News

Aarhus Symfonisk Sal

The Choir are soon to depart for a short tour of Denmark to perform Haydn's Creation in both Aarhus and Herning

The St John's College Organ

Congratulations to Mr Richard Gowers and Ms Polina Sosnina who are the joint winners of the 2017 Brian Runnett Competition.

St John's College Organ

We're thrilled that St John's Assistant Organist Joseph Wicks has been appointed Assistant Director of Music at Truro Cathedral, and former Organ Student Paul Provost as Rector Chori of Southwell Minster.

BBC Music Magazine Award

Voting is now open for the 2017 BBC Music Magazine Awards, and Deo - our recent recording of Jonathan Harvey's works - has been nominated in the Choral category

John Challenger

As our Director Andrew Nethsingha takes a sabbatical during the Lent Term, we are very pleased to welcome back former St John's Organ Scholar John Challenger as Acting Director of Music.

Dom St Blasien

Our Christmas concert season - taking us from London, across Germany and to the south of France - was a tremendous experience for the Choir

The Choir of St John's College, Cambridge

An unprecedented number of the Gentlemen of the Choir - 13 in all - are involved in both Britten's The Rape of Lucretia and Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress, both of which are performed in Cambridge this term.

Iestyn Davies

Congratulations to former St John's Choral Scholar, Iestyn Davies, on being awarded an MBE in the 2017 New Year's Honours List

Classic FM

Last week Classic FM released a video of the Choir performing Bob Chilcott's 'The Shepherd's Carol,' which has already received over 50,000 views! Have a watch on Facebook.

Dom St Blasien

This festive season, the Choir is setting out on a tour of many fantastic venues across Germany and France, where we'll sing repertoire including many of the tracks featured on our latest CD, 'Christmas with St John's.'

'Christmas with St John's'

We are delighted that 'Christmas with St John's has made no. 8 in the Specialist Classical Charts in its first week of release!

Christmas with St John's

'Christmas with St John's' is available today!

Following on from the Choir’s success in promoting new and exciting repertoire, its most recent festive recording features works from composers including Michael Finnissy, who’s piece John the Baptist was commissioned for the Choirs’ well-known Advent broadcast on BBC Radio 3. Bob Chilcott’s The Shepherd’s Carol was commissioned by Stephen Cleobury, who along with John Scott – composer of Creator of the Stars of Night – were once Organ Scholars at St John’s.

St John’s College Choir is pleased to announce that Christmas with St John's, a brand new recording of traditional and contemporary music for the Advent and Christmas seasons, will be released this year.

The Choir is well-known for its annual Advent broadcast on BBC Radio Three and the recording includes Michael Finnissy’s John the Baptist, written especially for this service in 2014.

Talented young vocalists from around the UK will converge on Cambridge next week for a unique summer school which combines opportunities to experience university life with a chance to learn from leaders in the field.

The Cambridge Choral Course is being hosted by St John’s College, University of Cambridge, from 23 to 30 August. It is part of a wider national programme, aimed at young people aged 16-20 who have a talent and passion for singing and music.

BBC Radio 3 presenter Andrew McGregor pronounced the Choir's recently released collection of music by Jonathan Harvey, "absolutely outstanding" on his BBC Radio 3 programme on Saturday 16 July.

The programme also played a track from the disc, Harvey's Nunc Dimittis and went on to describe the “staggeringly accurate and polished performances” as “stunningly theatrical”.

 

Recording sessions began in the College Chapel on 11 July for a new disc due for release in 2017.

Including masses by Poulenc and Kodaly and music by Janacek, the disc will be the third by the Choir to be released on St John's College's newly-launched recording imprint on Signum Classics.

Stanford University Chorale visited St John's College in June for a well-received weekend's residency, including two Evensongs, on Friday and Saturday 17 & 18 June, and a concert in Chapel on Sunday 19.  

Hailing from Palo Alto, California, the Chorale is an acclaimed mixed voice ensemble, whose organist is former St John's Organ Scholar Robert Huw Morgan.  As well as a homecoming visit for him, the residency was also a chance for the singers to renew acquaintances with the College Choir after the two groups' joint concert in California earlier this year.

 

The Choir's new recording, 'Deo' has received an Editor's Choice recommendation in Gramophone, after an excellent review.

The disc, which came out in May, has already earned much critical acclaim, including a five-star review in The Observer and CD of the Month in Choir and Organ, and forms the first recording for the College's new recording label, an imprint on Signum Classics.

You can read the full review here 

Benjamin Comeau, recent Organ Scholar of Girton College, has been commissioned to write a new work for men's voices. This piece, entitled 'Vanity of Vanities' received its first performance at Evensong on Wednesday 8 June.
The commission, by the Master and Fellows of St John's College, has been generously supported by Paul and Joanna Lindsell and Jeremy Podger.

The Choir's brand new recording of music by Jonathan Harvey has gone straight into the classical charts at #2 in its release week!

It has also garnered wide critical acclaim, including this selection of excellent reviews:

***** The Observer “ecstatic”  “richly challenging”  “The Choir tackles it all woth confidence and clarity”

***** Planet Hugill “a terrific disc”  “These are performances to treasure, of great intensity and remarkable power”

The Choir was proud to give the first performance of the 'St John's Service' by Nico Muhly on Sunday 29 May.

Described by The Guardian as “one of the most celebrated and sought-after classical composers of the last decade” Muhly has written for the Metropolitan Opera and Wigmore Hall and for the Hillard Ensemble and Tallis Scholars.

This new work for St John's represents the continuation of the Choir's dedicated commitment to new music and to enriching the liturgical choral repertoire.

The Choir's newest recording was released on Friday, with a special Evensong and Reception.

'Deo' features music by Jonathan Harvey, who died in 2012, including 'The Annunciation' which was written especially for the College's Qunincentenary celebrations and was heard as the introit at Friday's service.

Jonathan Harvey’s experience of church music began as a chorister at St Michael’s College, Tenbury, where he sang 13 services each week. He recalled one particular loud chord in a post-service organ improvisation as being a moment of great epiphany in which he knew he would be a composer. I myself was also brought up in the idyllic surroundings of St Michael’s, where my father was Organist in the 1960s. Harvey was later an undergraduate here at St John’s.

The College's traditional Ascension Day service took place on 5 May.  Attended by pupils and staff of St John's College School, the service begins in Chapel, then moves outside to First Court, where the assembled congregation hears the Ascension Day Carol sung from the Chapel tower at noon.  There was beautiful sunshine this year and we were pleased to welcome many visitors to enjoy the spectacle the service and the singing!

Observer reviewer Fiona Maddocks has awarded the Choir's new CD 'Deo', choral music by Jonathan Harvey, five stars in a review published on Sunday.  

Calling the disc 'ecstatic' and 'richly challenging', Maddocks draws attention to the close links between Harvey and the College, and also the parallels between the lives of the composer and Director of Music Andrew Nethsingha.  

Read the full review.

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Latest webcast

Recorded on
5 March 2017

This week's webcast of Choral Evensong features Leighton's extraordinary The Second Service and Poulenc's beautiful setting of Vinea mea electa.

Choral singing comes no better

Fiona Maddocks, The Observer