The Choir of King’s College, Cambridge, owes its existence to King Henry VI who, when founding the College in 1441, envisaged the daily singing of services in his magnificent chapel. This remains the Choir’s raison d’être and is an important part of the lives of its sixteen Choristers, who are educated on generous scholarships at the College choir school, and the fourteen Choral Scholars and two Organ Scholars, who study a variety of subjects within the College itself.
As members of King’s College Choir, the Choral Scholars have toured extensively in Europe, Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, the USA and Bermuda. As Collegium Regale, the Choral Scholars provide entertainment at dinners and conferences. They also give frequent concerts, especially at Easter when they split into two groups to tour the North and South of England. Collegium Regale’s recent international tours have included performances in Boston, Montreal, Toronto and Washington.
Collegium Regale’s repertoire embraces styles across 800 years of musical history, from Gregorian chant to the latest top-forty hits. Audiences are perennially delighted to find Byrd rubbing shoulders with the Beach Boys in the same concert programme.
Stephen Cleobury is associated with two of Britain’s most famous choirs. As Director of Music at King’s College, Cambridge and Chief Conductor of the BBC Singers, he also works with leading symphony orchestras and period instrument ensembles. His eclectic repertoire ranges from Gregorian chant to newly composed works. At King’s he has commissioned a carol annually for A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, thereby refreshing this great tradition of Christmas music with compositions from the foremost composers of our own day. In 2005 he instigated the first Easter Festival of Music at King’s, at which he conducted concerts with the Chapel Choir and the Academy of Ancient Music, which were broadcast by the BBC. He has premièred many works with the BBC Singers, notably Giles Swayne Havoc and Harrison Birtwistle Ring Dance of the Nazarene at the Proms, and Edward Cowie Gaia, all with the Endymion Ensemble, and Errolyn Wallen Our English Heart with the BBC Concert Orchestra.
As Conductor of the orchestra and chorus of the Cambridge University Music Society, he has directed the major works for chorus and orchestra as well as symphonic repertoire and has also premièred works by Alexander Goehr, Robin Holloway and Robert Saxton. Recently he has directed performances of Mahler Resurrection Symphony in Boston, Berlioz Requiem in Ely Cathedral, Dvorák Stabat Mater, Tippett A Child of Our Time and Bach B Minor Mass in King’s Chapel, and Vaughan Williams A Sea Symphony in the Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford.
He frequently appears in this country and abroad as a conductor, leader of conducting workshops and solo organist. During the last season he has visited the USA, Italy, Holland and Belgium with King’s Choir. Other conducting engagements during this period have seen him working with the Academy of Ancient Music, BBC Concert Orchestra, Britten Sinfonia, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Irish Chamber Orchestra, Israel Camerata, Philharmonia, Southbank Sinfonia, Endymion, His Majesty's Sagbutts and Cornetts, Estonian Chamber Choir, Mormon Tabernacle Choir and National Chamber Choir of Ireland. These engagements have taken him to places as varied as Switzerland, Israel, Mexico and Japan, while as an organ recitalist he has played at Haderslev Cathedral in Denmark and Salt Lake’s LDS Conference Center.