Simon Wall was born in Suffolk and began his life in the beautiful village of Orford, a place rich in recent musical reference, often the scene of action in Benjamin Britten’s dramatic works. A child of The Rectory, Simon was baptised within the first week of his birth, at St Bartholomew’s Church, Orford where several of Britten’s works including some of his Church Parables had received their first performances. During the first years of his life, he began to learn the art of singing from his mother’s gutsy hymn-singing at church on Sunday mornings and surprisingly early in life grasped hymn tunes and sang them lustily. In a natural progression, Simon soon became a chorister at St Edmundsbury Cathedral in Suffolk and thrived on the rigorous daily musical and liturgical diet enthusiastically and expertly administered firstly by Harrison Oxley and later by Paul Trepte, Directors of Music. Before long, he was entrusted with solos in both concerts and services and roles in Nowton Court Preparatory School school operas (Rodney Bennett’s All the King’s Men, Britten’s The Golden Vanity and Amahl in Amahl and the Night Visitors by Menotti). Head Choristership followed towards the end of his time there and was crowned with a solo recital ‘Simon Sings’ in the Cathedral during the Summer of 1989.
Upon completion of his choristership, Simon won a music exhibition to St John’s School, Leatherhead in Surrey, where his musical and educational needs were lovingly nurtured and encouraged. He was the first pupil ever to win his full school colours for contributions to music. Previously, only sporting prowess had earned such prestigious school accolades.
Several Eton Choral Courses and membership of The Rodolfus Choir guided Simon firstly to Portsmouth Cathedral for a gap year of Lay Clerking in St Thomas’ Cathedral and then, thanks to inspirational singing tuition and advice from David Lowe, to St John’s College Cambridge where he took up a Choral Scholarship and read Theology and Religious Studies. The choir of St John’s offered amazing daily music-making under the unique direction of Christopher Robinson, great friendships and a chance to see the world on tours to the USA, Canada, Australia, South Africa and many other nearer countries! The wider university musical community offered a safe environment for starting out as a soloist in many oratorios.
After graduation Simon continued in this vein whilst firstly assisting Timothy Brown at Clare College and then becoming PA to John Rutter for three wonderful years. During this time, Simon managed to sing with some of the finest professional consorts and choirs, a highlight of which must be Berlioz’s Trojans at Chatelet with Sir John Eliot Gardiner and his Monteverdi Choir.
In 2002 Simon won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music in London and his career began in earnest. In 2003 he premiered solos in John Tavener’s epic The Veil of the Temple, at both the Lincoln Center, New York and at the BBC Proms. He has appeared as a soloist for Laurence Cummings, John Eliot Gardiner, Richard Hickox, Stephen Layton, Andrew Parrott, John Rutter, and Sir David Willcocks.
Operas include Orfeo and Fairy Queen with Emmanuel Haïm, both for Opera de Lille and Opera du Rhin. He also created the role of Owl in The Birds by Ed Hughes, which premiered at the City of London Festival in July 2005. His 2008 Temple Festival Dido and Aeneas Sailor saw Andrew Porter/The Times describing him as ‘a model of unforced, attractively direct English singing.’
Recordings include Barber’s operetta A Hand of Bridge, conducted by Marin Alsop, with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Tavener’s Veil of the Temple, directed by Stephen Layton, Caccini songs with La Nuova Musica, Charles Wood’s St Mark Passion (Evangelist) with the choir of Jesus College, Cambridge, Monteverdi Vespers with The Rodolfus Choir and Lamenti with Emmanuelle Haïm and Le Concert d’Astrée
During Summer ‘09 Simon performed the St Matthew Passion Evangelist at Snape Maltings for Mazaaki Suzuki; the Gilles Requiem at Dartington for Andrew Parrott; a John McCabe premiere at the 2009 Three Choirs Festival and for BBC Radio 3; the title role in Handel's Jepthe at the 15th Haapsalu Early Music Festival, Estonia and a BBC chamber Prom with Iestyn Davis, Richard Egarr and AAM.