John Rutter

English Born 00 1945

Born in London in 1945, Rutter was to become one of the most popular contemporary composers of choral music in the world.  His first musical education was as a chorister at Highgate School, and he went on to study at Clare College, Cambridge.  There John Willcocks, the director of neighboring King's College choir, was one of his teachers.  As an undergraduate he published his first compositions and conducted his first recording.  He began composing seriously in 1969, and from 1975 to 1979 he was the director of music at Clare College, directing their choir in recordings and performances.  In 1981 Rutter founded the Cambridge Singers and led them to international prominence.  He spends his time now concentrating on composing and conducting.

Rutter's ouevre includes large and small-scale choral works, orchestral and instrumental pieces, two children's operas and music for television.  His recent large choral works Requiem (1985) and Magnificat (1990) have attracted the most attention with several performances and popular recordings.  The Requiem has some similarities to the Requiems of Faure and Durufle, and to Benjamin Britten's War Requiem, containing Psalm text and fragments from a 17th century burial service, and Gregorian chanting. 

He is famous around the world also for his carols, and his conducting presence is always in high demand for Christmas performances in the biggest cities of Britain and the USA.  Rutter edited four volumes of Carols for Christmas for John Willcocks which have become standard texts, and the hummable carols which he has been writing since his teenage years are often performed, and sung in churches.

Related composers: Britten, Duruflè, Fauré, Tavener

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