Stapleford Granary

Course description

The course is intended for a maximum of ten singers who wish to improve their technique and musicality by participating in a week of master classes with a distinguished international singer and teacher, together with eminent colleagues.

Singers are invited to bring the music they most enjoy singing to work on at the Granary and at the conclusion of the week a public performance of some of the memorised repertoire will be given by participants.

The course begins on Monday 24th August to Saturday 29th August inclusive. The master classes in vocal and stage techniques will run from 10 am each day with a mid-morning coffee break and lunch.  Thursday will be a free day to allow time for a guided visit of Cambridge, and there will be two other lectures (The Gilded Stage and Verdi & Victoria) from Daniel Snowman to support the musical content of the course.

Cost to participants: £700 

Includes: tuition and lunch for 5 days in addition to mid-morning coffee each day.

Payable in full before end May 2015.

A deposit of £300 paid before May 2015 will secure your place on the course. Cheques should be made payable to Ms A Pearce. (Bank details available on request.)

Cost for Observers: £10 per day                

Includes: observing vocal master-class only



Application forms and further information can be obtained from.-

Alison Pearce                        PO Box 223, London WC2H 9BY

e mail:

Artist/speaker: Alison Pearce

Further info

Alison Pearce has a distinguished international career as a soprano soloist in opera, oratorio and recital.  She appears with the world's leading conductors and orchestras at major venues and festivals as well as broadcasting for radio and television in many countries.  She was a vocal professor at the Royal Academy of Music (1996-2010) and is presently the artistic director of a European Summer School for Singers in Tuscany and Burgundy.  She has also given master-classes and lectures for Birkbeck College in their series in association with the Royal Opera House, and in addition, for the Research Department of the Royal Academy of Music in England, with regular invitations to visit other conservatoires around the world.

Alison Pearce possesses a vast and varied portfolio of work in opera, oratorio, recital and chamber music repertoire. She is in constant demand both in the UK and throughout Europe, the Middle East, the Far East and the USA, and as a solo recitalist with piano as well as with harp and also with chamber ensemble.

Festival engagements include regular U.K. performances in Brighton, Cheltenham, Kingston, Worcester and Hereford Three Choirs, Llandaff, St David’s, Swansea, Hexham Abbey as well as in Flanders, The Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Norway, France, Israel and Poland. Alison has also highlighted the pleasure of touring Spain with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra for performances of Mahler’s Eighth Symphony, singing Handel’s Messiah throughout France, Britten’s War Requiem, Bach Passions and the B Minor Mass in Germany and the Netherlands as well as Verdi Requiem at the Concertgebouw.

Recent celebrity recitals have taken her to Greece, the Netherlands, Norway, Italy, Germany, the USA and London in repertoire ranging from Handel through Schubert, R. Strauss, Chausson, Messiaen, Satie, Britten, Sondheim and Weill.

She has given first performances of chamber works written especially for her by Rhian Samuel, Paul Patterson, Roger Beeson and Sarah Rodgers and appeared as a guest artist with the Alberni String Quartet, Solaris Quartet, Brodsky Quartet, London Sinfonietta, London Mozart Players, English Chamber Orchestra and Amadeus Chamber Orchestra in works ranging from Finzi ‘Dies Natalis’ and Britten ‘Les Illuminations’ through Bach Matthäus Passion, Mozart ‘Exultate Jubilate’ to Wagner ‘Wesendonck Lieder’.

Alison also collaborates regularly with the eminent art historian Robin Simon in celebrations of 18th century visual art and song with the Hogarth Society’s birthday celebration in Covent Garden, Music and the Monarchy at Villa Decius in Cracow, The Life and Work of Thomas Jones for Swansea Festival, and Handel, Hogarth and the London Musical World for the Royal Academy and The People’s Festival as well as the Paul Mellon lectures at the National Gallery being some of the most recent.

Her major operatic prima donna roles include those in Tosca, Nabucco, I Lombardi, Fidelio, Aïda, Ariadne auf Naxos, as well as Faust. She has worked for the English National Opera, at the Royal Opera Covent Garden and, for the Dublin International City of Culture celebrations she sang the title role in a production of Manon Lescaut by Puccini, which she repeated in Israel with the role of Amelia in Verdi's Un Ballo in Maschera. Her career in Italy culminated in a revival of Monteverdi's Opera Orpheo e Eurydice in which she sang Eurydice, while in the Netherlands she was particularly commended for her performance of Leila in Les Pêcheurs de Perles.

Her appearances in Opera Galas in Hong Kong, the Philippines, the Middle East, Greece, Belgium and the UK reveal her versatility in arias from Mozart to Wagner as well as in a Last Night of the Proms with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and in Krakow with the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra.

In addition she has starred in ‘Side by Side by Sondheim’ and her own ‘Diva Cabaret’ which has been enjoyed in London’s West End and many areas of England and Europe.


Marc Murray moved to the United Kingdom in May 2010 to take up the post of Director of Music at St Botolph’s Church (The Stump) in Lincolnshire and in January 2011 was appointed Director of Music of Peterborough Opera. Since his arrival in the UK he has played several solo recitals as well as accompanying Lesley Garrett and Cantemus Choir at Boston Stump, South Holland Singers, Sleaford Choral Society, Music for A While, Boston Operatic Society, and conducted one of the two Big Sing Events in Peterborough.

He has also worked with the Peterborough Symphony Orchestra and violinist Michael Bochman.

Marc was born and educated in Cape Town, studying piano and organ at the University of Cape Town’s College of Music and was a winner of the Leslie Arnold Award and the Metropolitan Methodist Church Organ Prize. He holds several teaching and performing qualifications from the University of South Africa, Trinity College of Music, London and the Royal College of Organists.

Between 1990 and 2010 he was Organist and Director of Music at St Saviour’s Church, Claremont. In 2001 he formed The Magnificats Chamber Choir which performed to great acclaim throughout the city and surrounding areas. He also acted as assistant choir trainer for the Philharmonia Choir of Cape Town and accompanied the choir for a couple of their concerts to the UK in 2001.

He has recorded extensively as an accompanist for soloists and choirs for the South African Broadcasting Corporation.

He served on the Music Committee of the Department of Education’s (DOE) School Enrichment programme and was vocal coach and accompanist to the DOE’s National Youth Choir which won several awards at the International Choir Olympics. In 2001 the DOE’s Choir Eisteddfod was founded and Marc worked as accompanist, adjudicator, and choir trainer and vocal coach to thousands of school children throughout the country. It was through this programme that many learners from disadvantaged communities were exposed to opera. Marc is particularly delighted that many of these learners now grace opera and concert platforms throughout the world. He also trained teachers in the art of conducting and adjudicating. Marc was accompanist and coach to the Matthew Singers in Port Elizabeth and the choirs of the Amy Biehl Foundation in Cape Town.

For some time, Marc worked as both Acting and Assistant Chorus Master to Cape Town Opera, where he prepared the chorus for several productions, including Andre Chenier, La Traviata (Verdi), Nabucco (Verdi), Il Trovatore (Verdi); Cosi fan Tutte (Mozart); Mascagni (Cavalleria Rusticana); Carmen (Bizet), Porgy and Bess (Gershwin) and Showboat (Kern) etc. and has toured as accompanist and conductor for CTO’s early visits to Sweden.

He worked extensively in the training of choirs and conductors from previously disadvantaged communities and adjudicated at most of the choir competitions held in South Africa.

As an organist, he has given recitals and played in concerts throughout South Africa, as well as the USA, Germany, Sweden, and the UK including solo recitals in Westminster Abbey and St Paul’s Cathedral London.

Marc has begun coaching and accompanying many singers since his arrival in the UK and has most recently prepared the chorus for a concert of music by Patrick Hawes, with the composer conducting and soloists Elan Manaham Thomas and the Raven String Quartet.