Part of the Oxford Series on the Choralosophy Podcast
The next installment of the Oxford Series is THE John Rutter. We have all grown up knowing the name and legacy that John represents. In this conversation, my goal was to give you a peak behind the curtain revealing the human side of the legend. We discussed the value of choral music to the world, his growth and maturation as a composer, and what keeps his fire lit after all these years. John Rutter could stop composing today and his legacy would be established. What keeps him going? Tune in and find out! A bonus later in the episode is a man after my heart where John brings up the toxic nature of online discourse, and role choral music can play in healing.
John Rutter studied music at Clare College, Cambridge and first came to notice as a composer and arranger of Christmas carols and other choral pieces during those early years; today his compositions, including such concert-length works as Requiem, Magnificat, Mass of the Children, The Gift of Life, and Visions are performed around the world.
John edits the Oxford Choral Classics series, and, with Sir David Willcocks, co-edited four volumes of Carols for Choirs. In 1983 he formed his own choir The Cambridge Singers, with whom he has made numerous recordings on the Collegium Records label, and he appears regularly in several countries as a guest conductor and choral ambassador.
John holds a Lambeth Doctorate in Music, and was awarded a CBE for services to music in 2007.
An installment of the Oxford Series on the Choralosophy Podcast
In choral music, in a different way than in other types of music making, WE ARE the instrument. This creates a unique vulnerability within choral music. If my saxophone is flat, I can fix the ligature, and EXTERNALIZE the problem. With singers, we must still fix technical things, but we can’t escape INTERNALIZING the problem. In a profound way, the same reason many are attracted to singing, is the reason many are also afraid of it. There is power in conquering that fear.
In this open conversation, renowned composer, arranger and long time King’s Singer Bob Chilcott and I discuss performance anxiety, the unique properties of choral music, his transitions between performer and conductor, and much more. This conversation is a must listen!
As a composer, conductor, and singer, Bob Chilcott has enjoyed a lifelong association with choral music, first as a chorister and choral scholar in the choir of King’s College, Cambridge, and for 12 years as a member of the King’s Singers. He became a full-time composer in 1997, and has produced a large catalogue of music for all types of choirs which is published by Oxford University Press. His most often performed pieces include Can you hear me?, A Little Jazz Mass, Requiem, and the St John Passion.
Bob has conducted choirs in more than 30 countries worldwide and has worked with many thousands of amateur singers across the UK in a continuing series of Singing Days. For seven years he was conductor of the Chorus of The Royal College of Music in London and since 2002 he has been Principal Guest Conductor of the BBC Singers. In 2017 Bob was awarded an Honorary Fellowship by The Royal School of Church Music and in 2019 takes up the role of Principal Conductor Birmingham University Singers.
His music has been widely recorded by leading British choirs and groups including The King’s Singers, King’s College, Cambridge, Wells Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, The Sixteen, Tenebrae, The BBC Singers, The Bach Choir, Commotio, and Ora. In 2016 he enjoyed a collaboration with the celebrated singer Katie Melua on the album In Winter. In 2017 two new discs were released by Commotio and Choralis – All Good Things on Naxos, and In Winter’s Arms on Signum, his first recording collaboration with an American choir. Newer recording projects are with the BBC Singers, Houston Chamber Choir, and Wroclaw Philharmonic Choir.
Part of the Oxford Series on the Choralosophy Podcast
Join us in this thought provoking and jovial conversation in which Will and I discuss a comparison of the US and UK music education paradigms, his approach to the creative process, and the possible pitfalls of training “sight reading machines.” While this can result in singers with world class ability, it can also result in performances that, at times can lack humanity. We also discuss the influences on his music made by his eclectic listening tastes growing up. How do we stay connected to the humanity in the music making?
English composer Will Todd is well known for his beautiful and exciting music. His work encompasses choral works large and small, opera, musical theatre and orchestral pieces, as well as jazz compositions and chamber works.
His anthem, The Call of Wisdom, was performed at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations with a TV audience of 45 million people. His breakthrough work, Mass in Blue (originally titled Jazz Mass), has been performed hundreds of times all over the world. His arrangement of Amazing Grace was performed at President Obama’s Inauguration Day prayer service in 2013 and as part of the BBC’s Nelson Mandela Thanksgiving Service.
He has collaborated with award winning choirs The Sixteen and Tenebrae, as well as with the Welsh National Opera, Opera North, Opera Holland Park, BBC Singers, BBC Concert Orchestra, The Halle Orchestra, the English Chamber Orchestra, The Bach Choir, St Martin’s Voices.
His discography includes best selling choral discs Lux Et Veritas and The Call of Wisdom, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Mass in Blue, Ode to a Nightingale, Passion Music and Jazz Missa Brevis all on the Signum Classic label. His clarinet concerto recorded by the BBC Concert Orchestra and Emma Johnson was released in 2016His music is regularly broadcast on Classic FM, as well as on BBC Radio 3.
Will Todd’s music is valued for its melodic intensity and harmonic skill, often incorporating jazz colours, and his choral music is much in demand from amateur as well as professional performers.
Recent commissions include an oratorio for The Bach Choir written with former Children’s Laureate Michael Rosen and operas for Welsh National Opera and Opera North.