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Photo: Lyndsey Bowen

Alistair Bamford

Voice Type:





United Kingdom

Languages (fluent):


Alistair Bamford (bass baritone) studied in the UK and Canada, and with leading teachers including Esther Salaman, Paul Farrington and Glenville Hargreaves. He has performed across Europe from Aberdeen to Zagreb as a recitalist, in oratorio, and with companies including English Festival Opera, European Chamber Opera, Carl Rosa, Lontano, Opera Lab, Pegasus Opera, Grange Park, the Royal Opera and English National Opera.

Among the roles he has sung are Morales (Carmen), the Black Cat (L'Enfant et les Sortileges), Death (Savitri), Ned Keene (Peter Grimes), Pish Tush (The Mikado),, and multiple roles in the world premiere of Stockhausen's Mittwoch aus Licht.

Alistair has a commitment rooted in his own original research to English baroque song and contemporary music, ranging from a British Council tour based on the songs of Maurice Greene to the Czech Republic, to performances and broadcasts of avant garde pieces for solo voice in the UK, France, Holland and Spain. He also formed a trio presenting new works and improvisations for voice/violin, dancer and flute with electronics; and with pianist Helen Crayford is recording a programme of settings of James Joyce first given at the Purcell Room.

Favourite oratorio works as bass soloist include Bach's St John Passion, Handel's Messiah, the Brahms, Mozart and Faure Requiems, Haydn's Creation and 'Nelson' Mass, and Tippett's A Child of our Time. He has been soloist in Carl Orff's Carmina Burana, filmed for BBC2, and premiered David Lang's Writing on Water, a collaboration involving three singers, the London Sinfonietta, film maker Peter Greenaway, and live calligraphy. As a soloist his largest audience to date has been 75,000 football fans at a cup final.

Choral highlights and performances include sessions with the Dave Brubeck Quartet and LSO (in which he was also a soloist), Pink Floyd bassist Roger Waters, and Paul McCartney. Other choral highlights are concerts and a recording of Ligeti's Requiem with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Proms with the BBC Singers, performances at New York's Lincoln Center of Kaija Saariaho's Passion de Simone, and singing in the Chinese premieres of Britten's War Requiem and Peter Grimes. He has sung on many major film soundtracks, such as Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Star Wars and Pirates of the Caribbean, and as a lay clerk at Canterbury, Rochester and Ely Cathedrals.

In addition to performing Alistair has extensive experience as an improvisor and animateur, using both voice and violin. He has worked in community settings such as arts centres, schools, prisons and hospitals, for instance taking opera into London primary schools with Curious Opera Group to explore themes in La Boheme, Peter Grimes and Don Carlos. He has worked frequently with English National Ballet's outreach programme, playing electric violin for dance workshops and residencies around the UK.

Alistair was co-founder and Associate Director of Music for Life, using improvisation with people with dementia in day centres and residential care, and training care staff and other musicians in this work. Following landmark programmes with the LSO and Philharmonia, together with related research projects, reviews and awards, Music for Life was adopted by the Wigmore Hall as a major element of its outreach work. Alistair stepped down in order to focus on issues around wellbeing, creativity and identity in music, and has undertaken research in this area for Canterbury Christchurch University, where he teaches singing, and the Choir of the Year competition. He is Associate Research Fellow at the Sidney de Haan Centre for Arts & Health, has taught at Trinity College of Music Junior Department, and is on the teaching panel at Cambridge University. he is also preparing a large-scale research project on individual identity and choral singing.

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