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. Directors of Music have included Charles Villiers Stanford, Alan Gray, Raymond Leppard and Richard Marlow. Female voices were introduced in the 1980s by Richard Marlow, in a new departure for Cambridge choral music. Stephen Layton has been Director of Music since 2006.
During term the Choir’s main focus is the singing of the liturgy in the College Chapel, exploring a wide-ranging repertoire from both Catholic and Protestant traditions. All services from Trinity College Chapel are webcast live and available to listen again on the Choir website. A searchable archive of over 6,000 musical tracks recorded live in services over the last few years is also available.
“Sitting front and center at a recent Trinity Choir of Cambridge concert…was, sonically speaking, a heavenly experience.”The New York Times
Outside term, the Choir’s programme of performances has included BBC broadcasts of Bach’s Mass in B Minor and Christmas Oratorio with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. Further engagements include 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.
The Choir’s extensive discography includes Howells’ Collegium Regale, which won Australia’s Limelight Recording of the Year in 2016; Howells’ Requiem & other works, which won a Gramophone Award in 2012; and Beyond All Mortal Dreams, settings of contemporary American a cappella music, which was nominated for a Grammy Award in the same year. Five of the Choir’s recordings have been nominated for Gramophone Awards, including two releases from 2015: Northern Lights, a recording of the choral music of the Latvian composer Eriks Ešenvalds; and Kenneth Leighton’s Crucifixus & other works. The Choir’s most recent release is a recording of sacred choral music by Cecilia McDowall.
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. Recent concerts in North America include sold-out performances at the National Conventions of the American Guild of Organists and the Royal Canadian College of Organists. The Choir has undertaken two month-long nationwide tours of Australia as part of the Musica Viva International Concert Season, in 2010 and 2016.
“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
The conductor Stephen Layton is Director of Music at Trinity College Cambridge