Stephen Cleobury

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Stephen Cleobury

Philip Brunelle and Stephen Cleobury.jpg
Cleobury (right)
with Philip Brunelle, in 2009
Stephen John Cleobury

(1948-12-31) 31 December 1948 (age 70)
Bromley, Kent, England
Nationality British
Alma mater St John's College, Cambridge (organ scholar)
OccupationDirector of Music at King's College, Cambridge
(choirmaster and organist)
Parent(s)John F. Cleobury
Brenda J. Randall
Relatives Nicholas Cleobury (brother)

Sir Stephen Cleobury CBE ( /ˈklbəri/ KLEE-bər-ee; born 31 December 1948) [1] is an English organist and Director of Music.

Order of the British Empire British order of chivalry

The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is a British order of chivalry, rewarding contributions to the arts and sciences, work with charitable and welfare organisations, and public service outside the civil service. It was established on 4 June 1917 by King George V and comprises five classes across both civil and military divisions, the most senior two of which make the recipient either a knight if male or dame if female. There is also the related British Empire Medal, whose recipients are affiliated with, but not members of, the order.

Organ (music) musical keyboard instrument

In music, the organ is a keyboard instrument of one or more pipe divisions or other means for producing tones, each played with its own keyboard, played either with the hands on a keyboard or with the feet using pedals. The organ is a relatively old musical instrument, dating from the time of Ctesibius of Alexandria, who invented the water organ. It was played throughout the Ancient Greek and Ancient Roman world, particularly during races and games. During the early medieval period it spread from the Byzantine Empire, where it continued to be used in secular (non-religious) and imperial court music, to Western Europe, where it gradually assumed a prominent place in the liturgy of the Catholic Church. Subsequently it re-emerged as a secular and recital instrument in the Classical music tradition.



Early years

Cleobury was born in Bromley, Kent, the son of John F Cleobury and Brenda J Randall. He was organ scholar at St John's College, Cambridge under the musical directorship of George Guest, and sub-organist of Westminster Abbey before becoming Master of Music at Westminster Cathedral in 1979. He was head of music at St Matthew's Church, Northampton and head of music at Northampton Grammar School during the mid 1970s. He was also President of the Royal College of Organists from 1990 to 1992. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Music and an Honorary Doctor of Music from Anglia Ruskin University. [2]

Bromley large suburban district of south east London, England

Bromley is a large town in the London Borough of Bromley, Greater London, England, 9.3 miles (15.0 km) south-east of Charing Cross.

Organ scholar subclass of an Organist

An organ scholar is a young musician employed as a part-time assistant organist at a cathedral, church or institution where regular choral services are held. The idea of an organ scholarship is to provide the holder with playing, directing and administrative experience. It is an important part of music-making in Christian worship and is strongly associated with, but is not limited to, Anglican church music in the United Kingdom, Australia and the USA.

St Johns College, Cambridge college of the University of Cambridge

St John's College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge founded by the Tudor matriarch Lady Margaret Beaufort. In constitutional terms, the college is a charitable corporation established by a charter dated 9 April 1511. The aims of the college, as specified by its statutes, are the promotion of education, religion, learning and research. It is one of the larger Oxbridge colleges in terms of student numbers.

King's College, Cambridge

In 1982 he took up the position of Director of Music for the Choir of King's College, Cambridge, where he also teaches music. He was conductor of Cambridge University Musical Society (CUMS) from 1983 to 2009, and made many recordings with that group, including Verdi's Quattro Pezzi Sacri and Goehr's The Death of Moses. As part of the celebrations of the 800th anniversary of Cambridge University, he premiered Peter Maxwell Davies' The Sorcerer's Mirror. He was also Chief Conductor of the BBC Singers from 1995 to 2007, and has been Conductor Laureate since 2007.

Choir of Kings College, Cambridge choir

The King's College Choir is a British choir. It is considered one of today's most accomplished and renowned representatives of the great English choral tradition. It was created by King Henry VI, who founded King's College, Cambridge, in 1441, to provide daily singing in his Chapel, which remains the main task of the choir to this day.

The Cambridge University Musical Society (CUMS) is a federation of the university's main orchestral and choral ensembles, which cumulatively put on a substantial concert season during the university term.

Goehr, Göhr, 'Göhrs or Goehrs is a surname.

Cleobury will retire on 30 September 2019, [3] and will be succeeded at King's College by Daniel Hyde. [4]

Daniel Hyde is a choral conductor and organist. In October 2019 he will succeed Stephen Cleobury as Director of Music of the Choir of King's College, Cambridge, having previously served as organist and Director of Music at Saint Thomas Church in New York.

Beyond Cambridge

Cleobury served as Visiting Fellow at the Louisiana State University School of Music, for 2013-2014 [5]

Louisiana State University university in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA

Louisiana State University is a public research university in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The university was founded in 1853 in what is now known as Pineville, Louisiana, under the name Louisiana State Seminary of Learning & Military Academy. The current LSU main campus was dedicated in 1926, consists of more than 250 buildings constructed in the style of Italian Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio, and the main campus historic district occupies a 650-acre (2.6 km²) plateau on the banks of the Mississippi River.

Personal life

His brother Nicholas Cleobury is also a conductor. His cousin Stephen Dean is a composer. [6] He lives with his wife Emma and their two daughters. [7]

Nicholas Cleobury is an English conductor.

Honours and awards

In 2008 Cleobury was awarded an Honorary Fellowship of the Royal School of Church Music. [8] Cleobury was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2009 Birthday Honours. [9] [10]

He was knighted in the 2019 Birthday Honours for services to choral music. [11] [12]



As conductor:

As organist:


As conductor:

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  1. "Reign of King's", BBC Music Magazine (Christmas 2018 ed.), p. 38, 29 November 2018
  2. "Anglia Ruskin University's Honorary Graduate Site". Retrieved 26 December 2014.
  3. "King's advertises for a new Director of Music".
  4. "King's College appoints new Director of Music – King's College, Cambridge". Retrieved 25 May 2018.
  5. "LSU School of Music Appoints Stephen Cleobury as 2013-14 Visiting Fellow". Archived from the original on 3 April 2013. Retrieved 26 December 2014.
  6. "Stephen Cleobury biography" . Retrieved 1 January 2016.
  7. "Life Outside Cambridge" . Retrieved 1 January 2016.
  8. "RCM Awarded". Retrieved 17 July 2015.
  9. "No. 59090". The London Gazette (Supplement). 13 June 2009. p. 7.
  10. "Knights Bachelor : Knighthoods" (PDF). Retrieved 17 July 2015.
  11. "No. 62666". The London Gazette (Supplement). 8 June 2019. p. B2.
  12. Maguire, Samar (7 June 2019). "All the people from Cambridgeshire on the Queen's Birthday honours list 2019". cambridgenews. Retrieved 7 June 2019.
Preceded by
Sir Philip Ledger
Director of Music, King's College, Cambridge
Succeeded by
Daniel Hyde