The entire King’s community was deeply saddened by the untimely death of Sir Philip Ledger (KC 1956, Director of Music 1974-1982) in November. His appearance at the Foundation Concert the previous March, when he conducted a highly-charged performance of Parry I was glad with the present Choir and former choristers and choral scholars, and CUCO, proved to be the last occasion on which he was present in the Chapel. A very large number of Choir and College alumni, with his close family, as well as many of his friends and admirers from the musical profession, attended a Memorial Evensong in Chapel on 2 March. At a reception afterwards in the Provost’s Lodge, Philip’s friend and colleague Christopher Bishop, who had been EMI producer for most of Philip’s recordings at King’s, paid tribute in a speech which was by turn moving and hilarious.
The Choir undertook two major tours. After Easter, five concerts were given in the USA: Chicago, Minneapolis St Paul, Philadelphia, Washington (National Cathedral) and Princeton University were the venues. During the summer performances took place in Seoul, Beijing, Hong Kong and Singapore.
Just before the beginning of the academic year a concert was given in Rotterdam’s De Doelen Hall as part of the Gergiev Festival. A joint concert in Chapel with the Vienna Boys’ Choir followed. Great excitement was engendered by first appearance with the Choir of Andreas Scholl, who sang Bach cantatas. He was to visit again for two performances of Bach St Matthew Passion at Easter at King’s. On both occasions he generously gave a masterclass to the choral scholars.
The Choir also gave concerts at Kings Place (St Matthew Passion), Royal Albert Hall (Christmas concert), Symphony Hall, Birmingham (Handel Messiah), and in Chapel (Beethoven Mass in C). The Choir appeared in David Starkey’s Music and Monarchy on BBC Two and sang at the Prime Minister’s Easter reception in 10 Downing Street.
A performance of Mozart Requiem with commentary formed the second disc on the new King’s College label and a recording of works by Britten, including Saint Nicolas, was made in January for release in the autumn.
At the end of the year, three evensongs were placed on the internet. It is intended next year to webcast on a regular basis.
The choral scholars continue to have a musical programme of their own, which admirably complements their Choir work. Previously performing as Collegium Regale, they now appear as The King's Men. Future recordings of theirs will appear on the new College label.
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