biography

Victoria Oruwari - Soprano BMus Hons TCM and PGdip (Distinction)

An award-winning Soprano, teacher of singing and a songwriter, Victoria Ekenta Oruwari hails from Rivers State, Nigeria.

Early years

Victoria started singing at the age of eight after having piano lessons for over two years. Under the tutorship of music teacher Mr John Yekini, she developed her singing and was soon presented to perform at various national charity events in venues such as the National Art Theatre, and the MUSON Centre in Nigeria. Victoria was forced to put her music aside and focus on her academic work after she gained admission to Queen's College, Lagos, one of the foremost secondary schools in Nigeria. In spite of time restrictions due to the academic workload, Victoria still found time to have a few singing lessons with Miss Ada, the school’s music teacher, and performed at a lunchtime concert series held for young musicians at the Musical Society of Nigeria's Concert Hall.

College years

On moving to England she attended RNIB New College Worcester, where she obtained A-levels in English, Sociology, and Music. She also started classical singing lessons with Amanda Ballard, a distinguished recitalist and teacher of singing in Worcester, and piano lessons with Angela Allard, a concert pianist from the Birmingham Conservatoire.

During her time at the College, she performed with her school choir in the Birmingham Symphony Hall, Worchester Cathedral, Huntingdon Hall, and the Queen Elizabeth Hall. She also gave recitals at the Eastnor Castle and St. Martins Church Worcester.

Undergraduate years

In 2001, Victoria gained admission to Trinity College of Music (TCM) where she acquired her Bachelor of Music degree, then subsequently passed her Postgraduate Diploma with distinction. During her undergraduate years, Victoria was featured in the College's lunchtime concert series and performed various choral works with the TCM Choir. Such works included Britten's War Requiem, Tippet's Child of Our Time, and Tallis's Speminalium. Her first opera role was that of the consultant in David Johnston's Sorry False Alarm. Victoria was also involved in outreach projects aimed at bringing music to the community, often running singing workshops and assisting classroom music teachers.

Her professors for singing were John Wakefield, Alistair Young, and Linda Hirst.

Postgraduate years

Victoria spent most of her postgraduate years mastering her art as an opera singer and broadening her repertoire to include musical theatre and jazz. She enrolled on the TCM musical theatre course under the direction of Robert Purvis, and had jazz singing lessons with jazz singer Victoria Newton. She had masterclasses with celebrated tenors and sopranos such as Richard Jackson, Nick Clapton, Nick Searsens, Omar Ibrahim, Alison Wells and Mary King. She also had acting lessons with soprano and music psychologist Dr Jane Davidson.

Opera roles studied include:

'Fiordiligi' in Mozart's Cosi Fan Tutte, 'Mathilde' in Rossini's Guilliame Tell, 'Beatrice' in Bellini's Beatrice di Tenda and the 'Dew Fairy' in Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel.

Opera roles performed include:

'Sour Mathilde' In TCM's production of Poulenc's Dialogue des Carmelites, first soprano chorus in Bizet's Carmen and 'Ladies of the Night' in TCM's production of Weill's Threepenny Opera. Her professors were Wendy Eathorne, Robert Aldwinkle and Linda Hirst. Victoria also performs songs from music theatre and jazz and was featured at the Liberty festival 2011 at the Royal Festival Hall and the TCM musical theatre showcases at the Blackheath Halls, where she performed songs from various shows with the TCM orchestra.

Current activities

Victoria has become a popular choice of artist, asked to perform at various functions.

She has given recitals at the Royal Festival Hall, Regents Hall, The MUSON Centre's Agip Recital Hall, Lagos, and has been asked to perform at various corporate and private functions in venues including Christchurch College at Oxford University, The King’s Gallery at Kensington Palace, in the presence of HRH The Duchess of Gloucester, The Ferrari Museum in Modena, Italy, and the Viaduct Events Centre in Auckland, New Zealand, with the Governor General in attendance.

Victoria was asked to sing the national anthem at the final ceremony held at Alexandra Palace to celebrate Nigeria's 50th anniversary of independence. The Vice President of Nigeria was in attendance.

Victoria’s work has attracted some media interest including Attitude Pictures, the world’s leading provider of television content about the lives of people living with disabilities. They flew into London from New Zealand to film a documentary about Victoria and her music. She was then invited to New Zealand to sing for the Attitude Trust awards night where she was accompanied by the Royal Navy Brass Band.

Victoria has worked in collaboration with Juwon Ogungbe, a British Baritone of Nigerian origin, resulting in a duet recital. Victoria’s most recent musical role was that of Mrs Peachum in Graeae Theatre’s highly acclaimed co-production of Weill’s Threepenny Opera which toured England in 2014.

She is also a member of the Inner Vision Orchestra which comprises of distinguished musicians from various parts of the world who happen to be visually impaired. They are currently touring England.

Aside from singing

Victoria currently teaches singing in various schools in London. She has been involved with Drake Music outreach projects where she led vocal workshops and mentored young musicians. In addition to singing, Victoria has a flare for song writing and has completed her yet to be released first album, of which songs have been featured on BBC Radio 3’s In Tune program and Premier Christian Radio.

Victoria's awards and scholarships include:

  • The Mark Plummer Award for hard work and fortitude;
  • The Fletcher Butcher Award for distinguished musicianship;
  • The Elizabeth Eagle Bott Memorial Scholarship;
  • The Newman Thomas Commonwealth Award for outstanding progress;
  • And the Eva Noreen Student Scholarship Award.
  • Future plans include:

    Working in collaboration with various artists, singing as part of an art installation by Tabatha Andrews in Marylebone Art Gallery, performing ‘Anna’s Requiem’, a beautiful piece by renowned composer Sonia Allori, giving more recitals and expanding her teaching of singing and mentoring young musicians