The English soprano, Alison Smart, studied Classics at Clare College, Cambridge, where she was Senior Choral Scholar. She took postgraduate diplomas at the Royal Northern College of Music in 1995 and at Trinity College of Music, London in 1996. She won the Elisabeth Schumann Lieder Competition (1996) and was a finalist in the Great Elm Vocal competition (1996).
Alison Smart has performed with many of the best British ensembles and conductors. In February 1999 she was the soprano soloist in Tippett's oratorio The Vision of St Augustine with the BBC Symphony Orchestra directed by Sir Andrew Davis. Later that year she sang J.S. Bach's Magnificat (BWV 243) at St John's Smith Square with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment directed by Sir Roger Norrington; in the summer of 2001 she sang the Third Herd Girl in Grieg's Peer Gynt for the Proms, BBC TV and at the Salzburg Festival. In October 2001 she sang the role of Tiny in Benjamin Britten's opera Paul Bunyan at Symphony Hall, Birmingham, in a concert performance with the BBC Concert Orchestra conducted by Barry Wordsworth. Work abroad includes a lecture recital in Canberra and a live broadast of unaccompanied music by Nono for Swiss radio.
Alison Smart is much in demand as soloist with Choral Societies throughout the UK, particularly in Baroque and Classical and the more contemporary repertoire. Future engagements include the Francis Poulenc's Gloria in Dundee; Messiah in Helensburgh and again, under Sir David Willcocks, in Exeter.
In the field of opera Alison Smart has a number of interesting roles including: Kathleen in Nicola LeFanu's The Story of Mary O'Neill (BBC Radio, 1995); Drusilla, Amore, Valletto in L'Incoronazione di Poppea Cambridge, 1997) Poppea (TCM, 1996); Pamina (Surrey Opera, 1996); Olympia and Stella in The Tales of Hoffmann (tour of Wales, 1997); Mary Magdalene (Passion and Resurrection by Jonathan Harvey), St John's, Smith Square; Celia in Iolanthe (BBC Concert Orchestra, Proms 2000); Strawberry Seller in Death in Venice (BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, 2000; also recorded for TV documentary on Benjamin Britten, Oxford TV); Tiny in Paul Bunyan (Birmingham Symphony Hall, BBC Concert Orchestra 2001; live broadcast R3); 3rd Herdgirl in Peer Gynt in Salzburg and at the Proms.
In recital Alison Smart's repertoire spans several centuries from the Baroque to Contemporary scores. In 1999 she appeared at the Spitalfields Festival in London, and at the Presteigne Festival in Wales, and in recitals in Edinburgh and Glasgow. Alison's partner in recitals is the pianist Katharine Durran. Their debut solo album is entitled 'Peripheral Visions: British music for voice and piano since 1970' (MSV). They will be performing a recital of these and other songs by Schubert, F. Poulenc and Gabriel Fauré at the Purcell Room in June 2003. Alison's other solo recordings include Songs for soprano, violin and Harp by Spohr (for Naxos, 2002) and 4th soprano in Ausencias de Dulcinea by Rodrigo with the London Philharmonic Orchestra (in the centenary complete Rodrigo recordings for EMI).