The English bass and music teacher, Gilles Underwood, was a chorister at Westminster Abbey Choir, an Academical Clerk (Choral Scholar) at Magdalen College, Oxford, where he read Biology. He went on to study on the postgraduate and opera programmes for 3 years at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London.
Giles Underwood is a freelance singer and teacher with a background steeped in the traditions of the highest quality choral and ensemble singing. He is Director of Music at University College Oxford (Univ), where he has responsibility for running the Chapel Choir and overseeing and encouraging extra-curricular music in College. He is the founder and director of The Martlet Ensemble (Univ's newly-formed ensemble-in-residence), and chairs the panel for the Mendl-Schrama Prize in Music. He also holds the post of Vocal Studies Lecturer at at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He has recently been appointed Professor of Singing at The Royal Academy of Music in London.
Giles Underwood is a versatile singer, specialising in Baroque repertoire and contemporary music, but also at home with W.A. Mozart and Puccini. He divides his time between singing professionally with some of the country's best ensembles, including Taverner Consort (Director: Andrew Parrott), Choir of The King's Consort (Director: Robert King) and Polyphony (Director: Stephen Layton), and being a soloist with orchestras such as The Academy of Ancient Music and The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. On the stage, he has played many major roles, including Don Giovanni, Count Almaviva in W.A. Mozart's Le Nozze Di Figaro, Tarquinius in Benjamin Britten's The Rape of Lucretia and Marcello in La Bohème. On the concert platform, he has sung Haydn in the Royal Albert Hall, Wolf in the Wigmore Hall, J.S. Bach in the Amsterdam Concertgebouw and Ralph Vaughan Williams in the Sao Paolo Opera House. He has recorded widely, and his performance on OpusArte's disc of Dietrich Buxtehude's Membra Jesu Nostri (with John Mark Ainsley and Robin Blaze, conducted by Daniel Hyde with Magdalen College Choir and the viol consort, Phantasm) has received critical acclaim, as has his work with the solo voice ensemble, I Fagiolini (Director: Robert Hollingworth), with whom he sang for nine years. He appeared in the TV movies Blackadder Back & Forth (1999) and The Full Monteverdi (2007).
Giles Underwood teaches singing elsewhere in Oxford; predominantly at Magdalen, Christ Church, Merton, Queen’s and, until 2016, Exeter. He runs workshops and master-classes with choirs and individuals all over the world, most recently in Washington DC on the Chorworks Summer School and in residence at The College of New Jersey. He taught singing at Selwyn College, Cambridge from 2005 to 2014 and has been a Singing Teacher for the Eton Choral Courses since 2001. He has recently started to teach for the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain, and is Vocal Coach for The London Symphony Chorus..