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The University of the Philippines Madrigal Singers (UPMS), also known as the Philippine Madrigal [1] Singers or simply Madz, is one of the major cultural groupsbased 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 theEuropean Grand Prix for Choral Singing twice (in 1997 and in 2007) 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 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. 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, Presidents Gerald Ford and Richard Nixon, 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 farflung 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 47-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. On 17 April 2011, the Singers were honored to be featured with the historic and Grammy winning Mormon Tabernacle Choir on their weekly broadcast - Music and the Spoken Word. Most chorale groups perform standing. A trademark of this choral group is performing while in sitting position.

The Lute.
Lute can refer generally to any plucked string instrument with a neck (either fretted or unfretted) and a deep round back, or more specifically to an instrument from the family of European lutes. The European lute and the modern Near-Eastern oud both descend from a common ancestor via diverging evolutionary paths. The lute is used in a great variety of instrumental music from the Medieval to the late Baroque eras and was probably the most important instrument for secular music in the Renaissance. It is also an accompanying instrument, especially in vocal works, often realizing a basso continuo or playing a written-out accompaniment. The player of a lute is called a lutenist, lutanist or lutist, and a maker of lutes (or any string instrument) is referred to as a luthier.

The origins of the lute are obscure, and organologists disagree about the very definition of a lute. The highly influential organologist Curt Sachs distinguished between the "long-necked lute" (Langhalslaute) and the short-necked variety: both referred to chordophones with a neck as distinguished from harps and psalteries. Smith and others argue the long-necked variety should not be called lute at all because it existed for at least a millennium before the appearance of the shortnecked instrument that eventually evolved into what is now known as the lute. It also was never called a lute before the 20th century. Source of our knowledge about these instruments is since the ancient Greek Mantineia marble (4th century BC), now exhibited at National Archaeological Museum of Athens, depicting the mythical contest between Apollo and Marsyas, where ancient Greek Pandura is being played by a muse seated on a [5] [6] rock documenting that lutes have been first present in ancient Greece, since the Akkadian era. Various types of necked chordophones were in use in ancient Greek, Egyptian (in the Middle Kingdom), Hittite, Roman, Bulgar, Turkic, Indian, Chinese,Armenian/Cilician cultures. The Lute developed its familiar forms as Barbat in Persia, Armenia, and Byzantium beginning in the early 7th century. These instruments often had bodies covered with animal skin, and it is unknown exactly when it became replaced with a wooden soundboard. As early as the 6th century, the Bulgars brought the short-necked variety of the instrument called Komuz to the Balkans, and in the 9th century, Moors brought the Oudto Spain. The longnecked Pandura had previously been a quite common variety of the lute in the Mediterranean. The quitra

did not become extinct, however, but continued its evolution. Besides the still surviving Kuitra of Algiers and Morocco, its descendants include the Chitarra Italiana, Chitarrone and Colascione.

Middle Ages
In about the year 1500 many Spanish, Catalan and Portuguese lutenists adopted vihuela de mano, a violshaped instrument tuned like the lute, but both instruments continued in coexistence. This instrument also found its way to parts of Italy that were under Spanish domination (especially Sicily and the papal states under the Borgia pope Alexander VI who brought many Catalan musicians to Italy), where it was known as the viola da mano. Another important point of transfer of the lute from Arabian to European culture might have been in Sicily, where it was brought either by Byzantine or later by Saracen musicians. There were singer-lutenists at the court in Palermo following the Norman conquest of the island, and the lute is depicted extensively in the ceiling paintings in the Palermos royal Cappella Palatina, dedicated by the Norman King Roger II in 1140. By the 14th century, lutes had disseminated throughout Italy. Probably due to the cultural influence of the Hohenstaufen kings and emperor, based in Palermo, the lute had also made significant inroads into the German-speaking lands by the 14th century. Medieval lutes were 4- or 5-course instruments, plucked using a quill as a plectrum. There were several sizes, and by the end of the Renaissance, seven different sizes (up to the great octave bass) are documented. Song accompaniment was probably the lute's primary function in the Middle Ages, but very little music securely attributable to the lute survives from the era before 1500. Medieval and earlyRenaissance song accompaniments were probably mostly improvised, hence the lack of written records. In the last few decades of the 15th century, in order to play Renaissance polyphony on a single instrument, lutenists gradually abandoned the quill in favor of plucking the instrument with the fingertips. The number of courses grew to six and beyond. The lute was the premier solo instrument of the 16th century, but continued to be used to accompany singers as well. By the end of the Renaissance the number of courses had grown to ten, and during the Baroque era the number continued to grow until it reached 14 (and occasionally as many as 19). These instruments, with up to 26-35 strings, required innovations in the structure of the lute. At the end of the lute's evolution the archlute, theorbo and torbanhad long extensions attached to the main tuning head in order to provide a greater resonating length for the bass strings, and since human fingers are not long enough to stop strings across a neck wide enough to hold 14 courses, the bass strings were placed outside the fretboard, and were played "open", i.e. without fretting/stopping them with the left hand. Over the course of the Baroque era the lute was increasingly relegated to the continuo accompaniment, and was eventually superseded in that role by keyboard instruments. The lute almost fell out of use after 1800. Some sorts of lute were still used for some time in Germany, Sweden, Ukraine. The lute enjoyed a revival with the awakening of interest in historical music around 1900 and throughout the century. That revival was further boosted by the early music movement in the twentieth century. Important pioneers in lute revival were Julian Bream, Hans Neemann, Walter Gerwig, Suzanne Bloch and Diana Poulton. Lute performances are now not uncommon; there are many professional lutenists, especially in Europe where the most employment is to be found, and new compositions for the instrument are being produced by composers.

During the early days of the early music movement, many lutes were constructed by available luthiers, whose specialty was often classical guitars. Such lutes were heavily built with construction similar to classical guitars, with fan bracing, heavy tops, fixed frets, and lined sides, all of which are anachronistic to historical lutes. As lutherie scholarship increased, makers began constructing instruments based on historical models, which have proven on the whole to be far lighter and more responsive instruments. Lutes built at present are invariably replicas or near copies of those surviving historical instruments that are to be found in museums or private collections. They are exclusively custom-built or must be bought second hand in a very limited market. As a result, lutes are generally more expensive than massproduced modern instruments such as the guitar, though not nearly as expensive as the violin. Unlike in the past there are many types of lutes encountered today: 5-course medieval lutes, renaissance lutes of 6 to 10 courses in many pitches for solo and ensemble performance of Renaissance works, the archlute of Baroque works, 11-course lutes in d-minor tuning for 17th century French, German and Czech music, 13/14-course d-minor tuned German Baroque Lutes for later High Baroque and Classical music,theorbo for basso continuo parts in Baroque ensembles, gallichons/mandoras, bandoras, orpharions and others. Lutenistic practice has reached considerable heights in recent years, thanks to a growing number of world-class lutenists: Robert Barto, Eduardo Egez, Edin Karamazov, Nigel North, Christopher Wilson, Luca Pianca, Pascal Monteilhet, Lex van Sante, Ariel Abramovich, Evangelina Mascardi, Luciano Contini, Hopkinson Smith, Yasunori Imamura, Paul O'Dette, Jozef van Wissem et alii. Singersongwriter Sting has also played lute and archlute, in and out of his collaborations with Edin Karamazov, and Jan Akkerman released two albums of lute music in the 1970s while he was a guitarist in the Dutch rock band Focus. Lutenist/ Composer Jozef van Wissem composed lute music and vocals for the Sims Medieval video game. Lutes of several regional types are also common in Greece: laouto, and outi.