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She plays the piano as though it were an extension of her soul.
The melodies follow one another in a seamless stream, thanks to her clever arrangements.
A former student of the Royal College of Music, Carol Anne Wells studied oboe, singing and her first instrument- piano - with Angus Morrison, winning the Ellen Marie Curtis Mozart prize, and several scholarships for advanced piano study. Carol Anne became the first official accompanist at the OperaSchoolof the RCM. Since then, her playing as a soloist/accompanist in concerts, cabaret, opera and musical theatre has charmed the critics, eliciting the comment from eminent musicologist Dr. Percy Young: “The most beautiful piano playing I have heard in years.”
Her dual interest in classical and light music has led to recitals at the South Bank (in the National Theatre and Purcell Room), Wigmore and Barbican concerts halls, and before members of the royal family at the Royal Albert Hall. Carol Anne has also made numerous appearances on British, American, Italian and Romanian television. She has also broadcast on BBC radio and, as a member of the Poulenc Trio, was one of the first live performers on Classic Fm. A strong interest in musical fusion has led Carol Anne to create a highly praised musical spectacular “Rhapsody, Rock & Ragtime”, featured for its originality on BBC radio’s Woman’s Hour.
In variety, Carol Anne has worked with a wide range of personalities including Imelda Staunton, Christopher Biggins, Julia McKenzie, Maureen Lipman & Ronnie Corbett. Carol Anne has appeared as pianist on two editions of This is Your Life, for Eastenders star John Bardon & the late Bob Monkhouse, when she appeared with the late Denis Quilley. In Denis’s highly acclaimed one man show “The Best of Times” Carol Anne acted as singer/pianist, appearing with him at Aldeburgh, The Gulbenkian Theatre, the Chichester Festival Theatre and the Theatre Royal Haymarket, where the show was filmed for television. This is available on DVD. She has worked with many famous members of the showbusiness world, often sharing hilarious memories when speaking to her audiences as part of her solo shows. Carol Anne has also performed at several other major theatres throughout the country with several different shows and stars.
Carol Anne has directed several musicals includingOklahoma, Salad Days and Gigi, as well as acting as musical director for several variety shows all over the country. In December 2004 she was honoured with an award in recognition of outstanding theatrical productions on behalf of AJEX (the Association of Jewish ex-servicemen).
In the classical genre, Carol Anne has frequently worked with the world-renowned counter tenor James Bowman (including appearances at the Chichester & Lambeth Festivals), bass Peter Medhurst and Marilyn Hill-Smith. She regularly performs as a solo classical artiste in a wide variety of venues for many different audiences. Her concert career has already taken her to India, Germany, Poland, Romania, Russia, France,Italy, Spain & South Africa.
Carol Anne has promoted a new & exciting venture, namely that of bringing to public awareness the beautiful music of the French composer Cecile Chaminade, a favourite of Queen Victoria. The late Stella Quilley, actress & writer, wrote a script about the life of Chaminade, where the script is spoken as the aging composer looks back on her career. Interspersed are many of Chaminade’s compositions played by Carol Anne as the younger woman. This show, Dream Music, has grown in stature & been performed at several venues including two historic buildings, Burgh House & Hall Place. Listed buildings provide a suitable backdrop for this wonderful production.
Carol Anne’s versatility leads her from the classical concert stage as a soloist, accompanist to opera groups and soloists, or ensemble player to performing her own arrangements of well-known film themes and songs in two one-woman shows, Screen Gems & Hooray for Hollywood. The arranging of & speaking about film music is one of Carol Anne’s great passions. The event includes communication with the audience (one of Carol Anne’s strengths), sharing many anecdotes about films, composers & actors. Her first solo CD “By Arrangement With…” received wide critical acclaim. Bob Baxter said:
“As well as being treated to faultless musicianship we were regaled with many a story about composers & film stars.
Carol Anne arranged the melodies herself, cleverly weaving them into medleys that brought the films brilliantly to mind.
Carol Anne radiates a warmth & accessibility both when talking about music & performing it.”
Times Educational Supplement
In 2008 Carol Anne released a second solo CD. Chocolate Box Classics is a collection of favourite piano pieces ranging from Mozart to Debussy, Joplin to Chopin. A third CD, An Accidental Waiting to Happen was released in 2010; it contains a lighter music selection and further underlines the other side of this talented pianist. 2007 also saw the release of a film for which Carol Anne wrote the theme song & some of the incidental music.
Carol Anne is in demand all around the country; she has performed for the Cunard Line, & has recently toured three shows, a 1940’s/1950’s nostalgia programme, Unforgettable (a show based around the melodies and songs of the 1950s and 60s) & Glamorous Night, The Three Sopranos, a show that was a support act to Brian Conley at the Lakeside Country Club last November. Her latest production is as accompanist for a Howard Keel & His Leading Ladies show. The sheer diversity of these specific shows only serves to underline the variety & versatility of Carol Anne Wells. She has a busy schedule of engagements all over theBritish Isles at Art Centres, Music Societies, summer schools & theatres. She has also adjudicated at the prestigious Canterbury Piano Festival.
Carol Anne has often performed for the Theatregoers Club of Great Britain& has had great success and critical acclaim for many other one woman shows, Travels With My Piano, Around the World in Eighty Minutes, Aspects of Love to name but three, where all styles of piano playing come together. She regularly devises two or three new shows every year, believing that creative stimulation and variety enables her to always have something to offer an audience.
Last year Carol Anne was a soloist and accompanist at both parts of a prestigious Handel festival to celebrate the 250th anniversary of his death. She has also played at several NADFAS functions, including a Mozart Masterclass day in Bury St Edmunds. Her expert playing of his music has been a key feature throughout her professional life. She has also recently played with Julia De Brulais, lead cellist from the London Mozart Players at a Mozart weekend. She thrives on this aspect of being able to keep the dual sides of her musicianship to the fore in her varied career.
In summer 2011 Carol Anne is involved in a prestigious fundraiser concert for theNorth Devonhospices, to be held in front of an audience of almost 600 at Hartland Abbey, scene of Prince William’s stag night.
Carol Anne is looking forward with excitement to a new direction in her musical journey, that of working as a musical Host for Saga, where she will get the opportunity to spend time talking in more detail to her audiences before, during and after performances. Sharing her love of music in this way is an important part of her career.
As well as a seasonal Christmas show, every year Carol Anne devises two totally new and original one woman shows; this enables her to extend her creativity and do what she so enjoys – putting together great tunes into medleys with specific themes. These shows (now numbering 14 in total) are then taken around the country and performed to a wide variety of audiences in a wide variety of places.
Carol Anne is proud to be a member of the Grand Order of Lady Ratlings, and currently holds office. She fully supports its charity & fund-raising ethos. She works diligently to bring music to the elderly in areas where there is little or no high quality entertainment. Carol Anne is also very keen to foster the talents of young people eager to enter showbusiness.