John Powell (voice)

John Powell

John Powell is a freelance conductor, singer, teacher and adjudicator based in Manchester. A graduate of Cambridge University, he has taught at Chetham’s, Bolton School and privately, as well as being a tutor with the National Youth Choir for nearly 30 years. He has taught singing at the University of York for three years.

He currently conducts four choirs, with a busy schedule of concerts, broadcasts, recordings and tours, as well as training groups for special events (including recently Belshazzar’s Feast at the Bridgewater Hall and The Dream of Gerontius at the RNCM) and leading a wide variety of workshops. He runs the chamber choir at the CSSM summer school in Sherborne. As both teacher and conductor he encourages singers to use their voices with maximum confidence and freedom.

John has trained choirs for several distinguished conductors – including Nicholas Cleobury, Nicholas Kraemer, Paul McCreesh and most recently the veteran Richard Bonynge, with whom he has just recorded two CDs of rarely-heard Victorian operas. Later this year he will be taking his own chamber choir on a concert tour of Iceland.

For fifteen years, John was a member of the BBC Northern Singers, broadcasting regularly, performing at the Harrogate and Aldeburgh Festivals as well as the Proms and singing under a wide range of conductors including Sir George Solti, Sir Charles Groves and Richard Hickox. As well as being an ensemble singer, he is currently particularly active in solo recitals with pianist Russell Lomas. He has twice sung in the prestigious Manchester MidDay Concerts series, on each occasion giving first performances of new works. Recent recital programmes have ranged from Schumann's Dichterliebe and Liederkreis Op. 39 to Wagner, Mussorgsky, Vaughan Williams, Butterworth and Finzi.

His concert repertoire is wide-ranging, from Monteverdi to the present day, and includes several rarities like Nielsen's Third Symphony which he has sung at St. John's, Smith Square, and Michael Ball's Pageant, of which he gave the London premiere at the Royal Festival Hall. John has a strong commitment to contemporary music and has been involved (both as singer and conductor) in numerous commissions. He also greatly enjoys exploring more unusual works: recent performances include the title roles in Dyson's Nebuchadnezzar and Elgar's Caractacus.