The King's Singers
The King's Singers are consistently welcomed on the world's great stages today and have been throughout their history. They are ambassadors for musical excellence around the globe and have an ongoing commitment to new music that has resulted in an extraordinary wealth of original works as well as leading to some fantastic collaborations.
The King's Singers were founded on May 1, 1968, when choral scholars who had recently graduated from King's College, Cambridge, gave a concert at the Queen Elizabeth Hall at the Southbank Centre in London. Formed in Cambridge, the group had been singing together for some years in a range of line- ups under a different name, but this London debut was the catalyst for a five-decade-long career. Their vocal make up was, by chance, two countertenors, a tenor, two baritones and a bass, and the group has never wavered from this formation since.
As former members of the Choir of King's College, Cambridge, traditional choral repertoire ran in the veins of the founding King's Singers, though what distinguished The King's Singers in the early years was their musical versatility. They were a weekly fixture on prime-time television, celebrating popular music never usually touched by choral ensembles, and their unique British charm, combined with their precise musical craft, captured audiences' hearts the world over. The group has regularly performed at venues from London's Royal Albert Hall to Sydney Opera House, Carnegie Hall to the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing, and the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam.
The King's Singers have accumulated many glowing reviews from the world's great musical publications, two Grammy® Awards from five nominations, an Emmy® Award, and place in Gramophone magazine's inaugural Hall of Fame, among numerous other awards.
In its early years, the group's sound was informed by the work of arrangers like Gordon Langford, Daryl Runswick and Goff Richards, many of whom had worked extensively with brass bands. Writing for voices with this specific experience helped to develop the blended 'close-harmony' sound that has become a hallmark for so many King's Singers performances and recordings since. In more recent times, individual King's Singers such as Philip Lawson and Bob Chilcott have written arrangements and compositions prolifically from within the group. This music sits alongside a panoply of commissioned works by many leading composers of the 20th and 21st centuries - including Sir John Tavener, Gyorgy Ligeti, Toru Takemitsu, John Rutter, Luciano Berio, Nico Muhly and Eric Whitacre. The group's mission has always been to expand their repertoire with the aim of helping feed new music into the canon for ensembles and choirs of all kinds around the world. Much of their commissioned repertoire and arrangements are available in print through the publisher Hal Leonard. Over two million items from their King's Singers collection have been shared with customers worldwide.
This ongoing commitment to spreading great music incorporates a lot of teaching, both on tour and at home. In 2020, The King's Singers will launch their new project 'Finding Harmony' - a movement to explore moments in history when songs have united nations, cultures and causes. While touring Finding Harmony around the world, they will continue to lead workshops & masterclasses across the world as they travel, including a week long residential Summer School in which the six King's Singers work with groups and individuals on the techniques of ensemble singing that have governed how they make music to this day. Their next Summer School will take place in the beautiful surroundings of Princeton University in June 2020.
2018 marked the 50th birthday of the group, and though the world may have changed a lot in the fifty years since the original King's Singers came together, today's group still aims to radiate the joy that singing brings them every day. In their fifty-first year, The King's Singers are as determined as ever to inspire audiences with virtuosity and their vision for an exciting musical future.