“[The Choir] sings with an intensity suitable to the intimately sensuous nature of the work.” (The Observer 5*)
Mark Williams has been Informator Choristarum, Organist and Tutorial Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford since January 2017. Magdalen College is the only institution to retain the ancient title of Informator Choristarum for its Director of Music, and holders of the post since the College’s foundation in 1458 include the composers John Sheppard, Daniel Purcell and Bernard Rose, and organists Sir John Stainer and Sir William McKie. Under his leadership, the Choir introduced the first female Academical Clerks in its history and, for five years, Mark oversaw a project to replace the Chapel’s organ with a new four-manual instrument by Hermann Eule Orgelbau of Bautzen, Germany, which was unveiled to wide acclaim in January 2023. Mark studied at Trinity College, Cambridge, and was for six years Assistant Organist of St Paul’s Cathedral and Director of Music at St Paul’s Cathedral School. Between 2009 and 2016, he held the post of Director of Music, College Lecturer and Fellow at Jesus College, Cambridge.
Mark has appeared as organist, harpsichordist and conductor internationally and on disc with many of the UK’s leading ensembles, including the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the English Chamber Orchestra, the City of London Sinfonia, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Cambridge Singers, the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, The King’s Consort, The Sixteen, Arcangelo, Retrospect Ensemble, and the Gabrieli Consort and Players. As a conductor he has worked with the Britten Sinfonia, London Mozart Players, Saraband Consort and the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, and he is the Principal Guest Conductor of the City of London Choir. Mark has given solo recitals, judged competitions and led masterclasses in choral training, singing and organ performance in the UK, the USA, Asia and Africa. He appears on over 40 discs and a number of soundtracks. A Fellow of the Royal College of Organists, he is a Freeman of the City of London, and a trustee of a number of charities focused on music education around the world. He is also the Artistic Director of the William Byrd Festival which takes place annual in Portland, Oregon, USA. He has appeared as a broadcaster on the BBC and visiting speaker and lecturer in the UK and Europe. He has worked with pop groups, crossover artists and appeared as conductor and organist on major Hollywood film scores, and he has acted as musical consultant for various television programmes, including the ITV crime drama, Endeavour.
Assistant Organist, Alexander Pott
Alexander Pott has held the position of Assistant Organist and Tutor to the Choristers at Magdalen College, Oxford since 2017. As well as playing the organ for services, broadcasts and tours with the choir of Magdalen College, he has a busy schedule teaching choristers, undergraduates and organ pupils. His interest in the organ started as a chorister at Westminster Abbey, and continued at Merchant Taylors’ School, Northwood where he was taught by Richard Hobson. After a gap year at Chelmsford Cathedral he secured the organ scholarship at Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, and read for a degree in Music at Oxford University. During his second year he also gained a Fellowship of the Royal College of Organists. Upon graduating he moved back to London to take up the organ scholarship at Westminster Cathedral from 2015-17. His teachers have included Margaret Phillips and Thomas Trotter (repertoire), and David Maw (improvisation). He regularly gives organ recitals, including recently at Keble College, Oxford, St Paul’s Cathedral, London, and the 2021 St Albans International Organ Festival. He recently finished a three-year project to learn all of J S Bach’s organ works and have lessons with some of Europe’s best Bach experts, thanks to the generous funding of the W T Best Scholarship from the Worshipful Company of Musicians.
In 2018 he was also the recipient of the Flentrop Scholarship from the Eric Thompson Trust. He has just graduated with distinction with a Masters in musicology at the University of Oxford, where he has been focusing on the works of Frederick Delius. On the side of his research, he conducts and directs the Delius Singers, an Oxford-based ensemble specializing in nineteenth and twentieth-century choral music.
Chapel and Choir PA,
Melanie's background lies in music administration, event management, fundraising and primary school teaching. As an arts administrator, she has worked for the Royal Opera House, St John’s Smith Square, the South Bank Centre and Sadler’s Wells Theatre, and, as an events fundraiser, for a number of leading UK charities. As Chapel and Choir PA, Melanie works for the Dean of Divinity in managing the Chapel diary and other Chapel-related matters, and for the Informator Choristarum with Choir activities, events and recordings, the music library, and liaison with Chorister parents. She is also the Choir's designated officer for safeguarding children.
Chapel and Choir Administrative Assistant, Will Prior
Will is a recent graduate of Magdalen College, having read music as one of our Academical Clerks from 2018-2021. In the year immediately after graduating, he enjoyed working as the Waynflete academic in the Music department at Magdalen College School whilst beginning to establish himself as a freelance singer. Will is now singing as a Lay Clerk at Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford whilst also working part time for us here at Magdalen, and singing as a freelance countertenor. He helps with administrative duties in a variety of areas, from streamlining and digitising our archives to making the weekly services sheets for Chapel.