The British choral conductor Suzi Digby has been to top venues in Britain and the U.S. and has founded three ensembles -- Voce, ORA, and The Golden Bridge. The latter two groups have been noted for a unique concept: their repertoire includes commissioned new works that respond to Renaissance compositions. She has established and/or served with organizations that aim to strengthen choral music in British schools, and she is a Trustee of Music in Country Churches. As if these did not make up a sufficient contribution to British musical life, she is also Official Choral Conductor to the Rolling Stones (Voce has performed with the Stones at major concerts including one at the 2013 Glastonbury festival). Digby was born Susan Watts on July 1, 1958, in Tokyo, settling in England and studying piano and conducting at King's College, Cambridge. She has also lived in Mexico, and the Philippines, and, for 12 years, Hong Kong, where she was a radio and television host as well as a teacher and performer. Digby won a Winston Churchill Fellowship in 1990, using the proceeds to travel to the U.S., Canada, Hungary (where she has served as guest conductor of the Budapest St. Stephen's Oratorio Choir), and Finland. After this odyssey, many of her enterprises in Britain have nurtured local music-making. She has founded and operated the Voices Foundation (the U.K.'s leading primary music education charity, promoting musical education and choral groups employing the methods of Zoltán Kodály); Vocal Futures (aimed at developing young audiences for classical choral music); Singing4Success (a group that promotes choral music as a means for developing leadership and "accelerated learning" in corporate settings), and the London Youth Choir (a pyramid of five choirs, with members ages 8-22, serving all ethnic communities in London’s 33 boroughs). Parallel with these activities, Digby developed a career as a conductor. She led the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment in an acclaimed 2011 performance, but she is most noted for creating new ensembles through which she has been able to realize her creative vision. These have included the young London chamber choir Voce (co-founded with singer and pianist Harry Briggs), ORA in London, and The Golden Bridge in California. ORA's 2017 debut album, Many Are the Wonders, reached high chart levels in Britain; a second album with Voce, 99 Words, featuring music by John Tavener and Roxanna Panufnik, appeared in 2018. Digby has been a visiting professor in choral studies at the University of Southern California. She has been designated an Officer of the Order of the British Empire. ~ James Manheim
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