Choral & Opera

Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge

Introduction

The Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge is one of the finest choirs of men and boys in the world, known and loved by millions from its recordings, broadcasts and concert tours. A cornerstone of the great English choral tradition since the 1670s, it is recognised for its distinctive, rich and expressive sound.  The Director of Music is Andrew Nethsingha, who follows in a line of eminent predecessors, most recently Dr George Guest, Dr Christopher Robinson and Dr David Hill.

The Choir is made up of 20 Choristers and Probationers who are educated at St John’s College School. The alto, tenor and bass parts are usually taken by 15 Choral Scholars who are students in the University, with two Organ Scholars assisting in the daily running of the Choir. Services in the College Chapel follow the Cathedral tradition of the Church of England, with Evensong six days a week during term and Sung Eucharist on Sunday mornings.

Under Andrew Nethsingha’s direction, the singers receive a unique musical education in an extremely varied breadth of repertoire, from Renaissance polyphony and Haydn masses to 20th century music. In 2011, St John’s Sinfonia was established, a professional period ensemble formed with Margaret Faultless, with which the Choir gives termly liturgical performances of Bach cantatas. Also renowned for championing contemporary music, Andrew Nethsingha has commissioned nearly 40 pieces, including works by James Burton, Michael Finnissy, John McCabe, Philip Moore, Nico Muhly, Tim Watts, James Welland and Alex Woolf.

The Choir’s services are frequently broadcast on BBC Radio and they are also committed to engaging with a wide audience through digital innovations. St John’s was the first British choir to broadcast its services live in weekly webcasts, and in 2011 it launched SJC Live, a unique online archive for music lovers and choirmasters.

On the concert platform, the Choir regularly performs in high-profile venues around the UK, with orchestras and ensembles including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the English Chamber Orchestra and the Philharmonia Orchestra. Its busy international touring schedule includes the USA, Canada, Brazil, South Africa, Japan, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore and Europe.

Over many years, the Choir has amassed an extensive, highly acclaimed discography on several labels, including Decca, EMI, Naxos and Hyperion. Their recent recordings for Chandos Records, with music spanning 500 years, have included works by Purcell, Mendelssohn, Howells, Panufnik, Messiaen and previously unrecorded motets by Lassus. Recently, a new venture has been embarked upon; the St John’s College imprint on Signum Records.  The imprint will release forthcoming recordings by the Choir, as well as young talent from the College and prominent alumni. The label’s first release, Deo, a collection of music by the contemporary composer Jonathan Harvey, has received five-star reviews in The Observer and BBC Music Magazine, and an Editor’s Choice selection in Gramophone Magazine.


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Introduction

The Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge is one of the finest choirs of men and boys in the world, known and loved by millions from its recordings, broadcasts and concert tours. A cornerstone of the great English choral tradition since the 1670s, it is recognised for its distinctive, rich and expressive sound.  The Director of Music is Andrew Nethsingha, who follows in a line of eminent predecessors, most recently Dr George Guest, Dr Christopher Robinson and Dr David Hill.

The Choir is made up of 20 Choristers and Probationers who are educated at St John’s College School. The alto, tenor and bass parts are usually taken by 15 Choral Scholars who are students in the University, with two Organ Scholars assisting in the daily running of the Choir. Services in the College Chapel follow the Cathedral tradition of the Church of England, with Evensong six days a week during term and Sung Eucharist on Sunday mornings.

Under Andrew Nethsingha’s direction, the singers receive a unique musical education in an extremely varied breadth of repertoire, from Renaissance polyphony and Haydn masses to 20th century music. In 2011, St John’s Sinfonia was established, a professional period ensemble formed with Margaret Faultless, with which the Choir gives termly liturgical performances of Bach cantatas. Also renowned for championing contemporary music, Andrew Nethsingha has commissioned nearly 40 pieces, including works by James Burton, Michael Finnissy, John McCabe, Philip Moore, Nico Muhly, Tim Watts, James Welland and Alex Woolf.

The Choir’s services are frequently broadcast on BBC Radio and they are also committed to engaging with a wide audience through digital innovations. St John’s was the first British choir to broadcast its services live in weekly webcasts, and in 2011 it launched SJC Live, a unique online archive for music lovers and choirmasters.

On the concert platform, the Choir regularly performs in high-profile venues around the UK, with orchestras and ensembles including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the English Chamber Orchestra and the Philharmonia Orchestra. Its busy international touring schedule includes the USA, Canada, Brazil, South Africa, Japan, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore and Europe.

Over many years, the Choir has amassed an extensive, highly acclaimed discography on several labels, including Decca, EMI, Naxos and Hyperion. Their recent recordings for Chandos Records, with music spanning 500 years, have included works by Purcell, Mendelssohn, Howells, Panufnik, Messiaen and previously unrecorded motets by Lassus. Recently, a new venture has been embarked upon; the St John’s College imprint on Signum Records.  The imprint will release forthcoming recordings by the Choir, as well as young talent from the College and prominent alumni. The label’s first release, Deo, a collection of music by the contemporary composer Jonathan Harvey, has received five-star reviews in The Observer and BBC Music Magazine, and an Editor’s Choice selection in Gramophone Magazine.

Performance Schedule

 
  • 11:00 16 Dec 2018 Royal Concertgebouw, AMSTERDAM More info  

    Programme

    The Shepherd’s Carol Bob Chilcott
    Ave Rex, op. 45 William Mathias
    The Lamb John Tavener
    Fantasia on Christmas Carols Ralph Vaughan Williams
    Adam lay ybounden Giles Swayne
    Tomorrow shall be my dancing day Lane
    Organ Solo: Chorale Prelude ‘In dulci jubilo’, BWV 729 J.S. Bach
    Quatre motets pour le temps de Noël Francis Poulenc
    Silent Night Franz Gruber
    Ding Dong! Merrily on High (arr. Mack Wilberg)Traditional
    O Come, All Ye Faithful (arr. David Willcocks) Traditional

DEO

The Choir’s recent discs have been released by Chandos Records, but this year they have started a partnership with Signum Records. The St John’s Cambridge imprint will feature all forthcoming recordings by the Choir, as well as young talent from the College and prominent alumni. The label’s first release, Deo, a collection of music by the contemporary composer Jonathan Harvey, entered the specialist classical charts in May 2016 at number two.  It was also critically acclaimed, with five-star reviews in The Observer and BBC Music Magazine, and an Editor’s Choice selection in Gramophone Magazine.

“This recording is outstanding on every count: remarkable and under-performed repertoire, beautifully performed and recorded.!
Gramophone Magazine, July 2016

“This album of liturgical choral music pays wonderful tribute to Harvey. The Choir of St John’s tackles all with confidence and clarity.”
Observer, May 2016

SJC Live

The Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge, was the first Choir of its kind to broadcast weekly webcasts of its services and in 2011 launched SJC Live, a unique online archive.