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Gerald English (born 6 November 1925) is an Englishmarker-born Australian-resident tenor. He has performed operatic and concert repertoire, is a recording artist, and has been an academic.

He has given many premiere performances of works by composers such as Igor Stravinsky, Hans Werner Henze, Benjamin Britten, Michael Tippett and Andrew Ford, often under their own direction. He has also sung under the batons of Ernest Ansermet, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Sir John Barbirolli and Sir Thomas Beecham. He has sung opera for the Glyndebourne Festivalmarker, the Royal Opera at Covent Gardenmarker, La Scalamarker and in Sydney, Adelaide, Manchester, Edinburgh, Florence, Rome, Paris, Buenos Aires, Vienna, Barcelona, and Sadler's Wells. He has also performed in concert in America, Brussels, Rome, Cologne, Stockholm, Lisbon, Amsterdam, and Rio de Janeiro.

Gerald English was born in 1925. His father, a chemist, wanted him to be a mathematician. His family moved to France when he was two years old, and he lived in northern France for 14 years. In World War II he spent four years in military intelligence, where he spent much of his time listening to secret German communications from a base on the bleak Yorkshire moors. One of his colleagues during that time was the composer Peter Wishart. He became a student at the Royal College of Musicmarker. At age 25, he became a member of the St. Paul's Cathedral Choir and, shortly thereafter, the Deller Consort, where his continental upbringing proved of value in singing idiomatic French. During this time, he also began to build a reputation as a recitalist, gaining particular authority as an interpreter of the songs of Gabriel Fauré.

He sang many opera performances in a wide-ranging repertory that covered several centuries. He was as comfortable and authentic in Monteverdi as he was in the music of his own time. He has had many years of experience in music of the Elizabethan period. English's debut in opera took place with the English Opera Group in 1956 when he sang the evil Peter Quint in Benjamin Britten’s The Turn of the Screw under the composer’s direction. He also sang the role in Milan.

English received good notices for his interpretations in works by contemporary composers such as Tippett, Richard Rodney Bennett (who had requested him for the title role in The Ledge), Stravinsky, Luigi Dallapiccola, and Henze. He appeared at the Glyndebourne Festival 1962-1964, where he sang in Monteverdi’s L'incoronazione di Poppea), and in 1963 at the Grand Opéra Paris (as Andres in Alban Berg's Wozzeck).

From 1960 to 1977, English was professor of music at the RCM, and tutor in singing at New College, Oxford. During 1968-1969 he was with others in Rio de Janeiro, Toronto, Brussels, Stockholm, Rome, Cologne, Amsterdam and Lisbon in a successful concert program, which included works from both the Baroque era, in particular of Johann Sebastian Bach, and from the modern era.

In 1973, he was artist-in-residence for universities in Western Australia and New South Wales.

In 1977, he became Founding Director of the Opera Studio of the Victorian College of the Artsmarker in Melbournemarker. He also supervised postgraduate vocal studies in baroque music and movement.

Gerald sang Leoš Janáček’s song cycle The Diary of One Who Disappeared as part of the 1992 Melbourne International Festival, and in the same year premiered Andrew Ford’s Harbour with the Australian Chamber Orchestra. Other highlights include the role of the story teller in Peter Tahourdin’s Heloise and Abelard for the West Australian Opera, Maurice Ravel’s Chansons madécasses with the Australia Ensemble, performances of Peggy Glanville-HicksLetters from Morocco with the Hunter Orchestra and the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, and the soloist in scenes and interludes from György Ligeti’s Le Grand Macabre with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.

In 1989 English was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Music from the University of Sydney.

In 1993 he was awarded one of the prestigious Australian Creative Artists’ Fellowships. In 1995, he persuaded 13 Australian composers to each write a piece, to be showcased at the Gerald English Birthday Concert in honour of his 70th birthday. The composers who contributed included George Tibbits, Peter Sculthorpe and Ross Edwards.

Premiere performances include Benjamin Britten’s Nocturne with Sir John Barbirolli conducting the Hallé Orchestra, Henze’s We Come to the River directed by the composer at Covent Garden, Dallapicolla’s Ulisse conducted by the composer in Rome, and Luciano Berio’s Opera for the Florence Festival. He has also premiered 12 pieces by the Australian composer (and broadcaster), Andrew Ford. The one-man music-theatre piece Night and Dreams: the death of Sigmund Freud was commissioned by the 2000 Adelaide Festivalmarker.

Gerald English has made many recordings, including the complete works of Monteverdi. He has recorded cantatas by Telemann, Handel and Bach with the group Il Pastor Fido. Other composers he has recorded include Andrew Ford, Peggy Glanville-Hicks, Vaughan Williams (The Pilgrim's Progress), Henry Purcell (Te Deum), John Dowland and Robert Schumann.

Since 1978 he has lived in Australia. He lives in Geelong, Victoriamarker, with his wife Helen, a music teacher, and their five children.



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