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. Due to academic commitments of the members of the Choir, it performs fewer than 20 concerts outside of the Chapel each year.
Australia is privileged to have eight of these rare concerts performed in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane, Canberra and Adelaide, as the Choir embarks on a national tour for Musica Viva in July and August.
Stephen Cleobury CBE, the Choir’s Director of Music since 1982, together with sixteen boy choristers, fifteen choral scholars and two organ scholars, is excited about their imminent tour.
“The warmth of the hospitality and the welcome you get in Australia, it’s something really special,” says Cleobury. “For those who, like me, have been before, we really look forward to it. And for the young people who have not been before, to come to Australia is the experience of a lifetime.”
In collaboration with Musica Viva, Stephen Cleobury CBE has put together two glorious programs – one devised for larger halls with organ, the other for smaller venues. The repertoire for the programs includes works from Byrd and Palestrina, Purcell and Monteverdi through to Hubert Parry and Benjamin Britten.
Fauré’s Requiem, one of the most loved choral masterpieces usually performed with an orchestra, will be performed with organ, and forms the centre-piece of the larger program.
Highlights of the tour will be three Christmas carols by Australian composers, all of which were commissioned by Cleobury.