Mark Opstad   organist and choirmaster

Mark Opstad
texte français

Mark has accompanied several Lacock events in France and Italy.

Mark Opstad was born in 1978 in England. He started his musical education as a chorister at Bristol Cathedral and held a Music Scholarship at Bristol Cathedral School. Mark was Organ Scholar of Balliol College Oxford where he studied music.  He studied the organ with David Sanger and the piano with Raymond Fischer (RCM). He was a cellist in the Oxford Sinfonietta. On leaving Oxford, Mark won a Coolidge award from Balliol College for contribution to college life.

Mark spent a further year at Cambridge University where he was Assistant Organist of Clare College. He accompanied Clare College Choir for daily services, concerts and live broadcasts. At the same time Mark studied for the Postgraduate Certificate in Education. He also took singing lessons with Suzanne Flowers (Monteverdi Choir).

In September 2000 Mark moved to France. From 2000-2002 he was ‘Professeur de Chant Choral’ at the Conservatoire of Caen and Organist and assistant to the director of the Maîtrise de Caen. He trained the choristers of the maîtrise daily and accompanied the choir in weekly concerts.

For the academic year 2000-2001 Mark was awarded an Entente Cordiale scholarship by the British and French governments which enabled him simultaneously to continue studying in France.  He studied the organ with Lynne Davis and obtained the Medaille d’Or diploma from the conservatoire of Caen. He also holds the Associate Diploma of the Royal College of Organists (UK).

After returning to England for a year to teach music at Ampleforth College, Mark moved to Toulouse in 2003 to take up a position as ‘Professeur de Chant Choral’ at the Toulouse Conservatoire. He was confided with the mission to create a maîtrise for Toulouse. This choir, much influenced by the English cathedral choir tradition, is the first maîtrise in south west France. The choristers are educated in a school attached to the conservatoire and have specially adapted timetables enabling them to rehearse daily. They give regular concerts in Toulouse in the auditorium St Pierre des Cuisines and in the basilique Saint Sernin as well as further away (Germany, Spain…).  The Maîtrise also collaborates with other ensembles (Toulouse Chamber Orchestra, Toulouse Baroque Orchestra, Ensemble Antiphona…).

Mark also teaches choral conducting at the ‘Centre d’études supérieures de musique et danse de Toulouse’. Since 2005 Mark has also directed the Toulouse based choir ‘Musica Nova’, a high level amateur choir (www.musicanova-toulouse.com)

As an organist, Mark has given recitals in Germany, Italy, Sweden and Norway as well as England and France (the Madeleine, Paris…). He continues to work as an accompanist (organ and piano) and plays regularly with the Maîtrise de Caen, the choir of the music festival ‘The English Choral Experience’ as well as with solo singers. As an organist he has played several times with the ‘Orchestre du Capitole of Toulouse.

Mark sings bass in the Ensemble Antiphona and is also a composer.

www.markopstad.com