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2020 Choirs

Philippine Madrigal Singers - Diliman, Philippines


For more than fifty-five years, the University of the Philippines Madrigal Singers has earned accolades all over the world. It has consistently won top prizes in most of the world’s prestigious choral competitions, and is the first choir in the world to win the formidable European Grand Prix for Choral Singing twice (1997 and 2007). National Artist for Music Professor Andrea O. Veneracion, who founded the group in 1963, introduced world-class Filipino choral artistry to the world as the University of the Philippines Madrigal Singers triumphed in festivals and concerts all over the world.

The Madz, as they are fondly called, is also the country’s most active ambassadors of goodwill. They have sung for many of the world’s most influential and prominent leaders in state visits and command performances. Among them were Pope Francis, Pope Paul VI, Pope John Paul II, Pope Francis, United States Presidents Gerald Ford, Richard Nixon, and Barack Obama, French President François Hollande, King Juan Carlos I and Queen Sophia of Spain, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, Vietnam President Tôn Đức Thắng, Princess Margaret of the United Kingdom, His Royal Highness Prince Haji 'Abdul 'Azim of Brunei, Queen Fabiola of Belgium, and Emperor Hirohito of Japan. Their frequent world concert tours have made them the most travelled and far-reaching performing group in the Philippines

The group’s virtuosity across a vast repertoire range, its continuing promotion of Filipino choral works and the rousing and deeply emotional impact that each performance has on all audiences the world over, as they sing in the distinctive setup of sitting in a semi-circle without a conductor, have established their reputation as a pioneering force in choral music and an inspirational role model for other choirs. For this and their “significant contribution to the world of choral music, producing new compositions and choral settings, spreading the beauty of this genre and giving a good musical experience to the audience,” the group became the first choir to ever receive the BrandLaureate Premier Award in 2012. 

 The influence of the University of the Philippines Madrigal Singers on the world choral scene has also been far-reaching. Alumni of the Madz have been encouraged to set-up and organize their own choirs. This network of choirs led by members and alumni of the Madz, called the Madz Et Al, stages what is today the country’s biggest choral festival, bringing together almost a hundred choirs in a week-long series of performances - the first of many steps in pursuit of Andrea O. Veneracion’s vision of a ‘Singing Philippines’.

In parallel to its commitment to excellence in choral performance, the Madz has pursued a mission of nurturing the passion and love for choral singing. It has also built a reputation for being the ‘school’ for choral singing in the Philippines and the incubator of all things choral.  Since the early 1970s, Professor Veneracion and her singers embarked on numerous outreach programs to the provinces with the support of the Cultural Center of the Philippines and the National Commission for the Arts. Many choir conductors, singers and choirs who have no opportunity or means to come to Manila have benefited from those local workshops and training programs. The Madz has also established the first MADZ MUSIC STUDIO in Eastwood City, Quezon City, Philippines, to cater to individual music lessons and choral sessions. 

The work of the University of the Philippines Madrigal Singers over the past fifty-five years has allowed them to be amongst various audiences, from the most prestigious performance halls of the world to simple town halls and school gymnasiums, from world leaders to small crowds in far-flung barangays who seldom hear choral music. Today, Professor Veneracion’s designated successor Mark Anthony Carpio continues with the mission not just of leading the country’s premier choir, but also to carry on the ongoing mission of developing choirs, conductors and singers all over the Philippines. 

Every day, the Madz demonstrate that choral music can be socially relevant and transformational. In touching the hearts and souls of those who come to their performances, as well as in nurturing and developing future generations of conductors and choral singers, the University of the Philippines Madrigal Singers have endeavored to become worthy of being designated UNESCO Artists for Peace.


Mark Anthony Carpio

Mark Anthony Carpio is recognized as one of the most respected choral experts today. As the second choirmaster of the acclaimed Philippine Madrigal Singers, selected in 2001 to succeed its founder, National Artist of the Philippines, Andrea O. Veneracion, Mark took the already much-awarded choir to even greater heights. He led them to win first prizes in the Certámen Internacional de Habaneras y Polifonia (Torrevieja, Spain, 2004) and the Grand Prix in the 35th Florilege Vocal de Tours, France (2006), the 19th European Grand Prix for Choral Singing (Arrezo, Italy, 2007), and in the 64th Concorso Polifonico Guido d’Arezzo (Arezzo, Italy, 2016).

As a noted countertenor, he has performed twice at the Las Piñas Bamboo International Organ Music Festival as an alto soloist, performing Handel’s Jubilate and Te Deum in 2005 and Haydn’s Great Organ Mass in E flat Major in 2009.  In November 2008, he made his recital debut at the Cultural Center of the Philippines for the CCP Filipino Artist Series. 

Mark is a much sought-after choral clinician and coach, frequently giving extensive and in-depth workshops all over the Philippines and around the world. He is also frequently invited as adjudicator in choral competitions and as guest conductor.

He is a faculty member of the Conducting and Choral Ensemble Department of the University of the Philippines College of Music where he earned his master’s degree in Choral Conducting and his bachelor’s degree in Piano.   Nurturing young singers is a personal passion for Mark. He also directs the Consortium of Voices, a choral society of young choristers, consisting of the Kilyawan Boys Choir, Kilyawan Male Choir, and the Voces Auroræ Girls Choir.

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