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Artist Hyperion Records
Cleobury, Sir Stephen (conductor)
© Paul Grover

Sir Stephen Cleobury (conductor)

For over 35 years, Sir Stephen Cleobury was associated with one of the world’s most famous choirs, that of King’s College, Cambridge. His work at King’s brought him into fruitful relationships with many leading orchestras and soloists, among them the Philharmonia Orchestra, the AAM, Britten Sinfonia, the OAE, and the BBC Concert Orchestra. He complemented and refreshed his work in Cambridge through the many other musical activities in which he engaged throughout the world.

At King’s, he sought to enhance the reputation of the world-famous Choir, broadening considerably the daily service repertoire, commissioning new music from leading composers and developing its activities in broadcasting, recording and touring. He introduced the highly successful annual festival, Easter at King’s, from which the BBC regularly broadcasts, and, in its wake, a series of high-profile performances throughout the year, Concerts at King’s.

From 1995 to 2007 he was Chief Conductor of the BBC Singers, following which he became Conductor Laureate. Since 1983 he was closely involved in the Cambridge University Musical Society, one of the UK’s oldest music societies, where he nurtured generations of young talent. He retired from CUMS in 2016, becoming Conductor Laureate.

Beyond Cambridge he held many prestigious posts in tandem with his position at King’s. Until 2008 he was a member of the Royal College of Organists, of which he had also been President. He was Warden of the Solo Performers’ section of the Incorporated Society of Musicians and President of the Incorporated Association of Organists; he was also Chairman of the IAO Benevolent Fund, which seeks to support organists and church musicians in need. He was President of the Friends of Cathedral Music and of the Herbert Howells Society. King’s College announced in 2018 that Sir Stephen would retire in September 2019 after 37 years in post. He was knighted in the 2019 Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to choral music.

Sir Stephen died in York, to which he had recently moved, on St Cecilia’s Day, 22 November 2019, following a long illness. The news of Stephen’s death was received with great sadness by so many around the world who had worked with him, learned from him, or simply been touched by his music.


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