William Purefoy – Counter-tenor


The Beginning

William was born in Weymouth. Very nearly in a rowing boat.

The bit after the beginning but before the bit when he was at boarding school

William attended a girl's school in Yeovil which took young boys whose parents thought a good early education shouldn't preclude being in touch with one's feminine side, but only up to a certain age honest. It was also very near his mother's office. Some singing definitely took place.

The bit just after that, which I nearly forgot about

William attended a voluntary aided primary school in sunny Martock where in his last year his reading age was beyond that of his teacher and where, to aid his inability to get on with any of the local children, he was required by the same teacher to answer all of their Maths questions. Less singing took place on the grounds that it was dangerous and a tendency towards clowning was developed for self preservation purposes. “Go on, Poofhouse, make I laugh!”

The boarding school bit

William attended the then all boys school Christ's Hospital, a wonderful establishment in his opinion, despite the possibly dubious decision to make everyone wear odd clothes including yellow stockings. Huge quantities of singing took place and a desire to sing like a girl was developed during the period when his speaking voice was determined to impersonate an actual man.

The bit after that which took place in Oxford

William spent three years as an Academical Clerk at Magdalen College Oxford pretending to do Maths, the whole time continuing to sing like a girl as well as squandering someone's money on beer and curry.

The next bit, before joining Cantabile

William moved to London, sang like a girl but got paid for it and met his wonderful wife Helen.

The Cantabile bit

In the same year as marrying the glorious Helen, and starting singing lessons with the teacher he still learns with, Mr David Pollard, William joined the illustrious four man vocal group Cantabile. There were so many amazing things that happened in these two years, including an album, countless radio and television appearances, trips to Singapore and America, blah blah blah, it was fabulous.

The 25 year sabbatical bit

During the next patch, lots happened. Two gorgeous and life affirming children, three years at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, winning some competitions and medals and being in the Ferrier final, singing with I Fagiolini and Theatre of Voices, loads of recordings, concerts all over the world, operas all over the world too including New Zealand, Spain, Germany, Switzerland, France and lots in England. Still very much singing like a girl but also getting to wear stockings for a living too.

The now bit

William was approached by a group called The London Quartet, two of whom vaguely resembled older versions of members of the group he was in 25 years previously, Cantabile. They asked him to do some concerts and he said yes. Very happily.

The next bit

The rest isn't history. Yet. But the chances are it will include singing like a girl.