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Choir

About the Choir

17 SMLS Group

 

The Choir of King’s College London is one of the leading university choirs in England. Following the founding of King’s College London in 1829, the present chapel was added in 1864, designed by George Gilbert Scott. Under the guidance of the College Organist William Henry Monk, the chapel was equipped with a new ‘Father Willis’ organ, and a choir established to lead the worship. From this point, choral music has formed an integral part of worship at the university. The choir has existed in its present form since 1945, and today consists of some thirty choral scholars reading a variety of subjects.

The choir’s principal role at King’s is to provide music for chapel worship, with weekly Eucharist and Evensong offered during term, as well as various other services. Services from the chapel are frequently broadcast on BBC Radio; the Epiphany Carols Service was broadcast on Radio 3 in January 2017. The choir also regularly sings for worship outside the university, including at Westminster Abbey and St. Paul’s Cathedral.

In addition, the choir gives many concert performances. Recent festival appearances in England include the Spitalfields Festival, Oundle International Festival, and the Christmas Festival at St. John’s Smith Square. In June 2017 it joined forces with Britten Sinfonia to give the UK premiere of Samuel Barber’s The Lovers (Chamber Version) at Kings Place, the performance described in The Times as ‘sung beautifully, the voices judiciously blended’. The choir tours widely, with recent destinations including Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, and the USA. In July 2017 it served as choir-in-residence for the northeast convention of American Guild of Organists and Royal Canadian College of Organists in Montreal.

The choir has made many recordings, and enjoys an ongoing relationship with Delphian Records. Recent recordings have attracted favourable reviews, described in BBC Music Magazine as ‘astonishing’ and ‘a choir as passionate as it is disciplined’, featuring as the Editor’s Choice in Gramophone, and receiving five stars from Choir and Organ. 2017 saw a collaboration with Mary Bevan, Marcus Farnsworth, James Baillieu and Richard Uttley to record the German Requiem of Johannes Brahms in its 1872 English-language setting for Delphian Records. 

Following some twenty years under the leadership of David Trendell FKC, the choir has been directed since 2015 by Joseph Fort. 

 

Past Choral Scholars

Many choral scholars have gone on to pursue postgraduate vocal studies at a conservatoire. They have subsequently had successful professional careers as soloists or as members of prestigious ensembles such as Stile Antico, the Gabrieli Consort and Polyphony.

They include Benedict HymasAmy PayneJonathan McGovern, Timothy EndThomas Hobbs and Anna Stéphany.

 

Directors of the Chapel Choir

Harold Last (1945-1952)

E. H. Warrell MBE FKC (1953-1991)

David Trendell FKC (1992-2014)

Gareth Wilson (Nov 2014 - Aug 2015)

Joseph Fort (2015 - present)

 

17 Col Chapel Group

17 Mixed Singing

Photograph by Kaupo Kikkas

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