John Powell was born in London and, since studying Music at the University of Cambridge, has lived and worked in Manchester for 45 years. He has sung at Bury Parish Church several times before, usually with pianist Russell Lomas. He is delighted to return for the first time in over four years, and to share the platform with Elin Rees (For information on Elin, please click here ).
John has had a long career as a singer, both in radio choirs and as a soloist. A member of the BBC Northern Singers (and a founder member of the Britten Singers) he has performed frequently on Radio, TV and at major festivals including Aldeburgh, Harrogate and the Proms. As a soloist with choral societies he has sung a wide repertoire, ranging from Monteverdi to Tippett and contemporary music, in venues from the RNCM to the Royal Festival Hall and numerous cathedrals.
He has taken part in contemporary opera, including two premieres, and is always keen to explore new and unusual repertoire. Recitals, especially of lieder and English song, have been a key part of his work for several decades – including two performances for The Manchester Mid-day Concerts Society – and now form the core of his singing life.
John worked for many years at Chetham’s, teaching singing and academic music as well as running the school’s choirs. He has subsequently taught for the National Youth Choir and at Bolton School and now combines work at the University of York with private teaching.
Conducting choirs is central to John’s work. He has been Musical Director of Tatton Singers since 2005. He also conducts Bolton Festival Choir and its offshoot, the Phoenix Choir, and his own chamber group, the John Powell Singers (with whom he has broadcast on BBC Radio nearly 200 times).
Last season’s choral activities ranged from music by the jazz pianist George Shearing at Ulverston International Music Festival, to madrigals and part-songs in a weekend workshop in Germany, from Handel’s great oratorio Jephtha, with Tatton Singers in May to Rossini’s Stabat Mater, in Bolton in September. Forthcoming highlights include a performance of Handel’s early masterpiece Dixit Dominus with a specialist period orchestra in Knutsford in November.