Mark Opstad started his musical education as a chorister at Bristol Cathedral. He read Music at Oxford University where he was Organ Scholar of Balliol College. Under his direction the Balliol choir flourished and made its first foreign tour, singing at Notre Dame in Paris. Whilst at Oxford Mark studied the organ with David Sanger and the piano with Raymond Fischer. He was also a cellist in the Oxford Sinfonietta. Mark continued his studies at Cambridge University, where he was Assistant Organist of Clare College. In this role he accompanied the renowned choir of Clare College for services, concerts and broadcasts on BBC radio.
Mark was awarded an ‘Entente Cordiale’ scholarship by the British and French governments enabling him to continue studying the organ in France. He gained the Médaille d’Or in the class of Lynne Davis at the Caen Conservatoire.
Mark was Organist and Assistant to the Director of the Maîtrise de Caen for two years, a post that greatly inspired him, before being appointed ‘Professeur de chant choral’ at the Toulouse Conservatoire where he created and directs the Maîtrise de Toulouse. He now spends most of his time running this choir, which has established itself as one of the leading maîtrises in France, widely praised in the international music press.
In addition to his work with the Maîtrise, Mark regularly directs choral courses and workshops and enjoys working with amateur choirs (including preparing a choir of 200 to sing with the Orchestre du Capitole de Toulouse !). As an organist he has given recitals in seven European countries. He has played the organ for the Orchestre du Capitole de Toulouse (Fauré Requiem /Minkowski….) and has also appeared as a soloist with the orchestra at Millau cathedral. As a pianist Mark is in demand as an accompanist for professional singers, instrumentalists and choirs. He is the accompanist for the annual ‘English Choral Experience’ festival at Abbey Dore.
Finally, Mark is also a composer of choral music.
Outside music Mark loves reading, walking, travelling and English country pubs. He is married to Weronika who is Polish and an avocat in Toulouse.