Choir of Trinity College, Cambridge

Choir of Trinity College, Cambridge

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The Choir of Trinity College, Cambridge
Trinity College, Cambridge
Trinity College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge. Trinity has more members than any other college in Cambridge or Oxford, with around 700 undergraduates, 430 graduates, and over 170 Fellows...

is a mixed choir whose primary function is to sing choral services in the Tudor chapel of Trinity College, Cambridge. The choir has taken various forms since its foundation, and has existed in its present form since 1982 when, shortly after the admission of girls to the University of Cambridge
University of Cambridge
The University of Cambridge is a public research university located in Cambridge, United Kingdom. It is the second-oldest university in both the United Kingdom and the English-speaking world , and the seventh-oldest globally...

, female voices were used for the first time for the choir’s top lines.

Four regular services are sung per week in full University Term, and the choir also sings Latin grace from the minstrels' gallery in the college’s Great Hall at a number of feasts.

In addition, the choir undertakes projects outside term-time such as recordings, concerts, radio broadcasts and tours.

The choir typically numbers between 25 and 35 members, most of whom are taken from within Trinity College.

Directors of Music


The current director of music is Stephen Layton
Stephen Layton
Stephen Layton is an English conductor.Layton was raised in Derby, where his father was a church organist. Layton learned the piano as a youth. He was a chorister at Winchester Cathedral, and subsequently won scholarships to Eton College and then King's College, Cambridge as an organ...

, who succeeded Richard Marlow
Richard Marlow
Richard Kenneth Marlow is an English choral conductor and organist. He was Organ Scholar and later Research Fellow of Selwyn College, Cambridge. He studied with Thurston Dart, writing a doctoral dissertation on the 17th-century virginalist, Giles Farnaby...

 in September 2006. By statute, the Director of Music is also a Category A fellow of the college.

History of the Choir


Trinity College's choral associations date back to the establishment of King's Hall by Edward II in 1317 (Chaucer's 'Solar Hall' in the Canterbury Tales). This College, incorporated by Edward III in 1337, was amalgamated with an adjacent early 14th century foundation, Michaelhouse, when Henry VIII
Henry VIII of England
Henry VIII was King of England from 21 April 1509 until his death. He was Lord, and later King, of Ireland, as well as continuing the nominal claim by the English monarchs to the Kingdom of France...

 created Trinity in 1546. From the time of Edward II, Chapel Royal
Chapel Royal
A Chapel Royal is a body of priests and singers who serve the spiritual needs of their sovereign wherever they are called upon to do so.-Austria:...

 choristers, on leaving the Court, customarily entered King's Hall to continue their academic studies, alongside other undergraduates training for service in the royal administration.

The constitution of the medieval chapel choir remains obscure, but the choral foundation which Mary Tudor established in 1553 (ten choristers, six lay-clerks, four priests, an organist, and a schoolmaster) survived essentially unchanged for over 300 years. Among the musicians associated with the choir during this time were the Tudor composers Thomas Preston
Thomas Preston (composer)
Thomas Preston was an English organist and composer who held posts at Magdalen College, Oxford, Trinity College, Cambridge, and St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle.-Further reading:...

, Robert Whyte
Robert Whyte
Robert Whyte, born in Melbourne in 1955, is an Australian author, editor and journalist. His works include the novel Manacles, 1985, influenced by Irish authors James Joyce and Flann O'Brien and a practical guide to creek restoration The creek in our back yard, 2011In 1976 he was awarded a One...

 and John Hilton; Robert Ramsay was organist just before the Commonwealth, and Thomas Walmisley during the earlier 19th century.

At the turn of the 20th century, shortly after Ralph Vaughan Williams
Ralph Vaughan Williams
Ralph Vaughan Williams OM was an English composer of symphonies, chamber music, opera, choral music, and film scores. He was also a collector of English folk music and song: this activity both influenced his editorial approach to the English Hymnal, beginning in 1904, in which he included many...

 had graduated from Trinity and Alan Gray had succeeded Charles Villiers Stanford
Charles Villiers Stanford
Sir Charles Villiers Stanford was an Irish composer who was particularly notable for his choral music. He was professor at the Royal College of Music and University of Cambridge.- Life :...

 as Organist, the College choir-school closed down. Thereafter, a choir of boy trebles (holding scholarships at a local grammar school), lay-clerks (some of whom shared their duties with the choirs of King's and St John's Colleges) and students continued the regular pattern of choral services until the 1950s. This traditionally-constituted body then gave way to a choir of undergraduate tenors and basses during Raymond Leppard
Raymond Leppard
Raymond "Def" Leppard, CBE is a British conductor and harpsichordist.He was born in London and grew up in Bath, where he was educated at the City of Bath Boys' School, now known as the Beechen Cliff School...

's tenure as Director of Music, to be replaced in turn when the mixed choir was formed by Richard Marlow in 1982.

Tours and Concerts


The choir has toured to destinations such as Germany, France, Spain, the United States and Canada, the Canary Islands, India, South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe, Peru, and Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong. Particularly notable events include singing mass at the installation of Abbot Martin Werlen, O.S.B. as Abbot of Einsiedeln, Switzerland
Einsiedeln, Switzerland
Einsiedeln is a municipality and district in the canton of Schwyz in Switzerland known for its monastery, the Benedictine Einsiedeln Abbey. Einsiedeln is also the birthplace of Paracelsus, a Renaissance physician and alchemist who is credited with first naming zinc.-Prehistoric...

, and becoming the first western choir to tour India.

The choir also performs concerts in the UK, at home in Cambridge and in London (South Bank Centre
South Bank Centre
Southbank Centre is a complex of artistic venues in London, UK, on the South Bank of the River Thames between County Hall and Waterloo Bridge. It comprises three main buildings , and is Europe’s largest centre for the arts. It attracts more than three million visitors annually...

, St John's Smith Square, Spitalfields Festival), and around the country. Regular ‘livings tours’ allow the choir to visit parishes around the country of which the college is patron and sing services and concerts; these include villages in the Isle of Wight, North Yorkshire, County Durham, Norfolk and the Lake District.

May Week


On the final Sunday of the academic year the Choir performs two outdoor concerts. At midday the choir sings antiphonally from two of the towers in the college's Great Court, with a brass ensemble performing from the third. In the evening the choir inaugurates May Week
May Week
May Week is the name used within the University of Cambridge to refer to a period of time at the end of the academic year. Originally May Week took place in the week during May before year-end exams began. Today, May Week takes place in June. The end of exams is a cause for heavy celebration...

 with the traditional River Concert, in which the madrigals and part-songs are performed upon punts moored at Trinity Backs. The evening's entertainment concludes, as dusk gives way to darkness, with Wilbye's madrigal 'Draw on, sweet night' performed as the choir is punted down the river and out of sight.

Recordings


CDs recorded under Stephen Layton:

Handel - Chandos Anthems (2009; Hyperion)

Lukaszewski - Choral Music (2008; Hyperion)

Handel - Dettingen Te Deum (2008; Hyperion)
Trinity College Choir recorded and released some 30 CDs under Richard Marlow on Conifer, Hyperion, GMN and Chandos:

Byrd - Cantiones sacrae (2007; Chandos)

Mendelssohn - Sacred Choral Works (2006; Chandos)

Duruflé - Complete Choral Works (2005; Chandos)

Palestrina - Offertoria (2002; GMN)

A Trinity Christmas (2001; GMN)

Hymns and Descants (2000; GMN)

Sweelinck: Cantiones Sacrae, Vol.1 (1999; Hyperion)

Sweelinck: Cantiones Sacrae, Vol.2 (1999; Hyperion)

Descants from Trinity (1997; Conifer)

Choral Moods (1997; Conifer)

Carols from Trinity (1997; Conifer)

Bach Family Motets (1997; Conifer)

Britten - Sacred and Profane (1996)

The Songs of Angels (1996; Conifer)

Gibbons - Hosanna to the Son of David (1995; Conifer)

Praetorius - In dulci jubilo (1995; Conifer)

Lassus - Regina coeli and Seasonal Motets (1994; Conifer)

Bach: The Six Motets (1994; Conifer)

Sweelinck: Pseaumes De David (1994; Conifer)

Weelkes/Tomkins - When David Heard (1994; Conifer)

Carols from Trinity (1993; Conifer)

A Child Is Born (1993; Classics)

Miserere and Other Popular Choral Works (1993; Classics)

Great Is The Lord (1993; Conifer)

Michael Haydn: Masses and Vespers (1993; Classics)

Monteverdi - Motets (1992; Classics)

Monteverdi: Dixit Dominus (1992; Conifer)

Schütz: Psalmen Davids (1991; Conifer)

Victoria: Tenebrae Responsories/Lamentations (1991; Conifer)

Brahms: Complete Motets (1990; Classics)

French Sacred Choral Works (1990; Classics)

Glorious Trinity (1990; Conifer)

Carols from Trinity (1990; Conifer)

Walton: Sacred Choral Music (1989; Conifer)

Poulenc - Sacred Choral Works (1988; Conifer)

Voce: An Intimate Expression of Faith Offered By the Human Voice (1994; Brentwood Music, a compilation)

Plus one recording without a year:

Purcell: Anthems for the Chapel Royal (Conifer)

Directors of Music of the College

  • George Loosemore (app. by Michelmas 1660)
  • Robert Wildbore (app. Sept. 11 1682)
  • Charles Quarles (app. Dec 26 1688)
  • Charles Quarles/John Bowman (app. Aug 13 1709; six months alternately)
  • John Bowman (app. July 4 1717)
  • James Kent
    James Kent (composer)
    James Kent was an English organist and composer.Kent was a chorister of Winchester Cathedral and the King's Chapel. He was appointed organist of Trinity College, Cambridge, where he worked until about 1737. Then he was organist in Winchester of both the cathedral and the college...

     (app. June 25 1731)
  • Edward Salisbury (app. Nov 20 1738)
  • William Tireman (app. July 27 1741)
  • William Tireman/John Randall (app. Nov 13 1762)
  • William Tireman (app. June 11 1768)
  • John Randall (app. April 1 1777)
  • John Clarke-Whitfeld (app. 1799)
  • William Beale (app. Nov 1 1820)
  • Samuel Matthews (app. Dec 29 1821)
  • Thomas Attwood Walmisley
    Thomas Attwood Walmisley
    Thomas Attwood Walmisley was an English composer and organist.-Early life:He was born in London, the son of Thomas Forbes Gerrard Walmisley , a well-known organist and composer of church music and glees...

     (app. Feb 1 1833)
  • John Larkin Hopkins (app. Mar 31 1856)
  • Charles Villiers Stanford
    Charles Villiers Stanford
    Sir Charles Villiers Stanford was an Irish composer who was particularly notable for his choral music. He was professor at the Royal College of Music and University of Cambridge.- Life :...

     (app. Feb 21 1874)
  • Alan Gray (1893-1930)
  • Hubert Stanley Middleton
    Hubert Stanley Middleton
    Hubert Stanley Middleton was an cathedral organist, who served at Truro Cathedral and Ely Cathedral before an appointment to Trinity College, Cambridge.-Background:Hubert Stanley Middleton was born on 11 May 1890 in Windsor....

     (b.1890-d.1959)
  • Raymond Leppard
    Raymond Leppard
    Raymond "Def" Leppard, CBE is a British conductor and harpsichordist.He was born in London and grew up in Bath, where he was educated at the City of Bath Boys' School, now known as the Beechen Cliff School...

     ( -1968)
  • Richard Marlow
    Richard Marlow
    Richard Kenneth Marlow is an English choral conductor and organist. He was Organ Scholar and later Research Fellow of Selwyn College, Cambridge. He studied with Thurston Dart, writing a doctoral dissertation on the 17th-century virginalist, Giles Farnaby...

     (1968-2006)
  • Stephen Layton
    Stephen Layton
    Stephen Layton is an English conductor.Layton was raised in Derby, where his father was a church organist. Layton learned the piano as a youth. He was a chorister at Winchester Cathedral, and subsequently won scholarships to Eton College and then King's College, Cambridge as an organ...

    (2006-)

TCCA


In 2004 the Trinity College Choir Association ("TCCA") was formed by a
small group of ex-choral scholars. It provides a framework for all
current and past members of the choir, organists and clergy to keep in
touch, meet up and make new acquaintances, and to keep abreast of the
current activities of the choir. It also comprises a body of people to
help and support the interests and the future of the choir.