Alison Wells was born in Yorkshire and originally trained as a pianist. She read Mathematics and Music at London University and then spent a year at the Royal Academy of Music, after which she began her vocal studies. She made her South Bank debut in the Park Lane Group’s January Series, and in the same year sang the Governess in the Turn of the Screw and took part in Elisabeth Schwarzkopf’s Masterclasses at the Wigmore Hall. Since then she has appeared in all the major London concert halls and in many festivals both at home and abroad.
A large part of Alison Wells’ work is in the field of contemporary music, and she has sung with London Sinfonietta, Matrix, Lontano, Music Projects/London, Composers’ Ensemble, Kokoro, Psappha, Gemini, Ensemble Corrente, Apartment House, the french ensemble 2e2m, the Schoenberg Ensemble and ASKO in Amsterdam, and Champ d’Action in Antwerp. She has broadcast many times for Radio 3.
Alison has recently given performances of Sir Peter Maxwell Davies’s Miss Donnithorne’s Maggot at King’s Place, London, the Holywell Music Rooms in Oxford and at the St Magnus International Festival in Orkney to great acclaim. The DVD of her performance with a film directed by Peter Richardson is available on ARC Recordings. She commissioned and gave the premiere of Judith Bingham’s Mary Anning and Colin Riley’s new version of Science Fictions, and both of these pieces can be found on the same DVD, which was described as stunning on Radio 3’s CD Review. Opera Magazine described Alison Wells’s “marvellous gifts and vocal artistry on wonderful display”.
In 2014 she gave the European premiere of John Harbison’s song cycle The Right to Pleasure as part of Lontano’s 5th American Music Festival. Other notable recent performances have been Le marteau sans maitre with the Warehouse Ensemble in the Boulez in Birmingham day; the premiere of “Krazy Kat” by Joanna Lee in which she plays Offissa Bull-Pup; and a recital for voice and clarinet at Brunel University. Her many recordings include a well-received disc of music by Philip Grange, Kaija Saariaho’s Grammaire des Rèves with Champ d’Action, songs by George Nicholson, Nicholas Marshall, Kenneth Leighton, Gerard Schurmann and Alan Rawsthorne, Stravinsky’s Les Noces with Robert Craft, Colin Riley’s “A Stranger Called this Morning” with Kokoro, Pierrot Lunaire with Firebird Ensemble and Silvina Milstein’s Fire Dressed in Black with Lontano, and a disc of voice and clarinet music with Ian Mitchell.
Alison Wells is in great demand as a teacher of singing, teaching professional singers in both the opera and choral worlds in her private studio, and she is a member of the vocal studies department at the Royal College of Music.
She much enjoys meeting new singers when she teaches on courses such as AIMS, Wessex Solo Singers Course, Orkney Singers Course and the Sri Lankan Choral Week and on a new venture at Le Mas d’Arjac.