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
Browse 51-19 of 19 Available Recordings
  • 51.
    King's Singers Christmas
    Label: Signum U.k.   Catalog: 502 Release Date: 10/21/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John McCabe,  Michael Praetorius
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  King's Singers
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  • 52.
    Inspired Joy - Music To Enhance Your Spirit
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 63831 Release Date: 10/09/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Martin Luther,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Traditional  ... 
    Performer:  Placido Domingo,  Michala Petri,  Keith Jarrett,  Gottfried Von der Goltz  ... 
    Conductor:  Helmuth Froschauer,  Sigiswald Kuijken,  Thomas Hengelbrock,  Richard Marlow  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Boys' Choir,  Vienna Symphony Orchestra,  Namur Chamber Choir  ... 
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  • 53.
    Renaissance - The Music Of Josquin Desprez / King's Singers
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 61814 Release Date: 05/30/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Josquin Des Préz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  King's Singers
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  • 54.
    Two Thousand Years - Music From The Major Television Series
    Label: Conifer   Catalog: 51353 Release Date: 11/09/1999   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Romanos the Melodist,  John Tavener,  Orlando de Lassus,  Henryk Mikolaj Górecki  ... 
    Performer:  Nigel Short,  Bruce Russell,  Robert Chilcott,  Philip Lawson  ... 
    Conductor:  Oleg Yanchenko,  Richard Marlow,  Adrian Leaper,  Richard Westenburg  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Madrigal Ensemble of Moscow,  King's Singers,  Cambridge Trinity College Choir  ... 
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  • 55.
    Street Songs / King's Singers, Evelyn Glennie
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 63175 Release Date: 06/16/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Steve Martland,  Evelyn Glennie,  Stanley Glasser,  David Horne  ... 
    Performer:  Evelyn Glennie,  Stanley Glasser
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  King's Singers
    CD not available
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  • 56.
    Gyorgy Ligeti Edition Vol 4 - Vocal Works / Salonen, Et Al
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 62311 Release Date: 01/21/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  György Ligeti
    Performer:  Rosemary Hardy,  Eva Wedin,  Pierre-Laurent Aimard,  Malena Ernman  ... 
    Conductor:  Esa-Pekka Salonen
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra members,  King's Singers
    CD: $8.99
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  • 57.
    The King's Singers - English Renaissance
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 68004 Release Date: 02/14/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  William Byrd,  Thomas Tallis
    Performer:  Stephen Connolly,  Philip Lawson,  Nigel Short,  David Hurley  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  King's Singers
    CD not available
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  • 58.
    The King's Singers - Original Debut Recording
    Label: Chandos Collect   Catalog: 6562 Release Date: 05/10/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ron Goodwin,  Traditional,  Burt Bacharach,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  King's Singers,  Gordon Langford Trio
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  • 59.
    Annie Laurie - Folksongs Of The British Isles
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 54904 Release Date: 11/16/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Traditional,  Marjorie Kennedy-Fraser,  Henry Bishop,  Lady John Douglas Scott
    Performer:  Nancy Hadden,  Manuel Barrueco
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  King's Singers
    CD: $17.99
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  • 60.
    Gilbert & Sullivan: Here's A Howdy Do! / The King's Singers
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 61885 Release Date: 09/14/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Arthur Sullivan
    Performer:  Chris Laurence,  Mamadi Kamara,  Ray Snurck
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  King's Singers
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  • 61.
    Good Vibrations / King's Singers
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 60938 Release Date: 03/09/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Paul Simon,  Brian Wilson,  Billy Joel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  King's Singers
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  • 62.
    A Little Christmas Music / King's Singers, Te Kanawa
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 49909 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Michael Praetorius,  Mateo Flecha,  Traditional,  Lowell Mason  ... 
    Performer:  Charles Fullbrook,  Dame Kiri Te Kanawa,  Richard Hickox
    Conductor:  Richard Hickox
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  King's Singers,  City of London Sinfonia,  City of London Brass Quintet
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  • 63.
    All At Once Well Met - English Madrigals / King's Singers
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 49265 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  William Byrd,  George Kirbye,  Thomas Weelkes,  John Dowland  ... 
    Performer:  Robert Spencer,  John Fraser
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  King's Singers
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  • 64.
    Watching the White Wheat / King's Singers
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 47506 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Traditional
    Performer:  Marcia Crayford,  Emil Gerhardt,  Skaila Kanga,  Christopher Van Kampen  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  King's Singers
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