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Mary Nichols-Worrall (Mezzo-soprano)

Born: Dallas, Texas, USA

The American mezzo-soprano, Mary Nichols-Worrall, is Bachelor of Arts in Music, graduated Cum Laude 1974 - Carleton College, Northfield, Minnesota, USA, and Post Graduate study, 1976 - Conservatory of Music, Vienna, Austria. In 1976 she came to England in 1977 at the invitation of Robert Spencer and studied lute and voice with him for many years. Her vocal coaches have included Noelle Barker and Ian Partridge among others.

Mary Nichols-Worrall became interested in the field of early music and worked with many of the founding groups in the field. Over the years her musical interests have spread to 18th, 19th, and 20th century music. Still a USA citizen, she gained UK citizenship in 1992.

As a soloist, Mary Nichols-Worrall has performed with most of the major conductors in the field of authentic performance, including Roger Norrington, John Eliot Gardiner, Andrew Parrott, Charles Medlam and Trevor Pinnock. Her recordings include J.S. Bachís B Minor Mass (BWV 232) and Monteverdiís Orfeo with John Eliot Gardiner for Deutsche Gramophone, George Frideric Handelís Carmelite Vespers and other Renaissance recordings with Andrew Parrott for EMI Reflex, and L.v. Beethovenís Choral Fantasia with Roger Norrington for EMI. She sang the role of the Sorceress in the widely acclaimed performance of Purcellís Dido and Aeneas at the Paris Opera (concert performance) directed by Charles Medlam. She has also worked as a soloist with Paul Hillier performing 20th Century repertoire in London (Almieda Festival), the USA, Berlin, and Estonia, premiering a piece by Estonian composer Arvo Pärt, along with works by John Cage and others.

From 1979 to 1996, Mary Nichols-Worrall was a member of the Consort of Musicke. With this prestigious ensemble, she has toured Europe extensively, the USA, Australia and Japan, singing at most of the major music festivals around the world. With the Consort, she has made many prize-winning recordings, including music from Lassus to Lawes. Over the past 20 years, she has made over sixty records and numerous radio broadcasts for WDR (German radio) and BBC Radio 3, plus a few television programmes including the Kingís Singers Madrigal Mystery Tour. Her work with the Taverner Consort has included several recordings including works of Tallis, Carver, Browne, and Shepherd. She has also featured as a consort singer on their recordings of the Florentine Intermedi of 1589 and J.S. Bachís B Minor Mass (BWV 232). Similarly Mary has performed and recorded with The Tallis Scholars (Director: Peter Phillips). In the last few years, she has worked extensively with the ensemble Musica Secreta performing music of 17th century female composers written for female singers of the period. It is an area of newly researched music that has prompted much interest in artistic and academic circles. She also continues to perform oratorios of the late 17th and 18th centuries, personal favourites being J.S. Bach and G.F. Handel.

In 1987, Mary joined the Guildhall School of Music as a specialist teacher of early music, teaching BMus and post-graduate students on both a class and individual level. Private tutoring has covered all facets of singing, technique and repertoire. She worked on several of the larger projects, conducting small choirs for Purcellís The Fairy Queen and two Bach Cantatas. She served as Professor of Voice at Guildhall until 1999. In 1999, she was also invited to give master-classes to students at the Royal Academy of Music in London. For one project she coached singers on Italian and English music of the early 17th Century followed by a concert presentation. In 1997, she was invited to speak on the subject of Renaissance and Baroque music at the International Conference of Voice Teachers held in London attended by Dame Joan Sutherland. Also in 1997, she was invited to Caracas, Venezuela to participate in an international festival of Baroque music where she taught and lectured a wide range of voice students. With Musica Secreta she has presented workshops at Queens University Belfast, Southampton University and abroad. She has coached singers both here and abroad on general and specialist repertoire and techniques and styles of singing.

Mary Nichols-Worrall's professional life, both teaching and singing, has broadened out considerably including providing the singing voice of actress Greta Scachi in a recent film. In the past few years, she has given several recitals in East Anglia at the King of Hearts, the Norwich Art Centre, and the John Innes Centre, to name a few, performing the works of Robert Schumann, Francis Poulenc, Gabriel Fauré, Sergei Rachmaninov and Samuel Barber. Courtesy of her years of work at the Guildhall and with many chamber ensembles, she has an extensive library of music for solo and small ensemble combinations. During the past couple of years, she has worked with younger students including a recent music scholarship student at Greshams. She is looking forward to working with more students closer to her home here in North Norfolk.


Source: The Artist (June 2005)
Contributed by
Mary Nichols (June 2005)

Recordings of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works




John Eliot Gardiner


BWV 232 [1st]

John Eliot Gardiner


Member of Monteverdi Choir:
BWV 232 [1st, 1985]

Hermann Max


J.L. Bach: Cantata Ja, mir hast du Arbeit gemacht, JLB-5
J.L. Bach: Cantata Die mit Tränen säen, JLB-8
J.L. Bach: Cantata Mache dich auf, werde licht, JLB-9
J.L. Bach: Cantata Er machet uns lebendig, JB-11

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