Alice Dennis BEM GTCL LTCL (PftT) FISM was born near Manchester to Guardian music critic Gerald and writer Celia and started piano lessons at four years old with the late RNCM teacher Marjorie Clementi, completing her 100% record of piano exam passes at distinction with her grade 8 at fourteen years old. She also studied singing with RNCM teacher Caroline Crawshaw (passing all her exams including grade 8 with distinction), as well as taking lessons in percussion and flute.
Alice then went on to study piano with doyenne teacher Fanny Waterman in Leeds and with concert pianist Peter Donohoe before going to Trinity College of Music in London.
There she studied with Eva Bernatova (piano) and Valerie Cardnell (singing) and gained a teaching diploma LTCL (pft) and a hons. music degree – GTCL.
Whilst she was in London she met future husband Jerry, whom she married following graduating. They then moved to Edinburgh, where they had their two children Matt and Eleanor, now a professional soprano.
In 1990 the family moved to Aberdeenshire and Alice became involved with the Haddo House Choral & Operatic Society and became Musical Director for five years for the Haddo Children’s Theatre and Junior Choir.
Simultaneously she built up a large teaching practice (piano and singing) and continued her singing studies with Raimund Herincx at the NE Scotland Music School in Aberdeen. She sang regularly with the Edinburgh Festival Chorus under the brilliant guidance of David Jones.
Alice then reformed the Haddo Junior Choir, re-named the Haddo Voices, often numbering over 100 young singers. She led them in concerts and competitions for over 20 years. All the incarnations of these young choirs won awards at local and national level, notably at Choir of the Year. In 2004 she became the Chorus Director for HHCOS, later being appointed as Musical Director after the death of HHCOS founder and musical director June Gordon – Lady Aberdeen.
For many years she trained HHCOS for their annual programme of concerts and operas and in 2006 she led the Haddo Combined Treble Voice Choir to UK-wide success in the BBC Radio 3 Choir of the Year Competition, where they were overall runners up, appearing on radio and television.
In 2012 Alice spearheaded the creation of the Haddo Arts Festival.
In 2017 Alice was appointed MD for the University Plymouth Choral Society and was very honoured and excited to work with this vibrant choir which performs in the Plymouth Minster Church of St Andrew. Alice retired from this position in May 2020.
She also started up a new teaching practice in Penzance and is now in Marazion.
As a piano and singing teacher her pupils and choirs regularly win first places in Music Festivals. She enters pupils right up to grade 8 and beyond in the ABRSM exams with an outstanding success rate and has had pupils accepted into The Royal College of Music, the Royal Northern College of Music, the Guildhall School of Music, Trinity College of Music, The Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, Leeds College of Music, The Arts Educational Schools London, Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts, and many university music departments.
As a member of the professional body the ‘Incorporated Society of Musicians’ in the specialist ‘Private Teacher’s Section’, and of The Association of Teachers of Singing. (AOTOS), she takes pupils of all ages and abilities and has unprecedented success with them whatever their requirements. She is fully DBS checked.
Alice performs on piano regularly, accompanying for concerts, auditions, festivals and music exams.
She was awarded a British Empire Medal for Services to Music in Aberdeenshire in the Queen’s 90th Birthday honours list.