George Guest

Biography

Born: February 9, 1924; Bangor, ME   Died: November 20, 2002; Bangor, ME  
George Guest is generally regarded among the finest British choral conductors of his time. Some musicologists have attributed the endurance, if not the very survival, of the English cathedral choir to him. He made more than 60 recordings with St. John's Choir (Cambridge), covering a broad range of repertory (Palestrina and Mozart to Tippett and Lennox Berkeley) and garnering consistent critical acclaim.

Guest was born in Bangor, Wales,
Read more on February 19, 1924. He attended the Friars school in his hometown and became a chorister by age 9 at the local cathedral. At 11 he sang in the choir at Chester Cathedral while taking private lessons to develop his keyboard skills. After serving four years in the Royal Air Force during World War II, he returned to Chester Cathedral as sub-organist in 1946. The following year he enrolled at St. John's under an organ scholarship, studying with Thurston Dart and Boris Ord. In 1951 the choir director, Robin Orr, resigned to focus on composition, leaving the post to Guest.

In the coming years, Guest, not least because of a healthy rivalry with David Willcocks who was director of the Choir of King's College, vastly improved St. John's choral standards. Beginning in the mid-'50s, Guest and his choir began appearing regularly on radio broadcasts, and in 1958 he made his first recording with the group, Mendelssohn's Hear My Prayer, for the English label Argo. At Cambridge he became a lecturer in 1956, then the university's organist in 1974. In the mid-'70s Guest's growing interest in French music yielded two acclaimed recordings, the Duruflé Requiem and a collection of Fauré works. In 1978 Guest was elected president of the Royal College of Organists, serving in the post for two years. He retired from university lecturing in 1982, but continued his work with St. John's Choir, both in concert and on recordings, as well as in performances abroad. In 1991 Guest retired both from his directorship of St. John's Choir and from his organ post. He died on November 20, 2002. Read less
Browse 1-25 of 76 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Britten: The Masterpieces
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001880702 Release Date: 08/13/2013   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Benjamin Britten
    Performer:  Janine Jansen,  Rachel Masters,  Gillian Saunders,  Patricia Garrod  ... 
    Conductor:  Benjamin Britten,  Paavo Järvi,  Stephen Cleobury,  George Malcolm  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra  ... 
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  • 2.
    EMI Eminence - The Original Jacket Collection [50-CD Set]
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 393872 Release Date: 02/26/2013   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Richard Strauss,  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  William Byrd  ... 
    Performer:  David Nolan,  Jonathan Small,  George Malcolm,  William Bennett  ... 
    Conductor:  Karl Anton Rickenbacher,  Vernon Handley,  George Guest,  George Malcolm  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra,  Cambridge St. John's College Choir  ... 
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  • 3.
    Faure: Requiem; Pavane
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001706502 Release Date: 07/24/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gabriel Fauré
    Performer:  Thomas Allen,  Sylvia [Soprano Vocals] McNair,  John Birch,  Stephen Cleobury  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  George Guest,  Jean Fournet
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  • 4.
    Label: Heritage   Catalog: 239 Release Date: 07/17/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Stainer,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Conductor:  George Guest
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  • 5.
    Purcell: Music For The Chapel Royal, Verse Anthems / Guest, St. John's College Choir
    Label: Eloquence   Catalog: 4805003 Release Date: 07/03/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Henry Purcell
    Performer:  Charles Brett,  Inia Te Wiata,  Robert Tear,  Christopher Keyte  ... 
    Conductor:  George Guest
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Cambridge St. John's College Choir,  English Chamber Orchestra  ... 
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  • 6.
    Magnificat - 500 Years Of Choral Masterworks [50-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001664502 Release Date: 04/10/2012   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Gregorio Allegri,  Antonio Lotti,  Orlando de Lassus,  Josquin Des Préz  ... 
    Performer:  Patrick Russill,  Marinella Pennicchi,  Michael Chance,  Mark Tucker  ... 
    Conductor:  Harry Christophers,  Paul McCreesh,  Stephen Cleobury,  Edward Wickham  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Sixteen,  Gabrieli Consort,  Gabrieli Players  ... 
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  • 7.
    Byrd: Masses For 4 And 5 Voices / Guest, St. John's College Choir
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 62015 Release Date: 01/04/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  William Byrd
    Conductor:  George Guest
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge St. John's College Choir
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  • 8.
    The Decca Sound [50-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001619902 Release Date: 11/15/2011   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Manuel de Falla,  Claude Debussy,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Enrique Granados  ... 
    Performer:  Teresa Berganza,  Alfredo Campoli,  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  Cecilia Bartoli  ... 
    Conductor:  Ernest Ansermet,  Ataulfo Argenta,  Anatole Fistoulari,  Vladimir Ashkenazy  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $175.49
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  • 9.
    Liszt - The Collection [34-CD Limited Edition]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001571102 Release Date: 06/28/2011   Number of Discs: 34
    Composer:  Franz Liszt,  Richard Strauss
    Performer:  Krystian Zimerman,  Shura Cherkassky,  Jorge Bolet,  John Ogdon  ... 
    Conductor:  Seiji Ozawa,  Herbert von Karajan,  Iván Fischer,  Giuseppe Sinopoli  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 10.
    Label: Abc Classics   Catalog: 951853 Release Date: 12/07/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Xaver Gruber,  Felix Mendelssohn,  William Garnet James,  Lowell Mason  ... 
    Performer:  David Corkhill,  John Scott,  Sir David Willcocks,  James Blades  ... 
    Conductor:  Stephen Cleobury,  Sir David Willcocks,  Anthony Walker,  Brett Weymark  ... 
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  • 11.
    Voices From Heaven: Choral Music From St. John's College Of Cambridge
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 1341 Release Date: 09/28/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Duruflé,  Herbert Howells
    Performer:  Iain Farrington,  John Todd,  Kathryn Turpin,  William Clements  ... 
    Conductor:  Christopher Robinson,  George Guest
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  • 12.
    Victoria: Responsories For Tenebrae / Malcolm, Westminster Cathedral Choir
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 425078 Release Date: 06/08/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Tomás Luis de Victoria
    Conductor:  George Guest,  George Malcolm
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge St. John's College Choir,  Westminster Cathedral Choir
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  • 13.
    Essential Renaissance
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 88592 Release Date: 02/23/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Claudio Monteverdi,  Clément Janequin,  Adrian Willaert,  Ludovico Agostini  ... 
    Performer:  Della Jones,  Arleen Augér,  Hopkinson Smith,  Paul O'Dette  ... 
    Conductor:  Richard Hickox,  Andrew Parrott,  Anthony Rooley,  Emmanuelle Haïm  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Taverner Consort & Players,  Consort of Musicke,  Le Concert D'Astrée  ... 
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  • 14.
    Stainer: The Crucifixion / Guest, King's College Choir Cambridge
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 470379 Release Date: 10/23/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Stainer
    Performer:  Richard Lewis,  Owen Brannigan,  Brian Runnett,  Peter White  ... 
    Conductor:  George Guest,  Stephen Cleobury
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge St John's College Choir,  Cambridge King's College Choir
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  • 15.
    Ave Maria
    Label: London/Decca Weekend Classics   Catalog: 421029 Release Date: 01/07/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Charles Gounod,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  Leontyne Price,  Peter White,  Felicity Palmer,  Erna Spoorenberg  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan,  George Guest,  Sir Neville Marriner,  Wyn Morris  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Cambridge St. John's College Choir,  Wren Orchestra  ... 
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  • 16.
    World Of Wedding Music
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 436402 Release Date: 08/26/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  George Frideric Handel,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Charles-Marie Widor  ... 
    Performer:  Peter Hurford,  Harry Dilley,  Dame Joan Sutherland,  Peter White  ... 
    Conductor:  Francesco Molinari-Pradelli,  George Guest,  Herbert von Karajan,  Stephen Cleobury  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra,  Cambridge St. John's College Choir,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 17.
    Charpentier; Poulenc: French Choral Works
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 10448 Release Date: 04/29/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Francis Poulenc,  Marc-Antoine Charpentier
    Conductor:  George Guest
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of London Sinfonia,  Cambridge St. John's College Choir
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  • 18.
    Palestrina: Missa Assumpta Est Maria, Etc / Guest, Choir Of St. John's
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 433678 Release Date: 10/12/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giovanni Palestrina
    Performer:  Thomas Hunt,  Michael Turner,  John Tudhope
    Conductor:  George Guest
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge St. John's College Choir
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  • 19.
    Haydn: Heiligmesse;  Mozart: Litany, K 243 / George Guest
    Label: London/Decca Jubilee   Catalog: 430158 Release Date: 08/06/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Ian Partridge,  Christopher Keyte,  April Cantelo,  Shirley Minty  ... 
    Conductor:  George Guest
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Wren Orchestra,  Cambridge St. John's College Choir,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
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  • 20.
    Haydn: Theresienmesse;  M Haydn, Mozart / George Guest
    Label: London/Decca Jubilee   Catalog: 430159 Release Date: 07/09/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Michael Haydn,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  John Mitchinson,  Willard White,  Tom Krause,  Bernadette Greevy  ... 
    Conductor:  George Guest
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Cambridge St. John's College Choir
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  • 21.
    Britten: A Ceremony Of Carols, Rejoice In The Lamb, Etc
    Label: London/Decca Jubilee   Catalog: 430097 Release Date: 06/25/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Benjamin Britten
    Conductor:  George Guest
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge St. John's College Choir
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  • 22.
    Haydn: Harmoniemesse;  Mozart: Vespers, K 321 / George Guest
    Label: London/Decca Jubilee   Catalog: 430162 Release Date: 06/25/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Stephen Roberts,  Margaret Cable,  Margaret Marshall,  Wynford Evans
    Conductor:  George Guest
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge St. John's College Choir,  Wren Orchestra
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  • 23.
    Haydn: Schöpfungsmesse;  Mozart: Spaur-messe / George Guest
    Label: London/Decca Jubilee   Catalog: 430161 Release Date: 06/25/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Robert Tear,  Helen Watts,  April Cantelo,  Felicity Palmer  ... 
    Conductor:  George Guest
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Wren Orchestra,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Cambridge St. John's College Choir
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  • 24.
    Purcell: Te Deum & Jubilate / Guest, Bowman, Cleobury, Et Al
    Label: London/Decca Serenata Series   Catalog: 430263 Release Date: 06/25/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Henry Purcell
    Performer:  Charles Brett,  Forbes Robinson,  Robert [boy soprano] Smith,  Stephen Cleobury  ... 
    Conductor:  George Guest
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge St. John's College Choir,  English Chamber Orchestra,  Symphoniae Sacrae Consort of Sackbuts
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  • 25.
    Schubert: Mass No 6 In E-flat Major D 950 / George Guest
    Label: London/Decca Jubilee   Catalog: 430362 Release Date: 06/11/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Schubert
    Conductor:  George Guest
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge St. John's College Choir,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
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