Duncan Saunderson, Music Director

Duncan graduated from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama as a countertenor in 1985. Since then he has sung under some of the finest choral conductors in the world.

In 1990, Duncan was appointed Countertenor Lay Clerk in the Choir of New College, Oxford, before retraining as a bass. For almost twenty-five years he sang six evenings a week during term under Professor Edward Higginbottom, Oxford University’s first Professor of Choral Music and internationally renowned trainer of boys’ voices. With this choir he recorded more than fifty discs, including Best Selling Classical disc and Best Early Music disc (International Gramophone Awards 1998/2008), and toured the USA, Japan, Australia and most of Europe.

Duncan’s own ensemble, Liedertafel, has given regular and critically acclaimed concerts with the world famous countertenor James Bowman and the author/reader Colin Dexter, creator of Inspector Morse, in Oxford and London.

Duncan’s musical experience has been rich and diverse. He has arranged Cuban jazz for voices; provided music for a Saracens rugby match interval; sung Beatles arrangements in the English Music Festival, Palestrina in The Sistine Chapel, and Coronation Anthems to Queen Elizabeth II; and sung the role of Pilate with the Hilliard Ensemble in Bach’s St. John Passion. He has performed to the Pope and the Archbishop of Canterbury and sung on film soundtracks.

Duncan is also a crumhorn player. This evocative instrument was popular at the Court of King Henry VIII. Duncan has played it at feasts in Great Halls in Oxford University, the chapels of Exeter, New and Trinity Colleges, The Tower of London and to the Crown Prince of Yugoslavia in Belgrade!

Duncan has conducted SCS since 1996. He combines singing and conducting with singing teaching in London and Oxfordshire, where he has taught one of the ‘Olivers’ for the West End.

Since 2014 Duncan has conducted the Nicaraguan Misa Campesina or ‘Peasant Mass’ each year in Oxford for the Oxford/León (Nicaragua) town twinning association.

In September 2022, Duncan was appointed Director of Music in the wonderful acoustic of St. Michael and All Angels, Summertown, Oxford.

Duncan is also a resident of Barcelona, between the Mediterranean sea and the Gothic Quarter.

Image © Mo Chandler