Marcus Farnsworth appointed as Head of Vocal and Choral Department – young singers now welcome from age 13

Chetham’s is delighted to announce a new era for its Vocal and Choral programme!

Young singers will now be able to join the School from Year 9, where previously they were asked to wait until Sixth Form; whilst both first study singers, and the School’s many choirs, will be part of a new department led by baritone Marcus Farnsworth.

Marcus himself attended Chetham’s after beginning his musical journey as a chorister at Southwell Minster in Nottinghamshire. Subsequent studies took him to the University of Manchester and the Royal Academy of Music, and his award-winning professional career has included recitals, recordings and operatic performances across the world. He was awarded first prize in the 2009 Wigmore Hall International Song Competition and the Song Prize at the 2011 Kathleen Ferrier competition. He marries his performance career with an ongoing commitment to educational and community singing; he is Director of the Southwell Festival Voices, President of St George’s Singers in Manchester, and Founder and Artistic Director of both the Southwell Music Festival and Manchester Vocal Festival, held at Chetham’s for the first time in 2018.

Marcus will be part of Chetham’s outstanding music department led by Tom Redmond, who also joins the School in September as Director of Music. Principal Alun Jones said, “I am delighted that Marcus is joining us at such an exciting time in the School’s development. As we celebrate Chetham’s 50th Anniversary as a specialist music school, we look forward to the future and to influencing the musical landscape of the nation for many more years as an international centre of instrumental, vocal and choral excellence.”

Chetham's Chorus

Chetham’s Chorus

Marcus’ role will encompass both leadership of the School’s excellent choirs, and development of the programme for first study singers, alongside a superb team of vocal teachers. Every student at Chetham’s sings regularly as part of an ensemble, whilst the flagship Chamber Choir and Chorus has performed alongside artists including Paul McCreesh, John Rutter and the Hallé. Previously, students were only admitted as singers into the Sixth Form; the expanded department will welcome young performers from Year 9 upwards, providing a natural development route for maturing choristers and allowing more time for young singers to build their skills in the unique musical environment of a specialist education.

Like all instrumental students at Chetham’s, singers from Year 9 will be eligible for funding up to full fees for all music and academic teaching through the Department for Education’s Music and Dance scheme. Interested students can find out more at Chetham’s Open Evenings for the Middle School and Sixth Form, which take place in June.

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