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About The Judges

Chair: Stephen Cleobury CBE

Director of Music, Choir of King's College, Cambridge

Stephen Cleobury has for over thirty years been associated, as Director of Music, with one of the world’s most famous choirs, that of King’s College, Cambridge. His work at King’s has brought him into fruitful relationships with many leading orchestras and soloists, among them the Academy of Ancient Music and the Philharmonia. He complements and refreshes his work in Cambridge through the many other musical activities in which he engages.

At King’s, he has sought to maintain and enhance the reputation of the renowned Choir, considerably broadening the daily service repertoire, commissioning new music from leading composers, principally for A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, and developing its activities in broadcasting, recording and touring. A highlight of 2014 was a nationwide tour in Australia. He has conceived and introduced the highly successful annual festival, Easter at King’s, from which the BBC regularly broadcasts, and, in its wake, a series of high-profile performances throughout the year, Concerts at King’s. In the course of his work at King’s he has made many arrangements of carols and hymns, a selection of which will be published in 2014 by Edition Peters in an anthology, Hymns from King’s.

As a sought-after guest conductor, masterclass leader and lecturer, he frequently works with visiting choirs in Cambridge as well as on his travels. This season he will appear in Madrid, Stockholm, Paris, Berlin, Rome, as well as in the US and the UK.

Between 1995 and 2007 he was Chief Conductor of the BBC Singers and since then has been Conductor Laureate. With the Singers he relished the opportunity to showcase challenging contemporary music and gave a number of important premieres. His many recordings with the Singers include albums of Tippett, Richard Strauss and Bach. This year he takes part in the celebrations surrounding the 90th anniversary of the Singers.

From 1983 to 2009 he was Conductor of the Cambridge University Musical Society, one of the world's oldest music societies, a role in which he not only conducted many orchestral works, but also most of the major works for chorus and orchestra. He continues to work with the chorus and orchestra, with whom he will perform Britten War Requiem in November 2014. His recordings with CUMS include Verdi Quattro Pezzi Sacri and Goehr The Death of Moses. As part of the 800thanniversary celebrations of Cambridge University he gave the premiere of The Sorcerer’s Mirror by Peter Maxwell Davies.

Performances as an organ recitalist also find him travelling the world. His broadcasts for BBC Radio 3 have included Bach Clavierübung Pt.3 and the Leipzig Chorale Preludes. CDs recorded on the organ of King’s include albums of music by Howells and Elgar, and Priory Records have issued a DVD of popular repertoire. The latest release, due in 2015 on the recently launched King's College label, is of Liszt and Reubke.

He was created CBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours of 2009.

John Rutter

John Rutter was born in London in 1945 and studied music at Clare College, Cambridge. His compositions embrace choral, orchestral, and instrumental music, and he has co-edited various choral anthologies including four Carols for Choirs volumes with Sir David Willcocks and the Oxford Choral Classics series. From 1975-9 he was Director of Music at Clare College, and in 1981 formed his own choir, the Cambridge Singers, as a professional chamber choir primarily dedicated to recording.

He now divides his time between composition and conducting, and has guest-conducted or lectured at many concert halls, universities, churches, music festivals, and conferences in Europe, Scandinavia, and North America. He is an honorary Fellow of Westminster Choir College, Princeton, a Fellow of the Guild of Church Musicians, and in 1996 was awarded a Lambeth Doctorate of Music. In 2002 his setting of Psalm 150, commissioned for the Queen's Golden Jubilee, was performed at the Service of Thanksgiving in St Paul's Cathedral, London.

Rutter's choral works, including his Requiem and Gloria, are frequently performed in Europe, the USA, and Australasia. In 2003 Mass of the Children, a major work for adult and children's choir, soloists, and orchestra, was premièred in New York's Carnegie Hall conducted by the composer.

John Rutter's music has been widely recorded and is available on many record labels including Universal, Naxos, and Hyperion. The Cambridge Singers have recorded many of John Rutter's works on the Collegium Records label.

Christopher Gabbitas

Now in his twelfth season with The King's Singers, Christopher began his musical career as a cathedral chorister at the ancient cathedral of Rochester in Kent. Five years of daily services fostered a deep love of choral music, especially the process of learning how to sing in harmony with those around you ("vertical thinking" within a score) that stood him in good stead when he joined the KS back in 2004. Having worked as a solicitor in London for three years by this point, it was a dream come true to audition for and subsequently be offered the position of second baritone within The King's Singers.

Highlights of his career with the group so far have included winning two Grammy Awards and performing in many of the world's top concert halls, his favourite possibly remaining the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam - although often it's the smallest church that can provide the most amazing atmosphere for making music!

Off-stage, Chris has enjoyed working as a presenter for the BBC in recent years (hosting music-related documentaries) and maintains a growing consultancy schedule in which he visits school and university ensembles across the world to help them with their music-making. In 2015 he is due to start a series of keynote speaking engagements in London, drawing parallels between performing on the concert platform and performing in the office environment. Believing strongly in the benefits of music within education and committed to supporting young musicians, Chris has also used his legal background to advise and serve as a Trustee with musical charities, and hopes to work more in this area in the future.

When not touring, Chris can be found enjoying food, wine and films with his ever-supportive wife, Stephanie, and experiencing the continuing education that is fatherhood to three young daughters, at their home on the South Downs in Sussex.

Richard Causton

Richard Causton studied at the University of York, the Royal College of Music and the Scuola Civica in Milan. He has worked with ensembles such as the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Sinfonieorchester Basel, Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Saarbrücken, London Sinfonietta, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, Britten Sinfonia and the Nash Ensemble. His music has been recorded on the NMC, Metier, Delphian and London Sinfonietta labels.

In 1997 he was awarded the Mendelssohn Scholarship, which enabled him to study in Milan with Franco Donatoni. Other distinctions include First Prize in the Third International ‘Nuove Sincronie’ Composition Competition, a British Composer Award and a Royal Philharmonic Society Award. In 2003-5, Causton was Fellow in the Creative Arts at Trinity College, Cambridge.

In addition to composition, Causton writes and lectures on Italian contemporary music and regularly broadcasts for Italian radio (RAI Radio 3).

Recent works include Twenty-Seven Heavens, for orchestra, commissioned as part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad and premièred at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw under the direction of Gianandrea Noseda, as well as solo pieces for pianist Piotr Anderszewski and cellist Anssi Karttunen.

In October 2012, Causton took up the newly-created post of Lecturer in Composition at the University of Cambridge. He is currently a House Composer at English National Opera and is also working on a BBC commission for the Nash Ensemble.

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