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Michael McCarthy (Bass, Choral Conductor)

Born: England

The English bass, choral conductor and composer, Michael McCarthy, graduated from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. Highly regarded as one the leading choral conductors of today, he has worked with numerous professional choirs including The Sixteen, the Gabrieli Consort, The Cardinall's Musick and the Monteverdi Choir under the direction of Sir John Eliot Gardiner (including participation in their Bach Cantata Pilgrimage in 2000). In January 2002 he became the choir manager for the Monteverdi Choir, and served as Sir John Eliot Gardiner’s assistant with the choir until his move to the USA in 2003.

Michael McCarthy served as Choirmaster of St Georges RC Church Choir in Sudbury, Middlesex. He was the founder and director of the London [England] Oratory School Schola. Founded in 1996, the Schola quickly became one of London’s premier boys’ concert choirs, performing regularly on the London concert platform and in the studio for both the recording and film industries. He directed the Schola in recordings for films including Sleepy Hollow, The Lord of the Rings cycle, and Harry Potter series. His experience directing young choristers includes duties as lay clerk at Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, and Saint Alban’s Abbey in Hertfordshire. He also served as master of music at Saint Benedict’s Abbey, Ealing, prior to beginning the London Oratory School.

In the summer of 2003 Michael McCarthy was appointed Director of Music at Washington National Cathedral in Washington, DC. As director of music he oversees the Cathedral’s expanding music program, as well as serves as principal choirmaster. He is Conductor of the Cathedral Choirs of Men, Boys, and Girls. Of McCarthy’s performance of J.S. Bach’s St. John Passion (BWV 245), the Washington Post claimed it a “stunning spectacle” where McCarthy “never let his musicians lose for a whit of Bach’s signature rhythmic pulse” adding that he “captured the story’s terrifying realism and immediacy.” It is for his bold and vivid interpretations that Maestro McCarthy is known. As a musician of breadth, he applies the experience of a world class performer with a unique vision for how music is to be presented. Since 2010, he is also Artistic Director of the vocal & instrumental ensemble Cathedra, resident at Washington National Cathedra

As a composer/arranger, Michael McCarthy's music was featured at the funeral of Ronald Reagan, the service for the second inauguration of George W. Bush, and the funeral of Gerald R. Ford, all events held at Washington National Cathedral. The Cathedral choirs have also recorded some of his music, such as O Love of God and Lord of the Dance on the CD entitled, "America the Beautiful" (2005).

Source: Wikipedia Website (August 2013); Wahington Naational Cathedral Website; Cathedra Website
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (December 2014)

Recordings of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works




Harry Christophers


Member of The Sixteen:
BWV 232, BWV 248

John Eliot Gardiner


Member of Monteverdi Choir:
C-10 (1998);
BWV 63, BWV 64, BWV 121
BCP Vol. 1: CD-1:
BWV 167, BWV 7, BWV 30
BCP Vol. 5: CD-2:
BWV 46, BWV 101, BWV 102
BCP Vol. 7: CD-2:
BWV 50, BWV 130, BWV 19, BWV 149
BCP Vol. 8: CD-1:
BWV 138, BWV 99, BWV 100; CD-2: BWV 161, BWV 27, BWV 8, BWV 95
BCP Vol. 9: CD-2:
BWV 96, BWV 169, BWV 116
BCP Vol. 14:
BWV 91, BWV 121, BWV 40, BWV 110
BCP Vol. 15:
BWV 64, BWV 151, BWV 57, BWV 133
BCP Vol. 16:
BWV 225, BWV 122, BWV 28, BWV 190
BCP Vol. 17: CD-1:
BWV 143, BWV 41, BWV 16, BWV 171; CD-2: BWV 153, BWV 58
BCP Vol. 18: CD-1:
BWV 63, BWV 191, BWV 65, BWV 123
BCP Vol. 20: CD-2:
BWV 18, BWV 181, BWV 126
BCP Vol. 21: CD-1:
BWV 22, BWV 23, BWV 127, BWV 159
BCP Vol. 26: CD-1:
BWV 172, BWV 59, BWV 74, BWV 34; CD-2: BWV 173, BWV 68, BWV 174
BCP Vol. 27: CD-1:
BWV 184, BWV 175; CD-2: BWV 194, BWV 176, BWV 165, BWV 129
BCP Trinity I:
BWV 94, BWV 105, BWV 168

Links to other Sites

Washington National Cathedral: Cathedral Staff: Canonon Michael McCarthy
Cathedra: Artistic Director

Michael McCarthy - choirmaster (Wikipedia)

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Last update: Monday, May 29, 2017 10:55