southwell music festival

Founder and Artistic Director

Marcus Farnsworth was awarded first prize in the 2009 Wigmore Hall International Song Competition, and the Song Prize at the 2011 Kathleen Ferrier Competition. He completed his studies at the Royal Academy of Music in 2011, and is now forging a successful career in opera, concert and recital.

Marcus began his musical training as a chorister at Southwell Minster, Nottinghamshire where he attended the Minster Comprehensive School. He went on to Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester to study the Trumpet and Jazz Piano, but it was here that he began formal vocal training with Martin Bussey. Marcus read music at the University of Manchester, graduating with a first class honours degree in 2005. At university, singing became his first study, though during this time Marcus also spent a lot of time conducting. He ran the University Chamber Choir Ad Solem for two years, and then after graduation he was appointed as conductor of Manchester University Chorus, a post he held from 2005 to 2009. During this time he continued his vocal studies with David Lowe, and began freelancing in oratorio, opera and recital work, and was also a lay-clerk at Manchester Cathedral and a member of the BBC Daily Service Singers.

In 2007 Marcus began his postgraduate studies at the Royal Academy of Music, studying with Glenville Hargreaves and Audrey Hyland. Whilst at the Academy, Marcus relinquished his conducting commitments in order to focus entirely on his vocal training. He graduated from the RAM in July 2011 and was awarded a DipRAM, the Academy’s highest performance award. He now studies with Gary Coward in London.

Forthcoming recitals include debuts at the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam and La Monnaie, Brussels with Mark Padmore and Julius Drake; concerts for the Australian Chamber Music Festival; a UK tour of Schubert Winterreise with James Baillieu; Salute to Venice with Graham Johnson for Leeds Lieder; a recital for Opéra de Lille with Simon Lepper and an appearance at the Wigmore Hall with the Myrthen Ensemble and Joseph Middleton. Recent highlights have included appearances at the Wigmore Hall Britten Festival with Malcolm Martineau and Julius Drake; a recital for the Lammermuir Festival and BBC Radio Three; appearances at the Oxford Lieder Festival, with the Carducci Quartet and further recitals with Simon Lepper, Iain Burnside, and Graham Johnson and James Baillieu.

Operatic roles include English Clerk/Death in Venice (ENO), The Novice’s Friend/Billy Budd (ENO), Eddy/Turnage’s Greek (Music Theatre Wales), Owen/Owen Wingrave (Nuremberg International Chamber Music Festival), Sid/Albert Herring (RAO), Oreste/Cavalli’s Giasone (RAO), Dandini/La Cenerentola (Clonter Opera), Guglielmo/Cosi fan tutte (RAO), Meredith/Maxwell Davies’ Kommilitonen! (RAO, world premiere), and in concert Killian/Der Freischütz for the LSO with Sir Colin Davis, and Aeneas/Dido and Aeneas for the Early Opera Company with Christian Curnyn at Wigmore Hall. Opera plans this season and beyond include English Clerk/Death in Venice (ENO) and a revival of Eddy/Greek (MTW).

Opera plans this season and beyond include further performances of Eddy in Greek for Music Theatre Wales, including at the ROH Linbury Studio; Guglielmo in a new Katie Mitchell production of Cosi fan tutte for English National Opera; in concert, Sid in Albert Herring with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and appearances at Theatre Champs Élysée, Paris, Opéra Lille and Opéra de Lausanne.

Marcus has also recently sung Son, in the world première of David Sawer Flesh and Blood with the BBCSO; Thomas Larcher Die Nacht der Verlorenen on a European tour and recording; Dvorak Te Deum with the RLPO; Monteverdi Vespers in a European tour with Emmanuelle Haïm; Haydn Paukenmesse with the BBC SSO and Bernard Labardie; Nielsen Symphony No 3 with the LSO and Davis; Bach Ich habe Genug and St John Passion (arias) with the Academy of Ancient Music; Eight Songs for a Mad King with the Wermlands Opera Orchestra, Karlstad, and Bach St John and St Matthew Passions (Christus and bass arias) with the Gabrieli Consort.

In 2015 Marcus became an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music in recognition of his significant contribution to the music profession.

Artist Website