Formed primarily as a recording and backing ensemble of male voices some 30 years ago under the direction of Alan Simmons, The Mastersingers has evolved into its present format of four female and eight male voices, the unique voicing – SATTBB.
Over the years the group has provided the backing for such artists as Ken Dodd, Cleo Laine, Roger Whittaker and Howard Keele, appearing regularly on Radio 2 and the Daily Service, performed in concerts across the country and into Europe, and recorded CDs at some very high profile venues, ranging from Parr Street Studios (then owned by Genesis) to the legendary Abbey Road Studios.
Amongst the relationships the ensemble has had with composers over the years, was a special one with the Master of the Queen’s Music Sir Malcolm Williamson. His piece “Love’s Redeeming Work Is Done” was commissioned for The Mastersingers to perform at the 1995 Dewsbury Festival of Christian Music. They made a memorable recording of this and other Williamson works the following year in St Catharine’s College, Cambridge. They also sang it on BBC’s Songs of Praise, hosted by Sir Harry Secombe.
The Mastersingers are lucky enough to count amongst their personnel a number of talented composers and arrangers who keep a steady flow of new works going into the ensemble’s programme. James Morgan, Rob Wilding, Alan Simmons and Alan Woods, all write to showcase the versatility of the singers and their supporting band of piano, bass and percussion.
The group’s repertoire ranges from medieval French carols through to clever arrangements of current pop songs and they are never frightened to explore new work – which lately has included some of the beautiful music of Eric Whitacre, and, most recently, music from Australia courtesy of the wonderful Ruth McCall. Our audiences are always delighted with the ‘surprises’ on offer!
The distinctive sound of The Mastersingers stems from its unique lineup and to celebrate 21 years since the ladies joined the men they performed a milestone concert at St Paul’s Hall at the University of Huddersfield on 15 March 2014 (more information).
|????||Singing to an audience of 6,000 in Brangwen Hall, Swansea|
|1994||Recording at Abbey Road Studios in the famous Studio Two||“Softly”|
|1996||Abbey Road Studios||“Beautiful Music, Dangerous Rhythm”|
|1998||Abbey Road Studios||“Rhapsody”|
|1998||St Catharine’s College, Cambridge
Recording the music of Sir Malcolm Williamson, Master of the Queen’s Musick
|“Love’s Redeeming Work is Done”|
|2002||Recording at Parr Street Studios, Liverpool||“Here to Stay”|
|2003||BBC Proms Live in Albert Square, Manchester|
|2005||BBC Proms Live in Heaton Park, Manchester singing to an audience of over 10,000 !|
|2014||21st Anniversary Concert in St Paul’s Hall, Huddersfield University|
Concert tours in France
|1997||Laval, Pays de Loire|
|2011||La Feuillie, Bremontier and Lyons-la-Forêt, Normandy|