of a mutual passion for exploring multiple genres, from the Renaissance period to the present day, embracing folk and jazz influences.
Eleanor and Gus have written many arrangements for their own special and unusual combination of instruments (guitar, double bass and voice). Their first performance together was at the Royal Academy of Music in an Autumn Guitar Chamber Concert. They presented songs by Dowland, and Eleanor’s arrangement of Gershwin’s I Got Rhythm. In 2023, Eleanor and Gus became holders of the Musicians Company’s prestigious New Elizabethan Award. They made their debut at the Wigmore Hall in February 2023 and have since performed at various festivals and concert venues, most recently being Burgh House (London), Stapleford Granary (Cambridge), and Dillington Guitar Festival. The pair will be recording their debut album with the independent record label Deux-Elles in Autumn 2024.
Classical guitarist, Gus McQuade, was born and educated in Leamington Spa. He recently graduated from the Royal Academy of Music, London, with First Class Honours (BMus) and is currently studying there under Professor Michael Lewin on the Masters course funded by a number of scholarships, including a Help Musicians Postgraduate Award and the Drake Calleja Trust. Recent awards include the Timothy Gibson and Blyth Watson Prizes (2022), and runner-up in both the Leicester Music Competition (2022) and the Royal Classics Guitar Concerto Prize (2020). Gus has performed in masterclasses with some of the world’s leading guitarists, including David Russell, Fabio Zanon, Roberto Aussel and Xeufei Yang and has regularly featured in the Royal Academy of Music’s concert series. Notable performances include Lorenzo Palomo’s Madrigal y Cinco Canciones Serfadíes (UK premiere) and Sofia Gubaidulina’s Repentance for three guitars, cello and bass. Gus is passionate about expanding the guitar repertoire and is a keen arranger, writing for both guitar chamber ensemble and solo guitar.
Eleanor is an accomplished singer, actress, double bass player and bass guitarist, holding versatility at the core of her identity. She studied at the Royal Academy of Music (double bass scholar) and recently graduated with First Class Honours (BMus). She has played under the baton of several eminent conductors including Gustavo Dudamel, Sakari Oramo, Sir Mark Elder and Edward Gardner. She has played with the English National Opera and with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at The Albert Hall. Theatre productions include Cy Coleman’s City of Angels (RAM), Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along (RAM), and Anyone Can Whistle (Southwark Playhouse 2022), Jason Robert Brown’s The Last Five Years (Minack Theatre, Cornwall) and Lourds Lane’s SuperYou (Lyric Theatre 2023). She was the double bass/bass guitar dep for Standing at the Sky’s Edge at the National Theatre and is currently the electro-acoustic double bass player/singer for the London Symphonic Rock Orchestra.
Eleanor regularly records at AIR, Angel & Abbey Road studios in London, recording vocal solos for composers Ennio Morricone, Rachel Portman, John Debney, Patrick Doyle, and Alan Menken. Recent film soundtracks include Eurovision Song contest: The Story of Fire Saga, Cinderella, Cruella, Puss in Boots and Disney’s live-action remakes of Aladdin and The Little Mermaid.
In 2018 Eleanor was the vocal soloist in a film showing of The English Patient LIVE (Avex Classics) with live orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall (with the RPCO). She performed the same concert in China (Shanghai Symphony Orchestra) and in Luxembourg (Orchestre Philharmonie). She travelled to France (2019) and Taiwan (2023) to be the featured soloist in Titanic LIVE. Eleanor was honoured to be invited by Gabriel Yared to be his soprano soloist in a televised gala concert ‘Hollywood in Vienna’. Yared was presented with the 2019 Max Steiner Film Music Achievement Award at the concert held at the Vienna Konzerthaus, Austria, and presented by the city annually to a world-renowned film composer. Eleanor returned to Vienna to sing in the 2022 concert (honouring Alan Menken, recipient of the 2022 Award). Eleanor made her solo debut with the BBC Concert orchestra in 2019, recording The Way of Light by Nigel Hess (available on iTunes, Apple Music and multiple streaming platforms) and most recently travelled to Ireland to be a vocal soloist alongside the RTÉ Concert Orchestra for their ‘100 Years of Disney Music’ concerts.
Programme for Launch Party:
John Dankworth (1927-2010) - It was a lover and his lass
Robert Johnson (1583-1633) - Where the Bee Sucks
John Wilson (1595-1674) - Now the Lusty Spring is seen
David Shire (1937- ) - Autumn
Eric Wetherell (1925-2021) - How Like a Winter
Eric Wetherell - Shall I Compare Thee?
Rebecca Clarke (1886-1979) - Cherry Blossom Wand
John Duke (1899-1984) - Loveliest of Trees
Elizabeth Machonchy (1907-1994) - Ophelia’s song
Robert Johnson (1583-1633) - Have You Seen But a White Lily Grow
Elizabeth Poston (1905-1987) - Sweet Suffolk Owl
Benjamin Britten (1913-1976) - The Trees They Grow So High
Joni Mitchell (1943- ) - Circle Game