The Choir of Trinity College Cambridge

The Choir of Trinity College Cambridge

Voted the fifth best choir in the world in Gramophone magazine’s ‘20 Greatest Choirs’, The Choir of Trinity College Cambridge comprises around thirty Choral Scholars and two Organ Scholars, all of whom are students at the University.

The College’s choral tradition dates back to the all-male choir of the fourteenth century, when former Chapel Royal choristers studied in King’s Hall which later became part of Trinity College. Female voices were introduced by Richard Marlow in the 1980s. In a further new departure for Cambridge, under Stephen Layton (Director of Music from 2006-23) the Choir instituted a pioneering livestreaming programme of its Chapel services. Steven Grahl was appointed Director of Music in January 2024, continuing a distinguished line of musicians that includes Charles Villiers Stanford, Alan Gray, Raymond Leppard, Richard Marlow and Stephen Layton.

During term, the Choir’s main focus is the singing of the liturgy in the College Chapel, exploring a wide-ranging repertoire drawn from both Catholic and Protestant traditions. Outside term, the Choir’s programme of performances and recordings has included BBC broadcasts of Bach’s Mass in B minor and Christmas Oratorio with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment in London, Haydn’s Nelson Mass with the City of London Sinfonia in Aldeburgh and Cambridge, Poulenc’s Gloria with Britten Sinfonia in Norwich Cathedral, and Handel’s Dettingen Te Deum with the Academy of Ancient Music in London and Cambridge.

Sitting front and center at a recent Trinity Choir of Cambridge concert…was, sonically speaking, a heavenly experience.”

The New York Times

Highlights of the Choir’s extensive discography include Howells’s Collegium Regale, which won Australia’s Limelight Recording of the Year in 2016; Howells’s Requiem and other works, which won a Gramophone Award in 2012; and Beyond all mortal dreams, settings of contemporary American a cappella music, nominated for a US Grammy Award in the same year. Five of the Choir’s recordings have been nominated for Gramophone Awards, including Northern Lights, a recording of choral music by the Latvian composer Eriks Ešenvalds; and Kenneth Leighton’s Crucifixus and other works.

An ambitious programme of tours has taken the Choir to destinations in Europe, the USA, Canada, South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Peru, and on two month-long nationwide tours of Australia as part of the Musica Viva International Concert Season.

In 2012, the Choir started audio livestreams of all services sung in Chapel. Video livestreaming commenced in 2019; since October 2022, all services are livestreamed in video. Every audio and video livestream since 2012 is available on the Choir’s website, which has a > searchable archive of over 7,500 musical tracks recorded live in services.

Virtuoso is the right word. I for one can’t immediately think of any more appropriate way of describing singing of such staggering accomplishment.”

BBC Music Magazine

Steven Grahl

Steven Grahl is Director of Music at Trinity College Cambridge.