King's Singers

Composers

Biography

Active: May 1, 1968 - ; Cambridge, MA
While the first concert given by the King's Singers officially took place on May 1, 1968, their roots actually date to 1965 when 14 choral students at King's College (Cambridge) formed a group called Schola Cantorum Pro Musica Profana. Three of the original members of the King's Singers were a part of that ensemble: Alastair Hume (countertenor), Simon Carrington (baritone), and Brian Kay (bass). The Schola Cantorum group produced a private Read more recording of popular songs, but more importantly yielded an offshoot sextet taking the name Six Choral Scholars From King's College, which became the precursor to the King's Singers. Joining Hume, Kay, and Carrington in the ensemble were three other singers from King's College: Martin Lane, Neil Jenkins, and Richard Salter. This latter trio, however, did not stay on. Their replacements were Nigel Perrin (countertenor), Alastair Thompson (tenor), and Anthony Holt (baritone).

In 1968, the sextet debuted under the name of the King's Singers at London's Queen Elizabeth Hall. All were graduates of King's College except for Holt and Perrin, the latter graduating in 1969. Holt, however, had received his choral training at Christ's Church Oxford. The vocal style established by the group from its earliest days mixes madrigal-like singing with a sort of barber shop quartet manner that divulges other, more-modern American styles associated with groups like the Four Freshmen. Their repertory includes a broad range of music from the works of Janequin and Josquin Desprez to that of Gilbert and Sullivan, from Japanese folk songs to Berio and Penderecki, and from sacred to popular music. By 1971, the King's Singers had drawn considerable attention in England and began making their first recordings. By Appointment and The King's Music appeared in 1971 and 1972, respectively, the former a collection of British folk songs and the latter devoted to music from the last quarter of the Middle Ages. After these initial efforts, the group returned to the recording studio with regularity, usually turning out several titles each year. By 2002, they had made over 60 recordings, most of which remain available or periodically become available through reissues.

In the 1980s, the King's Singers had experienced its first personnel changes and by the end of that decade, three new members were in place: Jeremy Jackman, Robert Chilcott, and Colin Mason. Alastair Thompson, Nigel Perrin, and Brian Kay had departed, but their exit was no indication of any internal problems or artistic decline. Indeed, the group's popularity remained high, bolstered by a heavy touring schedule that even included an appearance on Johnny Carson's Tonight Show. Then-recent recordings, like their All at Once Well Met: English Madrigals (1985) and Beatles Connection (1986), had achieved impressive sales. Over the years, despite personnel changes and an ever-widening repertory, the group continues to grow in artistic stature, making concert appearances with some of the most prominent singers and artists (Domingo and Te Kanawa) and drawing works from leading composers (Richard Rodney Bennett, Ligeti, and Maxwell Davies). In addition, at the Royal College of Music, they serve as Prince Consort Ensemble in Residence. Since 1968, there have been 11 changes in personnel, one featuring two replacements. After 1997, no member from the original group remained. In 1999, BMG Classics announced it's retreat from classical music and exponged it's entire artist roster, including The King's Singers, who for the first time since 1968 found themselves with a recording contract. After recording a one-off Beatles-themed disc with the Cincinnati Pops on Telarc, The King's Singers signed a new agreement with the independent British label Signum in 2003. The change of venue has witnessed a distinct upturn in the quality of the recorded efforts since.

In 2006, the King's Singers was comprised of Robin Tyson (countertenor), David Hurley (countertenor), Paul Phoenix (tenor), Christopher Gabbitas (baritone), Philip Lawson (baritone), and Stephen Connolly (bass). Tyson joined the ensemble in 2001, and Gabbitas in 2004. Read less
The King's Singers - Original Debut Recording
Release Date: 05/10/1994   Label: Chandos Collect  
Catalog: 6562   Number of Discs: 1
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Browse 1-25 of 75 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Let It Snow / Mayer, King's Singers
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001966502 Release Date: 12/03/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jule Styne,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Michael Praetorius,  James S. Pierpont  ... 
    Performer:  Albrecht Mayer,  Beni Araki
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  King's Singers
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  • 2.
    Great American Songbook / King's Singers
    Label: Signum U.k.   Catalog: 341 Release Date: 10/29/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Cy Coleman,  Richard Rodgers,  Cole Porter,  Arthur Hamilton  ... 
    Conductor:  David Firman
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  King's Singers,  Jutland Symphony Orchestra
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  • 3.
    Richafort: Requiem - Tributes to Josquin / King's Singers
    Label: Signum U.k.   Catalog: 326 Release Date: 04/30/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Benedictus Appenzeller,  Nicolas Gombert,  Josquin Des Préz,  Jacquet of Mantua  ... 
    Conductor:  David Skinner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  King's Singers
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  • 4.
    Anniversary Series - Choral Collection
    Label: Signum U.k.   Catalog: 304 Release Date: 11/27/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Francis Poulenc,  Eric Whitacre,  Robert Chilcott  ... 
    Performer:  Elin Manahan Thomas
    Conductor:  Nigel Short,  Robert Chilcott,  Joseph Cullen,  James Vivian  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Voces8,  Tenebrae,  King's Singers  ... 
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  • 5.
    Anniversary Series - A Cappella Collection
    Label: Signum U.k.   Catalog: 299 Release Date: 10/30/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Imogen Heap,  Robert Chilcott,  Gabriel Fauré  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Swingle Singers,  King's Singers,  BBC Singers  ... 
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  • 6.
    Anniversary Series - Early Music Collection
    Label: Signum U.k.   Catalog: 301 Release Date: 10/30/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claudio Monteverdi,  Gregorio Strozzi,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Juan Hidalgo  ... 
    Performer:  Emma Murphy,  David Kenedy,  Gail Hennessy,  Nicholas Parle
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment,  Charivari Agréable,  Cordaria  ... 
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  • 7.
    Pater Noster - A Choral Reflection on The Lord's Prayer / King’s Singers
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8572987 Release Date: 10/30/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Anonymous,  Heinrich Schütz,  Mikolaj Zielenski,  Josquin Des Préz  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  King's Singers
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  • 8.
    The Best Of The King's Singers
    Label: Signum U.k.   Catalog: 297 Release Date: 10/30/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Cyrillus Kreek,  William Byrd,  Carlo Gesualdo,  Arvo Pärt  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  King's Singers
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  • 9.
    Holst: The Collector's Edition
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 40471 Release Date: 06/19/2012   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Gustav Holst
    Performer:  Jonathan Snowden,  David Theodore,  Ralph Downes,  Dame Janet Baker  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult,  André Previn,  Norman Del Mar,  Yehudi Menuhin  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  Bournemouth Sinfonietta  ... 
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  • 10.
    Royal Rhymes And Rounds / The King's Singers
    Label: Signum U.k.   Catalog: 307 Release Date: 06/19/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  King VIII Henry,  William Cornysh,  Anonymous,  Ellis Gibbons  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  King's Singers
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  • 11.
    High Flight - Choral Music By Whitacre, Laurdisen, Chilcott / King's Singers
    Label: Signum U.k.   Catalog: 262 Release Date: 11/15/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Robert Chilcott,  Morten Lauridsen,  Eric Whitacre
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  King's Singers,  Concordia Choir
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  • 12.
    Joy To The World / King's Singers
    Label: Signum U.k.   Catalog: 268 Release Date: 10/25/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Traditional,  Edgar Pettiman,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Philip Lawson  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  King's Singers
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  • 13.
    King's Singers Christmas
    Label: Signum U.k.   Catalog: 8 Release Date: 10/25/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Traditional,  Michael Praetorius,  Franz Xaver Gruber,  Lowell Mason  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  King's Singers
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  • 14.
    British Composers - Vaughan Williams, Finzi, Holst
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 95433 Release Date: 05/03/2011   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Gerald Finzi,  Arnold Bax,  Gustav Holst
    Performer:  David Van Asch,  Nigel Perrin,  Robin Doveton,  John Eaton  ... 
    Conductor:  Nicholas Cleobury,  Sir David Willcocks,  Sir Adrian Boult,  Christopher Finzi  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  King's Singers,  Cambridge King's College Choir,  London Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    Recommendation
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  • 15.
    Bach: Christmas Oratorio (arranged by Bill Dobbins) / King's Singers, WDR Big Band
    Label: Signum U.k.   Catalog: 215 Release Date: 11/30/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Bill Dobbins
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  King's Singers,  West German Radio Big Band
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  • 16.
    Swimming Over London / The King's Singers
    Label: Signum U.k.   Catalog: 192 Release Date: 05/25/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Nat "King" Cole,  Mia Makaroff,  Connick, Harry, Jr.,  Hoagy Carmichael  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  King's Singers
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  • 17.
    Pachelbel: Vespers / King's Singers, Charivari Agreable
    Label: Signum U.k.   Catalog: 198 Release Date: 03/30/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Pachelbel,  Johann Kaspar Kerll,  Johann Krieger
    Conductor:  Kah-Ming Ng
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  King's Singers,  Charivari Agréable
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  • 18.
    Classical Beatles
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 16784 Release Date: 11/03/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  John Rutter,  Paul McCartney,  John Lennon,  Arthur Wilkinson  ... 
    Performer:  Manuel Barrueco,  Lesley Garrett,  Xuefei Yang,  David Tanenbaum
    Conductor:  Ron Goodwin,  Richard Edlinger,  George Martin,  Miriam Nemcova
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra,  King's Singers,  Baroque Chamber Orchestra  ... 
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  • 19.
    From The Heart / King's Singers
    Label: Signum U.k.   Catalog: 177 Release Date: 10/27/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sinead Lohan,  John Brunning,  Graham Lack,  Patricia Van Ness  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  King's Singers
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  • 20.
    Nightsong / The King's Singers
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 68646 Release Date: 09/25/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Johannes Brahms,  Joseph Rheinberger,  Max Reger  ... 
    Performer:  Roger Vignoles,  Nathalie Stutzmann,  Neill Archer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  King's Singers,  Michael Thompson Horn Quartet
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 21.
    Tavener: Canciones Espanolas, Requiem For Father Malachy / King's Singers, Et Al
    Label: Lyrita   Catalog: 311 Release Date: 08/11/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Tavener
    Performer:  James Bowman,  Kevin Smith
    Conductor:  John Tavener
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Nash Ensemble,  King's Singers
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  • 22.
    Romance Du Soir / King's Singers
    Label: Signum U.k.   Catalog: 147 Release Date: 02/24/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Arthur Sullivan,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Libby Larsen,  Richard Strauss  ... 
    Performer:  Christopher Gabbitas,  David Hurley,  Philip Lawson,  Paul Phoenix  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  King's Singers
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  • 23.
    Live at the BBC Proms / King's Singers
    Label: Signum U.k.   Catalog: 150 Release Date: 12/09/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Traditional,  Frederick Bridge,  John William Hobbs,  John Rogers  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  King's Singers
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  • 24.
    The King's Singers - Live At The BBC Proms
    Label: Signum U.k.   Catalog: 5 Release Date: 12/09/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Traditional,  Frederick Bridge,  John William Hobbs,  John Rogers  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  King's Singers
    Recommendation
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  • 25.
    Rejoice And Be Merry! / Jessup, Mormon Tabernacle Choir, King's Singers
    Label: Mormon Tabernacle   Catalog: 5007325 Release Date: 09/30/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  James Pierpont,  Traditional,  Katherine K. Davis,  Adolphe Adam  ... 
    Performer:  Daron Bradford,  Richard Elliott,  Mormon Tabernacle Choir
    Conductor:  Thomas Waldron,  Craig Jessop
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  King's Singers,  Mormon Tabernacle Choir,  Orchestra at Temple Square
    CD: $19.99
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