Howard Milner began his musical education as a chorister at Coventry Cathedral. He
then won a music scholarship to Monkton Combe School, read English at Cambridge University
followed by post grad at the Guildhall School of Music.
His career has followed as diverse a path as his interests, all centred on the voice.
His first professional engagement was with Swingle II, the jazz based vocal octet,
followed by several years in Paris with the Group Vocal de France specialising in
contemporary music. On his return to London he worked with many different vocal groups,
sang in the West End and worked in the commercial session scene.
A serious motor bike accident in 1982 gave time for reflection and Howard decided
to start taking his singing more seriously.
He returned to the Guildhall School with a scholarship to the Opera course where
he subsequently won several major prizes. An invitation to join the Glyndebourne
company followed and he spent two and half years with them learning the ropes of
opera and making his way. Contracts with Scottish, Kent, ENO and Covent Garden followed
in a very busy period, after which he became a regular with Opera Factory and David
Freeman. Amongst his many recordings from this time are Monteverdi's Orfeo and Bach's
B Minor Mass with John Eliot Gardiner, the award winning album of Hildegard of Bingen
with Gothic Voices which pioneered the rebirth of interest in her work, and Benjamin
Britten's Billy Budd with the ENO, now available on DVD. His international career
took him to the Sydney Opera House, Carnegie Hall, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Paris
Chatelet, Barcelona Opera and many other major venues and festivals.
Howard's academic background and interest in languages meant that his take on things
vocal was never going to be simply accepting, conventional. As his career progressed
he began to research the voice more, thinking his own thoughts.
The next step was therefore a natural progression, into teaching, meeting fellow
voice enthusiasts, becoming fascinated by the science and then discovering that just
because you knew something about how it worked, didn't mean you could sing any better.
The labels proved not to be the product. This led to his study of learning systems,
where he found out that 'knowing about' was not the point. Rather it was about agreeing
'not to know', that at the end of the day, what you had to do was to 'let go'………but
of what, and how?
At this point things started to get very interesting, much more difficult, and much
easier, all at the same time. His interest is in a language of singing teaching for
our time, embracing both science and imagination. Singing is one of the oldest ways
mankind has of teaching feelings.
Now a respected singer and teacher of international standing, Howard teaches at
the Royal Academy of Music in London, and in private practice. Students come to work
with him from as far away as Japan, Australia, South Africa, America and throughout
He has published numerous articles and is currently working on a book on the voice.