Interim Director of Music to lead The Choir of St John’s

“Stephen is an exceptionally experienced choral director and I know that the Choir, College, and our congregations, will all benefit from his skill, wisdom and warm humanity”

One of the UK’s leading choral conductors has been appointed to temporarily direct The Choir of St John’s.

Professor Stephen Darlington MBE was Director of Music and Tutor in Music at Christ Church, Oxford, from 1985 to 2018.  Previously he was Master of the Music at St Alban’s Abbey and Artistic Director of the world-famous International Organ Festival.

Stephen will take up the post in Lent Term 2023 after Andrew Nethsingha, who has been Director of Music at St John’s since 2007, leaves the College to take up the role of Organist and Master of Choristers at Westminster Abbey. A permanent Director of Music will be appointed 

The Rev’d Dr Mark Oakley, said: “I’m delighted that Stephen has kindly agreed to come and work with our Choir in the Lent Term as we prepare to welcome a new Director of Music.

“Stephen is an exceptionally experienced choral director and I know that the Choir, College, and our congregations, will all benefit from his skill, wisdom and warm humanity.”

Stephen Darlington
Professor Stephen Darlington MBE.

Founded in the 1670s, The Choir of St John’s has a rich, warm and distinctive sound. Known internationally for its broadcasts, concert tours and more than 100 recordings, the Choir is made up of around 20 choristers, who join from the age of eight, and around 16 adult choral scholars who are largely students at St John's College, one of the 31 constituent Colleges of the University of Cambridge.

The Choir enhances services of the College Chapel through daily Evensong services and Sung Eucharist on Sundays during University term. Earlier this year, The Choir made history by admitting girls and women for the first time – making it the only Oxbridge choir to have both male and female members among the children and the students. Three girls and one woman joined the internationally renowned Choir as full members in April.

Stephen has an extensive discography, comprising over sixty CDs, includes several award-winning recordings. Stephen has travelled worldwide both with Christ Church choir and as an organist and conductor, directing, amongst others, the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, London Mozart Players, English Chamber Orchestra, Northern Sinfonia, Hanover Band, English String Orchestra, London Musici, Oxford Baroque and Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra.

Stephen said: “I am delighted to have been invited to be Interim Director of Music at St. John’s next term. Under a succession of outstanding directors, the Choir has become known throughout the world for its exceptional quality, and I am very much looking forward to working with these talented musicians before the arrival of the new Director of Music.”  

Stephen was President of the Royal College of Organists from 2000 to 2002 and until recently was Choragus of the University of Oxford. He is the holder of a Lambeth Doctorate in Music and is the Chairman of the Ouseley Trust. He is also an Honorary Member of the Royal Academy of Music, Fellow of the Royal School of Church Music and Honorary Canon of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford. He was awarded an MBE in the New Years Honours List in 2019.

Published 07/10/2022

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