Alison Smart is a champion of new music and British composers as well as an experienced recitalist and oratorio performer. She took a degree in Classics at Clare College, Cambridge, where she was a Choral Scholar. She then sang with The Sixteen and other Early Music groups before taking diplomas at the Royal Northern College of Music and Trinity College of Music, London.
Since then she has sung as soloist with the BBC Concert orchestra, the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the Guildford Philharmonic Orchestra, the Hanover Band and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, under conductors such as Stephen Cleobury, Sir Andrew Davis, Jane Glover and Sir Roger Norrington. Her repertoire covers all periods of music but she is particularly at home with Baroque and Classical works as well as more recent compositions.
Alison’s passion for – and great understanding of – new works is reflected in her discography, which includes Peripheral Visions: British Music for voice and piano since 1970 (selected by the Sunday Times as their disc of the week) and New French Song (twenty newly commissioned songs by British composers), both for MSV. One of the songs, Sainte by Tarik O’Regan, won the vocal category of the British Composer Awards 2005. Her partner in these recordings is the pianist Katharine Durran, with whom she has a long-established duo. Alison also appears as one third of Trio Finch, in concerts featuring works for soprano, violin and piano.
Alison’s operatic roles include Celia in Iolanthe at the Proms in 2000; Third Herd Girl in Peer Gynt for the Proms and at the Salzburg Festival in 2001; Mary Magdelene in Jonathan Harvey’s Passion and Resurrection (now available on CD). Alison studies with Marie Hayward Segal.
‘it is clear that Smart possesses a musical intelligence way above the average; her phrasing and projection were admirable.’ (Musical Opinion, Sept/Oct 2003)
‘the literally transcendental virtuosity of Alison Smart’ (Times)
‘powerful sense of atmosphere’ (Independent)
Smart and Durran in concert: New French Song premiere at the Purcell Room July 2004: “excellent musicians with a strong mutual rapport” (Independent)
“powerful sense of atmosphere” (Independent)
“Alison Smart … elicited a really impressive range of colours and contours, comfortably handling the stylistic changes between songs…With a remarkable sensitivity and wide pallet of colours, Katharine Durran’s playing was a musical lesson in Art history.”