THE Philippine Madrigal Singers, one of the world's best choral groups, is coming to town for a two-night performance in July that's not to be missed. This is a rare opportunity to catch these high calibre vocalists who have enthralled and dazzled audiences the world over.
One of the major cultural groups based in the University of the Philippines, the Madz, as they are known, carries the distinction of being the first choir in the world to win the European Grand Prix for Choral Singing twice, in 1997 and in 2007. The competition is regarded as the "Olympics" for choirs.
Formed in 1963, and currently under the leadership of conductor and musical director Mark Anthony Carpio, the Madz is mostly composed of students, faculty and alumni from the university. The group performs a variety of styles and forms but specialises in the madrigal, a polyphonic and challenging musical style popular during the Renaissance period where singers and guests would gather around the table during a banquet to sight-sing and make music together. This served as the inspiration for their unique style of singing, which is singing seated in a semicircle without a conductor.
A standard Madz performance exhibits the seamless fusion of their musical virtuosity, technical proficiency and soulful singing. Their highly eclectic repertoire spans the breadth and length of vocal music: from Renaissance madrigals to the avant-garde, from Filipino and international folk songs to the latest pop hits, even from the most cerebral choral masterpieces to the most humorous of novelty numbers. This world-class choir can honestly sing anything with authenticity and professionalism while keeping their audience thoroughly entertained.
The Madz has produced more than 200 choral and vocal pedagogues from its ranks, actively and constantly shaping the local and international choral landscape. Madz alumni are much sought-after as singers, conductors, arrangers and music educators. Its corps of composers and musical arrangers continue to produce new compositions and choral settings of Philippine music, thus contributing to the global growth of choral literature.
The concert here is a non-profit venture, and any net proceeds from the show will be channelled towards relief and education extension work amongst the slum community by the Philippine Community Fund in Manila.
The Philippine Madrigal Singers are performing on July 5 and 6 at 8.30pm at Trinity Methodist Church, 6 Jalan 5/37, Petaling Jaya. Tickets cost RM68, RM88 and RM108. Log on to or call (03) 7957 6088.
This story appeared in The Edge Financial Daily on June 25, 2012.