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Stephen Cleobury

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An English Mass: III. Sursum corda Stephen Cleobury, Choir of King's College, Cambridge, Britten Sinfonia 00:58
Tallis: Lamentations of Jeremiah I Choir of King's College, Cambridge, Stephen Cleobury, Thomas Tallis 07:33
Rutter: Requiem: Pie Jesu Choir of King's College, Cambridge, Stephen Cleobury, Edward Saklatvala 03:35
Tallis: Lamentations of Jeremiah II Choir of King's College, Cambridge, Stephen Cleobury, Thomas Tallis 12:46
Abide With Me (Eventide) Stephen Cleobury, Choir of King's College, Cambridge, Tom Etheridge 04:37
Wagner: Here Comes the Bride Stephen Cleobury, Richard Wagner 01:51
Psalm 121 (I will lift up mine eyes) Stephen Cleobury, Choir of King's College, Cambridge 02:33
Holst: I Vow to Thee, My Country Choir of King's College, Cambridge, Peter Stevens, Stephen Cleobury 02:33
Handel: Coronation Anthem No. 3, HWV 260 "The King Shall Rejoice": II. Exceeding Glad Shall He Be Choir of King's College, Cambridge, Academy of Ancient Music, Stephen Cleobury, Alastair Ross 02:54
ミゼレーレ : Allegri: Miserere Saul Quirke, Westminster Cathedral Boys Choir, Stephen Cleobury 11:14

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Biography

Organist and conductor Sir Stephen Cleobury began his musical life as a chorister at Worcester Cathedral with his brother Nicholas, who also became a conductor. He went on to study music and became organ scholar of St. John's College, Cambridge. After graduating, he became organist and head of music at St. Matthew's in Northampton and at Northampton Grammar School, before moving to London and taking up the position of sub-organist at Westminster Abbey in 1974. In 1979, he became the first Anglican Master of Music at Westminster Cathedral, before moving back to Cambridge in 1982 to take up the post of director of music at King's College, Cambridge, where he remained until his retirement in 2019.

Cleobury was renowned for introducing new music into the repertoire of the world famous King's College Choir, who celebrate evensong every night and sing the highly respected 'Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols' which is broadcast live every Christmas Eve. He began a tradition of commissioning a new carol every year for this, which led him to be recognised as an advocate for new music, for changing the traditional feel of the service, and influencing the direction of contemporary choral writing. In addition to his role at King's College, Cleobury was conductor of Cambridge University Music Society from 1983-2009 which produced many memorable performances including Mahler's 'Symphony No. 8' in the Royal Albert Hall in 1999 and Britten's 'War Requiem' in Coventry Cathedral in 2000 to mark the 60th anniversary of its bombing. Another highlight was the performance of a new composition about the threat of climate change, 'The Sorcerer's Mirror' by Peter Maxwell Davies in 2009.

Cleobury was conductor of the BBC Singers from 1995 to 2007 and was honorary principal conductor of the East Anglia Chamber Orchestra, a local ensemble of amateur musicians. As an organist, he travelled the world performing solo recitals in a wide variety of venues and recording organ works by composers such as Bach, Howells, Elgar and Liszt. His recording output with King's College Choir was extensive and from 2012 recordings were released on the choir's own label. As director of music at King's College, Cleobury initiated a series of concerts called 'Concerts at King's' which attracted performers of the highest calibre to perform in the College throughout the year. Artists included singer Bryn Terfel, trumpeter Alison Balsom and ensembles including the Academy of Ancient Music, Monteverdi Choir and Vienna Boys' Choir. Cleobury was made a CBE in 2009 and knighted in 2019 for services to music. He conducted his final 'Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols' on its centenary in 2018. He died on 22nd November 2019 after battling cancer.