English organist and music director Stephen Cleobury was born in Bromley on 31 December 1948. He was a chorister at Worcester Cathedral whilst studying at King's School Worcester, then organ scholar at St John's College Cambridge.
A series of jobs - sub-organist at Westminster Abbey, master of music at Westminster Cathedral. the first Anglican in that Catholic position, and head of music at St Matthew's Church, Northampton and Northampton Grammar School - led him eventually back to Cambridge and his long-term appointment (1982-2019) as director of music at King's College, where he began commissioning modern works, including the tradition of a new carol composition for the annual Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols on Christmas Eve. Contributing composers included Thomas Adès, Harrison Birtwistle, John Tavener, Mark-Anthony Turnage and Judith Weir. He also established an Easter festival and a concert series throughout the year at King's College.
During this time he was also conductor of Cambridge University Musical Society (1983-2009), president of the Royal College of Organists (1990-92), chief conductor of the BBC Singers (1995-2007) and a visiting fellow at Louisiana State University School of Music (2013-14).
Stephen Cleobury died in York on St Cecilia's Day, 22 November 2019, aged seventy, following a long battle with cancer.
Ensemble. Centres of Excellence - Roderic Dunnett looks back to the 2017 Three Choirs Festival at Worcester, and forward to 2018 in Hereford
CD Spotlight. Imitative Textures - Choral music by Giaches de Wert, heard by Robert Anderson. 'The singing is of the standard King's College effortlessly produces.'
Ensemble. Thought-provoking - Music by Harle and Maxwell Davies, heard by Malcolm Miller
CD Spotlight. Striking Beauty - Rachmaninov's Vespers, enjoyed by Howard Smith. '... marvellous tonal exactitude, pellucid control, superb diction ...'