Jonathan Antoine's powerful tenor voice and natural command of the stage are such that it is easy to overlook his accompanist. When that accompanist is Dominic Ferris, it would be most unfortunate to underestimate his contribution to the performance. Ferris is a versatile pianist, equally adept at serious classical music and popular entertainment.
The video of Jonathan Antoine singing the Christmas carol O Holy Night, linked below, demonstrates Dominic Ferris's value as a pianist for celebrity singers. Ferris's supple playing is extremely responsive to the flow of the singer. Never intrusive or showy, Ferris is a precise player who effortlessly backs up Antoine as the singer builds intensity
The intuitive ease with which Ferris supports the singer reflects the various roles that Ferris plays as a musician. A graduate of the Royal College of music, Ferris immersed himself in West End musicals. After graduating, Ferris has worked as a musical director, a producer, and as a pianist (accompanist, solo and in duos). His work with singers as diverse as Michael Ball (on a UK #1 album), Alfie Boe, and Shirley Bassey led Pianist Magazine to call him the "Piano player to the Stars".
When Covid19 hit, Dominic Ferris stepped forward with support. With Official London Theatre and Classic FM he started a live request show on social media. Averaging two or three slots a week, the show was, in his words, "a highly interactive hour of fun where my followers have the opportunity to ask me to play any song in any genre, and with any luck, I play something back to them which vaguely resembles their request!" He was also behind the release of the We'll Meet Again charity single.
We'll Meet Again is a WW2-era song originally performed by Vera Lynn. It was a song of comfort for those separated by war. In 2020, Dominic Ferris repurposed the song as a message of hope for those separated by Covid19 isolation. In particular, the song was released as a beacon of hope for the UK theatre industry, which was forced to shut down live performances.
Speaking of the project, and Dame Vera's involvement, Ferris commented to Pianist magazine that "We were thrilled that, at age 103, Dame Vera herself agreed to record a special message of love and best wishes. The recording turned out to be her final public appearance as we heard the sad news of her passing on 18 June. The project took around a month to complete; as all the artists recorded their vocals in isolation, many hours were spent editing, cleaning and processing the audio and visual elements so that they blended nicely in the final edit'.
Dominic is a global ambassador for Steinway & Sons. This role came about through a chance meeting with Ulrich Gerhart, a master piano technician, when Ferris was engaged to play at a press announcement of the engagement of Prince William and Kate Middleton.
According to his official web page, Ferris has collaborated on recordings with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra that have resulted in 3 million sales worldwide. This includes six top ten albums recorded at Abbey Road Studios, including symphonic LPs of Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, and the Beach Boys.
Together with Elwin Hendrijanto, of Jakarta, Indonesia, Ferris performs as The Piano Brothers, an act specialising in contemporary arrangements for two pianos. They have been known to play sets that switch from Queen to Tchaikovsky to Les Miserables!
Ferris's musical theatre inclinations are expressed in Ferris and Milne (a double act with Martin Milne). Their shows include A Christmas Cracker and “Cheer Up” Charlie (in support of the Anti-Bullying Campaign). The duo is also known for their "mash-up medleys" including “33 Sondheim Numbers in 5 Minutes” and “30 Gershwin Numbers in Under 6 Minutes”.
Dominic Ferris appearance with Jonathan Antoine on Oh Holy Night is a timely reminder that is a mistake to overlook the musicians behind the performances of successful singers, no matter how charismatic those singers may be.