“A crowning glory of our civilisation”
Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Master of the Queen’s Music
“I would happily sit in King’s College Chapel listening to this choir
sing for the rest of my days.”
Founded in the fifteenth century, the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge is undoubtedly one of the world’s best known choral groups; every Christmas Eve millions of people worldwide tune into A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, a televised service that has been broadcast by the BBC since 1928. While the choir exists primarily to sing the daily services in King’s College Chapel, its worldwide fame and reputation, enhanced by an extensive recording catalogue, has led to invitations to perform around the globe, and to an extensive international tour schedule.
In the 2012/13 season the Choir’s many international appearances include performances at Dubrovnik International Festival, Rotterdam Philharmonic Gergiev Festival and Gent Festival; performances with the Academy of Ancient Music at Symphony Hall in Birmingham and as part of Kings Place’s ‘Bach Unwrapped’ Series; a tour to the USA, including performances in New York, Minneapolis and Chicago, and return performances in Beijing, Hong Kong and Singapore. In Cambridge, they will perform a joint concert with Vienna Boys’ Choir, and will be joined on three occasions by counter tenor Andreas Scholl, for performances of Bach’s works. Future plans for the Choir involve return tours to Australia, West Coast, USA and the Netherlands.
In October 2012, the College launched its own label with Nine Lessons & Carols – a two-disc recording of the famous Christmas Eve service. The album includes seven carols commissioned for the Choir, including five world-premiere recordings. Other releases will include a two-disc exploration of Mozart's Requiem, which will include some of the recent re-workings, and a Britten album scheduled to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the composer's birth.
The Choir of King’s College owes its existence to King Henry VI who, in founding the College in 1441, envisaged the daily singing of services in his magnificent chapel, one of the jewels of Britain’s cultural and architectural heritage. As the pre-eminent representative of the great British church music tradition, the Choir regards the singing of the daily services as its raison d’être, and these are an important part of the lives of its sixteen choristers, fourteen choral scholars and two organ scholars who study in the College itself.
The Director of Music, Stephen Cleobury, is always pleased to hear from or about potential choristers, choral scholars and organ scholars. Formal auditions take place on specific dates (click on one of the aforementioned links for more details), but Stephen is always happy to hear singers throughout the year for informal auditions. Those interested are invited to contact him on 01223 331224, or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click here for more about events.
If you are a former choir member, please join our new Facebook group, where you can share photos, chat to Kingsmen and receive all the latest news.
Note also that anyone can now follow King's College Choir on Facebook.