“[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 Administrator and PA to the Dean of Divinity, Edmund Racher
Having completed degrees in History and Medieval and Early Modern Studies, Edmund has filled an eclectic variety of roles in publishing, with stints in production and editorial. This included some time (literally, not figuratively) on Fleet Street. In addition to this, he brings to Magdalen the experience of the serving team and Reading Rota at the Church of Little St Mary’s, Cambridge.
As Chapel Administrator, Edmund works for the Dean of Divinity in managing the Chapel diary, ordering of ecclesiastical supplies, producing service sheets, arranging chapel bookings and secretarial duties for meetings of the Chapel and Choir Committee.
Choir Administrator and PA to the Informator Choristorum,
Following a BA (1994) and MA (1995) in History of Art from Manchester University, Joanna lived and worked in London for twenty years. Since moving to Oxfordshire in 2017 she has worked within the University, including acting as PA to 3 College Heads (St Hilda’s, Corpus Christi, Pembroke) and Bursar (Magdalen, 2021-23).
Joanna deals with Choir activities, events and recordings, the music library, and liaison with Chorister parents.