Director and teachers
Director of Music
© B Ealovega
Stephen Cleobury has for over 30 years been associated with one of the world’s most famous choirs, that of King’s College, Cambridge. His work at King’s has brought him into fruitful relationships with many leading orchestras and soloists, among them the Academy of Ancient Music, the Philharmonia, Britten Sinfonia and the BBC Concert Orchestra. He complements and refreshes his work in Cambridge through the many other musical activities in which he engages.
At King’s, he has sought to enhance the reputation of the world-famous Choir, considerably broadening the daily service repertoire, commissioning new music from leading composers and developing its activities in broadcasting, recording and touring. He introduced the highly successful annual festival, Easter at King’s, from which the BBC regularly broadcasts, and, in its wake, a series of high-profile performances throughout the year, Concerts at King’s.
From 1995 to 2007 he was Chief Conductor of the BBC Singers and since then has been Conductor Laureate. During his time with the Singers he was much praised for showcasing challenging contemporary music and for creating an integrated choral sound from this group of first-class professional singers.
Since 1983 he has been closely involved in the Cambridge University Musical Society, one of the UK’s oldest music societies, where he has nurtured generations of young talent. Highlights have included Mahler Symphony No. 8 in the Royal Albert Hall and Britten War Requiem in Coventry Cathedral on the 50th anniversary of its bombing.
Beyond Cambridge he is in demand as a conductor, adjudicator and leader of choral workshops. He is also a renowned organ recitalist, and a past President of the Royal College of Organists. He was appointed CBE in the 2009 Queen’s Birthday Honours.
© Daniel Oi 2011
Australian-born mezzo-soprano Lynette Alcántara teaches the Choristers. She is a renowned soloist in her own right, and sings in opera, oratorio, recital and on disc.
She has sung for many of the leading ensembles in Britain including The BBC Singers, The Monteverdi Choir, The Sixteen, English National Opera, Opera North, The Bach Choir and The King’s Consort. She appears regularly for BBC radio and TV, and frequently at the Royal Albert Hall and on the South Bank.
She has been teaching since her student days where she was awarded a Bachelor of Music Education with Honours in Voice at the University of Melbourne, specializing in classroom singing and choral skills.
She has a thriving singing teaching practice in Cambridge, takes regular workshops for the BBC Singer’s education work and is a Fellow and Director of Music at Wolfson College, Cambridge.
Justin Lavender teaches the Choral Scholars. He has sung leading tenor roles with most of the world’s major opera houses, including the Royal Opera, Covent Garden, the Vienna and Berlin State Operas and La Scala, Milan.
He has worked with some of the most eminent conductors of our time, including Solti, Giulini, Haitink, Frühbeck de Burgos, Elder and Abbado.
He is a Professor of Vocal Studies at the Royal College of Music, London and Visiting Tutor at the Birmingham Conservatoire. He has also been appointed musical director of Bearwood Opera in Berkshire, from January 2014.
Russell Smythe teaches the Choral Scholars. He is one of Britain's most experienced artists whose international career has taken him to most important opera houses all over the world.
He has performed with the Royal Opera Covent Garden, English Bach Festival, the BBC Symphony Orchestra and the Halle Orchestra, and many more. International engagements have taken him all over Europe as well as to opera houses in the US, Canada, and Japan.
He lectures and teaches at the Royal College of Music, London, and has given masterclasses and workshops in Belfast, Denmark (Musik Dramatisk Teater) and Spain (the La Caixa course).
Assistant Director of Music
Ben is an established composer, conductor, arranger, singer and producer in both classical and light music fields.
He has made over seventy recordings and his music is published by Peters Edition and Faber Music. His choral piece, "Flame", was performed at the 2012 BBC Proms by over 300 singers. He is co-Director of London Voices, with whom he has performed at music festivals worldwide and worked on the soundtracks of major films such as Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings. He also works extensively with young musicians as Director of National Youth Choirs of Great Britain and the Eton Choral Courses.
Ben studied music at Cambridge University, where he sang with King’s College Choir. Later he was musical director and singer with The Swingle Singers. For eight years he lived in Scotland, where he co-founded the Dunedin Consort, and was also Director of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra Chorus and Director of Choral Music at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.
He has conducted the London Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Seville Royal Symphony Orchestra and the National Youth Orchestra of Wales. As a singer, he has worked with the Gabrieli Consort, Schutz Choir, Taverner Consort and Tenebrae, as well as singing on many film and TV soundtracks.