Professor Mark Wildman

FRAM, FRSA

Vocal - Henry Cummings Distinguished Professor of Singing

Studied at the Royal Academy of Music; head of our prestigious Vocal Faculty since 1991

Jury member for major international singing competitions

Mark was a chorister in Gloucester Cathedral before studying at the Academy with Henry Cummings and Rex Stephens, and later with Rupert Bruce Lockhart. A national and international competition prizewinner, his career began as a member of the BBC Singers and he subsequently performed as bass soloist in the UK, Europe and USA.

A dedicated teacher many of whose current and former students have been successful in such as Cardiff Singer of the World, Kathleen Ferrier Awards, Wigmore Hall Song Award, Jette Parker Young Artists' Programme and as principals in opera houses world-wide.

In September 2013 he was appointed as a Professor of the University of London at the Royal Academy of Music.

Personal philosophy of teaching

William Byrd, the great Elizabethan composer, delivered a now well-known homily almost 400 years ago in which he wrote:

‘Since singing is so good a thing, I wish all Men would learn to sing. It doth strengthen all parts of the brest and doth open the pipes... It is the best means to procure a perfect pronunciation, and to make a good Orator. There is not any Musicke of instruments whatsoever, comparable to that which is made of the voyces of Men , where the voyces are good and the same well sorted and ordered.’

Those thoughts and words of William Byrd have encapsulated a guiding principle for me throughout my career as a singer and teacher , now spanning forty years, almost twenty-five of which as Head of the Vocal Faculty. My own vocal lineage may be traced back from Rupert Bruce Lockhart and Henry Cummings through Robert Radford, Alberto Randegger, SirCharles Santely, Manuel Garcia to Gaetano Nava, one of the great and most successful exponents of Bel Canto in the 19th century.

For any prospective professional singer and whatever one’s particular ambition, many questions arise before embarking on a course of study: Do I have a voice? What sort of voice? How do I know? How do I find out? What to do about it, and how? These become crucial questions. Crucial and key to the development of any successful singer must be the acquiring of a sure vocal and breathing technique, tonal beauty, effortless production, resonance and amplitude, clarity of pronunciation and a sense of style.

In addition to a full teaching schedule, core features of my role as Head of the Vocal Faculty are to consult with and advise prospective students; to arrange for consultations with colleagues; to plan and adapt the wide-ranging curriculum according to the needs of an ever-evolving profession; to maintain and develop relationships with the wider profession and to ensure that students receive the 'tools of the trade' to enable them to succeed at the highest levels of performance.

To witness the impressive track record of success of students and recent graduates, whether in the field of international competitions (Kathleen Ferrier Awards; Cardiff Singer of the World; Royal Over-Seas League; National Mozart competition) or with opera companies at home (Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, English National Opera, Garsington) and abroad is a matter of pride for students, alumni and professors.

My continuing aim as Head of Vocal Faculty, and that of all my colleagues, is to ensure that every singer is treated as the individual they truly are, for no two human voices are identical, and to give to each student the means to go out into the profession with the ability to sustain careers and to fulfil their ambition.
 

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