The English mezzo-soprano, Sally Bruce-Payne, was born in London, living first in the cloisters of Westminster Abbey, where her father was an organist and choir master. She graduated from Bristol University in 1992. She began her musical studies as a cellist, switching to singing at the Royal College of Music, London, and completed her formal training there, winning many prestigious prizes. She later studied with David Harper, and won the Lady Nixon Award for Study as Sir John Eliot Gardiner’s nominee.
Sally Bruce-Payne enjoys a career that has taken her all over the world, working with conductors such as Sir Neville Marriner, Sir David Willcocks, Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Kurt Masur, Philippe Herreweghe, and Nicholas McGegan.
Her operatic engagements have included include Virtue (Choice of Hercules) at the Göttingen Festival with Nicholas McGegan; Erisane (George Frideric Handel’s Poro) at the Opernhaus, Halle with Paul Goodwin; Ottavia (L’Incoronazione di Poppea) in Japan; the title role in Offenbach’s Dick Whittington at the City of London Festival and Price Edward in the rarely heard Arne “masque” Alfred at the Royal Opera House Lindbury Theatre.
Concert engagements have included J.S. Bach’s B minor Mass (BWV 232) on tour in Japan and Korea with Sir John Eliot Gardiner; Prokofiev’s Three Songs of Ophelia with Sir Neville Marriner; Rossini’s Petite Messe Solonelle with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra; Nadia Boulanger’s Du fond de l’abîme with the London Symphony Orchestra and Sir John Eliot Gardiner (recorded for Decca); Felix Mendelssohn’s Elijah with the Philharmonia Orchestra/Wolfgang Sawallisch and Edward Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius with Birmingham’s Oratory.
Her recordings as soloist include the Schubert’s Mass in A flat, the Theresien and Nelson Masses by Haydn, Lili Boulanger’s Du fond de l’abîme (all with John Eliot Gardiner), and Pierre Boulez’s Le Marteau sans maître (Cheltenham Festival, Radio 3).
Around 2000, Sally Bruce-Payne stopped her career to start a family and only came back to concert performances in 2007. Her first return concert was with The Bach Players in September 2007, and since then she has sung a few more concerts with The Bach Players, and George Frideric Handel with the Brook Street Band, Antonio Vivaldi with La Serenissima. She is looking forward [in 2008] to recording Giovanni Battista Pergolesi (arranged by J.S. Bach) with The Bach Players, and G.F. Handel Cantatas with the Brook Street Band, and to performing in a A. Vivaldi opera in Venice. She now lives with her husband and three young children in Surrey.