University of the Philippines Madrigal Singers

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The Philippine Madrigal Singers
Philippine Madrigal Singers (CCP Main Theater, 2016-10-08).jpg
The Philippine Madrigal Singers acknowledges the audience at the end of their homecoming concert "Trionfo" (8 October 2016) at the Main Theater (Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo of the Cultural Center of the Philippines. Standing at the center is choirmaster Mark Anthony Carpio.
Also known asMadz
OriginQuezon City, Philippines
FounderAndrea Veneracion
GenreChoral music
ChoirmasterMark Anthony Carpio
(since 2001)
HeadquartersCultural Center of the Philippines
AwardsGrand Prize of the European Grand Prix for Choral Singing (1997 and 2007)
UNESCO Artist for Peace (2009)
WebsiteOfficial website

The University of the Philippines Madrigal Singers (UPMS), also known as the Philippine Madrigal Singers[1] or simply Madz, is one of the major choral groups based in the University of the Philippines, Diliman. Its current conductor and musical director is Mark Anthony Carpio. They are the first choir in the world to win the European Grand Prix for Choral Singing twice (in 1997 and in 2007).[2] To date, only four choirs in the world have attained this achievement.


The Philippine Madrigal Singers (affectionately known as the "Madz") was founded in 1963 by National Artist for Music, Professor Andrea O. Veneracion. The Madz is mostly composed of students, faculty and alumni from the University of the Philippines. The group's trademark performance stance, singing seated in a semicircle without a conductor, is instantly recognizable. A standard Madz performance clearly exhibits the seamless fusion of their musical virtuosity, technical proficiency and soulful singing with perfectly executed dynamics and diction. Their highly eclectic repertoire spans the breadth and length of vocal music: from Renaissance madrigals to the avant-garde, from Filipino and international folksongs to the latest pop hits, even from the most cerebral choral masterpieces to the most humorous of novelty numbers. This world-class choir can honestly sing anything with authenticity and professionalism while keeping their audience thoroughly entertained.

The group performs a variety of styles and forms but it specializes in the Madrigal, a polyphonic and challenging musical style popular during the Renaissance period where singers and guests would gather around the table during a banquet to sight-sing and make music together. This served as the inspiration for their unique style of singing - singing seated in a semicircle without a conductor. As Philippine ambassador of culture and goodwill, the Madz has had the pleasure and privilege of giving command performances for royalty and heads of state. These include Pope Paul VI, Pope John Paul II, United States Presidents Gerald Ford, Richard Nixon, and Barack Obama, Chinese President Hu Jintao, Queen Sofia of Spain, King Juan Carlos I of Spain and Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew.

This choral institution has produced more than 200 choral and vocal pedagogues from its ranks, actively and constantly shaping the local and international choral landscape. Madz alumni are much sought-after as singers, conductors, arrangers and music educators. Its corps of composers and musical arrangers continue to produce new compositions and choral settings of Philippine music, thus contributing to the global growth of choral literature.

As resident artists of the Cultural Center of the Philippines, outreach concerts have taken the Madz to far-flung areas seldom reached by most performing artists. Averaging two international concert tours per year, the Madz relentlessly engages in the promotion of Philippine music and the Filipino Artist globally.

Presently under the masterful leadership of Madz alumnus Mark Anthony A. Carpio, the Philippine Madrigal Singers continues to set new standards of excellence at a global level. Since their humble beginnings as a university-based chamber ensemble throughout their legendary rise as international choral champions, this 50-year-old cultural icon known as the Philippine Madrigal Singers has irreversibly cemented its stature as one of world's best choirs of all time.


The Philippine Madrigal Singers during their PANORAMA Concert held at Abelardo Hall, UP Diliman, October 9, 2014

The Madrigal Singers first earned critical acclaim during their performance in the First Choruses of the World Festival at the Lincoln Center in New York in 1969. This concert welcomed them to the international choral community, eventually paving their way to joining the most distinguished international choral competitions - Spittal, Austria; Arezzo and Gorizia, Italy; Neuchâtel, Switzerland; Debrecen, Hungary; Varna, Bulgaria; Tolosa, Spain; and Marktoberdorf in Germany, and winning all the top prizes.

In June 1997, the Philippine Madrigal Singers came home from their ninth world concert tour, winning the grand prize in the Grand Prix European de Chant Choral Competition in Tours, France, besting five other grand prize winners of the most prestigious choral competition in Europe: Guido d'Arezzo, Italy; Debrecen, Hungary; Varna, Bulgaria; Gorizia, Italy; and Tolosa, Spain. The Madz displayed a virtuoso performance so moving one juror had to describe the group's music as the "most beautiful sound on earth".[3]

In July 2006, the Madz won the grand prize (Grand Prix de la Ville de Tours) at the Florilege de Tours choral competition in France, making them eligible for the 2007 European Choral Grand Prix (to be held in Arezzo, Italy). In the same competition, the Madz were also awarded the first prize for Category III (mixed vocal ensemble), first prize for Category IV (free program) and the Prix University François Rabelais for best interpretation of a Renaissance number.

On August 26, 2007, the Philippine Madrigal Singers won, for the second time, the grand prize in the European Grand Prix for Choral Singing in Arezzo, Italy. This victory makes them the first of the only four choirs in the world to win the grand prize twice.[4][5][6] The European Grand Prix is widely understood to be the Olympics of the choral circuit.

On July 27, 2009, UNESCO honored the Madz and designated the group as UNESCO Artist for Peace. This title is given to celebrity advocates charged with the mission of embodying and raising awareness in the UNESCO ideals, which include peace, security, fundamental human rights and freedom.[7]

On September 19, 2010, the Philippine Madrigal Singers was conferred the prestigious Guidoneum Award 2010 by the Fondazione Guido d’Arezzo in Italy. Foundation President Francesco Lusi, said during the awarding that the foundation "followed attentively and with great pleasure the fruitful activities of the Madrigal Singers and are grateful for all that the Philippine Madrigal Singers have done for the choral world”. He further stressed that "the foundation honored the Madrigal Singers “for the artistic and choral promotion activity that they carried out after they won the European Grand Prix for Choral Singing in 2007.”[8]

On August 27, 2016, the Philippine Madrigal Singers won the Grand Prix at the 64th International Choral Competition in Arezzo, Italy. Their win qualifies them for the European Grand Prix to be held in Tolosa, Spain in 2017.[9]

Recent Milestones[edit]

  • 26 August 2007: The Phlippine Madrigal singers becomes the first choir in the world to win the European Grand Prix for Choral Singing twice.
  • July 2009 : The Philippine Madrigal Singers were named Artists for Peace by the UNESCO.
  • 17 April 2011: The Singers were honored to be featured with the historic, Emmy and Grammy award winning Mormon Tabernacle Choir on their weekly broadcast - Music and the Spoken Word.
  • 3 August 2011: The Philippine Madrigal Singers made a triumphant debut at the iconic Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires. They are the first Filipino choir to sing in Argentina.[10]
  • 1 July 2012: The Philippine Madrigal Singers becomes the first choir in the world to receive the Brand Laureate Premier Award (as World’s Best Choral Ensemble) from the Asia Pacific Brands Foundation.[11]
  • 2013 : The Madrigal Singers reached the 50 year milestone.
  • 7 September 2013: The Madrigal Singers held a joint concert with the Swingle Singers, a 5-time Grammy Award winning vocal group, at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.
  • January 2015 : The Madrigal Singers led thousands of singers in the celebrations during the Pastoral and State visit of Pope Francis
  • 9 May 2015: The Madrigal Singers held a joint concert with the King's Singers at the Cultural Center of the Philippines .


The Philippine Madrigal singers had performed various arrangements from some of the world's finest Choral Arrangers/Composers like Josu Elberdin (Particularly Psalm 96, Cantate Domino). They also sang arrangements from world-renowned Filipino Composers including Robert Delgado ( Allen Pote-Prayer of St. francis), Anna Abeleda-Piquero (Circle of Life- Lion King OST), Nilo Alcala (Dayo Dayo Kupita at the Florilege Vocal de Tours in France, and Kaisa-isa Niyan, which was part of their winning repertoire at the 2007 European Grand Prix for Choral Singing in Arezzo, Italy). Some of their members like Saunder Choi (Tenor 2) and Ily Matthew Maniano (Contratenor altus) also arrange and compose songs for the group.


  • Joy: A Choral Celebration of Christmas (1997)
  • Bayan Ko, Aawitan Kita (1998)
  • Madz in Love (1999)
  • Madz Around the World (2000)
  • Acclamation (2006)
  • Love, Joy and Inspiration (2006) - a special edition compilation containing the CDs Joy, Madz in Love and Acclamation
  • Maior Caritas Op. 5 (2008)
  • Madz in Love Continues... (2009)
  • Madz Goes Jesuit (Songs from the Concert) (2015)
  • ONOMATOPOEIA: The Choral Works of NILO ALCALA (2017)



  1. ^
  2. ^ Madrigal Singers win European Grand Prix for the second time -, Philippine News for Filipinos Archived 2007-10-11 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ HighBeam
  4. ^ List of winners at the 2007 Arezzo competition, including the GPE
  5. ^ GMA NEWS.TV, UP Madrigals home after choral grand prix win
  6. ^ Madrigal Singers win European Grand Prix for the second time Archived 2007-10-11 at the Wayback Machine. The Philippine Daily Inquirer, August 27, 2007.
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ "PH Madrigal Singers win int'l choir competition in Italy". Rappler. August 28, 2016. Retrieved August 30, 2016.
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^

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