Work at King's
"It was a delight ... to see the joy and empathy of the young choristers who, through their celebrated conductor Stephen Cleobury, became a world-class choir." Review of a concert in Västeras, Sweden, April 2016
‘Every single piece is rendered magnificently by this ensemble that has performed under the direction of Cleobury for more than thirty years. The choir’s pristine intonation, penetrating rhythmic accuracy, and exquisite unified vowels unite for a beautiful yet robust choral tone. Outstanding solo contributions … further elucidate Cleobury’s high level of expectation.’ Choral Journal review of Carols from King's 60th anniversary DVD
Stephen Cleobury has been Director of Music and Organist of King's College, Cambridge since 1982. He inherited the 500 year old tradition of choral music at King's from four distinguished immediate predecessors, A.H. Mann, Boris Ord, David Willcocks and Philip Ledger, each of whom had done much to put King's at the forefront of English choral music over the course of the 20th century. For more than 30 years, Stephen has worked to uphold and enhance this unique tradition; he has been untiring in keeping King's at the very pinnacle of choral music, by maintaining excellent standards of performance and interpretation; he has ensured that King's Choir has been at the forefront of every new technological development, from CDs to webcasting, and that these ventures should always be undertaken to the highest standards; he has replenished the choral repertoire, chiefly by commissioning music for the world-famous Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols (the centenary of which Stephen looks forward to celebrating on Christmas Eve 2018).
"Stephen Cleobury has been a fantastic advocate of new music. It would be so easy to make the Chapel and its music-making into a kind of museum culture and he's done the opposite in his commissioning. It's always possible for new ideas to find fertile territory at King's and to be welcomed in a way in which, perhaps, they might not be elsewhere."
Richard Causton, composer
With one of the finest gothic buildings in the world at his disposal, Stephen has in the last decade founded two highly successful ventures based at King's Chapel: the festival, Easter at King's, from which the BBC broadcasts regularly, and a series of high-profile concerts throughout the year, Concerts at King's. To both of these, Stephen has succeeded in attracting musicians of international renown, from singers such as Bryn Terfel, Andreas Scholl and Gerald Finley, to instrumentalists such as Alison Balsom, Nicholas Daniel and Rachel Podger and ensembles such as the Monteverdi Choir, the King's Singers, the Vienna Boys' Choir, the Dunedin Consort and regular visitors, the Academy of Ancient Music, the BBC Concert Orchestra and the Philharmonia Orchestra.
One of the most exciting innovations in this context was the first live simultaneous transmission of a concert (Handel Messiah) direct to cinemas across Europe and North America. The most recent innovation at King’s is its new record label, under which a number of very well-received discs have already been produced.
Stephen’s influence has extended beyond King’s to many other choirs through the many organ scholars he has trained: the choirs at Norwich Cathedral, St George’s Chapel, Windsor, Trinity College, Cambridge, New College, Oxford, St Mary’s Cathedral, Limerick and St Thomas 5th Avenue, New York are all run by former organ scholars of Stephen, while other choral and organ scholars who have passed through the choir during Stephen’s time now pursue careers as conductors (one of them is Principal Conductor of the Bergen Philharmonic and another Music Director of Opera North) or as eminent organ soloists.
For work relating to King's College Choir, please contact the Choir's agent, Intermusica.
If you know of anyone who might be interested in joining King's College Choir, please contact Stephen. For details of choir membership, please follow these links for choristerships and for choral scholarships.
Recent engagements for King's College Choir have included the visit of TRH The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall and a visit to 10 Downing Street to sing at the Prime Minister's Easter party.
"I would happily sit in King’s College Chapel listening to this choir sing for the rest of my days."
"A crowning glory of our civilisation."
The late Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Master of the Queen's Music
"Their success has a lot to do with the music directors they’ve had. After David Willcocks came Sir Philip Ledger, and now it’s Stephen Cleobury. Plenty of other cathedrals have the same routine but not the same results. ...
A lot of great singers have come up through that choir, including Robert Tear and Gerald Finley, and they’re always incredibly accomplished musicians. Indeed, the musical training one gets in that choir is incredible because you have to master things to an exquisite level so quickly."
Sir Andrew Davis, The Gramophone
The next Chorister auditions will
take place on Saturday 21 January 2017,
but Stephen welcomes enquiries
at all times of the year.
For more information, please contact