Stephen Cleobury is a highly versatile musician who relishes the opportunities he has to appear in a variety of roles and across a broad range of repertoire.
As Director of Music at King’s College, Cambridge and Conductor Laureate of the BBC Singers, he is associated with two of Britain’s most famous choirs and works with leading symphony orchestras and period instrument ensembles.
At King’s he has sought to maintain and enhance the reputation of the world-famous Choir, widening the daily service repertoire, commissioning new music from leading composers, and developing its activities in broadcasting, recording and touring. In March 2005, he instigated the highly successful annual festival, Easter at King’s, from which the BBC regularly broadcasts. In 2009, King’s Choir and the Academy of Ancient Music gave the first ever live simultaneous transmission of a concert (Handel Messiah) direct into cinemas across Europe and North America. In the wake of Easter at King’s, Stephen founded Concerts at King’s, a series of performances throughout the year. One of the highlights of the 2009-2010 season’s Concerts at King’s was a concert featuring Bryn Terfel, with the Philharmonia Orchestra, King’s Choir, and the Cambridge University Music Society Chorus under Stephen’s direction in Fauré Requiem.
The many premières Stephen has given with the BBC Singers include Giles Swayne Havoc, Harrison Birtwistle Ring Dance of the Nazarene, both in the Royal Albert Hall at the Proms, Edward Cowie Gaia and Errolyn Wallen Our English Heart.
For 26 years he was Conductor of the Cambridge University Musical Society, one of the UK’s oldest music societies, a role in which he has directed the major works for chorus and orchestra as well as symphonic repertoire, highlights including Mahler Symphony No. 8 in the Royal Albert Hall and Britten War Requiem in Coventry Cathedral on the 50th anniversary of its bombing. In 2009, as part of the University’s 800th anniversary celebrations, he directed CUMS in the première of Peter Maxwell Davies The Sorcerer’s Mirror in Cambridge; the London première followed at the City of London Festival in a concert which also included the première of John Harle City Solstice, given by King’s College Choir.
As an organ recitalist, Stephen has played in venues as diverse as the Cultural Centre, Hong Kong, the Conference Centre of the Church of the Latter Day Saints, Salt Lake City, and Haderslev Cathedral in Denmark. He gave the première of Judith Bingham’s Organ Concerto, Jacob’s Ladder, at the American Guild of Organists’ Convention in Minneapolis-St Paul, and the final concert in Westminster Cathedral recital series. His latest recording project for organ was a DVD of mixed repertoire on the King’s organ for Priory Records, was released last year and was DVD of the Month in Gramophone magazine.
Stephen is a past President of the Royal College of Organists and of the Incorporated Association of Organists. He was appointed C.B.E. in the Queen’s Birthday Honours of 2009.
Stephen will appear in the United States in 2016 in a March baroque residency with Seattle Symphony and Northwest Boychoir and in solo recital for the Seattle Symphony’s organ recital series. He also leads TrebleFest at Trinity Cathedral and gives a solo organ recital at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, both in Cleveland, Ohio, February 2016.