News archive 2009

New Development Board

The College is pleased to announce the setting up of a Development Board whose object is to harness the support of those who can contribute to the future finances of the College and Chapel. Stuart Lyons has been appointed by the Provost as its inaugural Chair. See the details of his appointment.

Posted: 22 December 2009

Service booklet for A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols

Cover of A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols 2009 booklet

You can now download the service booklet for A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols 2009. The booklet contains a brief history of the service as well as the carols and readings in the service. Download the service booklet

A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols is the Christmas Eve service held at King's each year and broadcast to millions around the world. For more information about the service and how to attend see the Festival webpage. For other King's-related events this Christmas see Christmas at King's.

Posted: 14 December 2009

Another chance to see Handel's Messiah

Last Easter a performance of King's choir singing Handel's Messiah was broadcast live from the Chapel to cinemas around the world. This Christmas you have the chance to experience the magical performance again. The following cinemas will be showing the recording:

North America

12 December Cameo, St Helena, Calif USA
  The Ridge Theatre, Vancouver, BC
  Princess Twin Cinema, Waterloo, ON
  Landmark Paramount, Kelowna, BC
  Landmark Avalon, Nanaimo, BC  
  Landmark Globe, Calgary, BC   
  Landmark Globe, Winnipeg, BC
  Cinema Beaubien, Montreal, Quebec
  Norwood Cinema, Bracebridge, ON
13 December Norwood Cinema, Bracebridge, ON
14 December London City Music Theatre, London, ON 
21 December Coast Capital Playhouse, White Rock, BC


16 December Guernsey Institute of Higher Learning, Guernsey, England
20 December Century Cinema, Ireland
  Spurling Swords, Dublin, Ireland
  Spurling Dungarvan, Waterford, Ireland
  Spurling Dundrum, Dublin, Ireland
  Zefferellis Cinemas, Cumbria, England

South Africa

20 December NuMetro Menlyn Park, Pretoria
  Numetro Montecasino, Johannesburg
  NuMetro Hyde Park, Johannesburg
  NuMetro - The Pavilion, Durban
  Numetro Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, Cape Town
  NuMetro Canal Walk, Cape Town
  NuMetro Bedford, Johannesburg

The concert took place on 5 April 2009. Stephen Cleobury conducted the choir, the Academy of Ancient Music and Ailish Tynan (soprano), Alice Coote (mezzo-soprano), Allan Clayton (tenor) and Matthew Rose (bass). A CD and DVD were released of the live recording. For excerpts from these recordings and for what's on next Easter see the Easter Festival page.

Posted: 4 December 2009

Ex-King's student wins MBA Student of the Year

Lindsey Nefesh-Clarke

Lindsey Nefesh-Clarke receiving her award from Will Hutton, Executive Vice-Chair of The Work Foundation

King's graduate Lindsey Nefesh-Clarke has won The Independent MBA Student of the Year Award 2009. Lindsey studied Modern and Medieval Languages at King's and went into humanitarian work.

For the past six years she has worked with a Paris-based humanitarian NGO, Enfants d’Asie (, which runs humanitarian programmes in Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and the Philippines. She is Director of the Philippines Programme and works with families and children living in the slum areas of Cebu city.

She decided to take an Executive MBA at ESCP Europe because she wanted to apply business skills to her humanitarian work. 'I wanted the business management leadership skills to take my humanitarian work further,' she said. 'I want to work in the field of micro-finance, which is about enabling poor people to borrow small amounts to help themselves and their business flourish.'

Lindsey beat 59 other entrants from around the world to win this year’s award, which was announced at the Association of MBA's annual Gala Dinner on 12 November 2009. Speaking later of her years as an undergraduate here, she said, 'I am very grateful for my time at King's and I like to think this Award is also a reflection of the excellence of King's.'

Lindsey has now finished her MBA and has founded Women's Worldwide Web (, a website that will enable donors and lenders to support home-grown development initiatives around the world. The site will launch on International Women's Day (8 March). For more information see the pre-launch presentation.

Posted: 3 December 2009

Ian Thompson Memorial Service

There will be Memorial Service for The Revd. Ian Thompson, the late Dean, on Saturday 13 February at 2.30pm. Refreshments will be provided afterwards in the Hall. Further details will be posted on this site nearer the time.

Posted: 2 December 2009

Curing the devil's cancer

See Current resaerch.

Posted: 1 December 2009

'Celebration of Christmas' concert

Chapel ceiling and windows

King's is holding a special Christmas concert on 17 December. Come to the beautiful Chapel and listen to seasonal music sung by the King's Choral Scholars, Collegium Regale, and by the College Chaplain and professional singer Richard Lloyd Morgan (baritone).

Tickets: £20, £15, £5 unsighted, available from the Shop at King's, King's Parade, Cambridge or online from the Friends of King's website. Friends of King's will be invited for mince pies and mulled wine before the concert. For details of the concert and for information on becoming a Friend see the Friends' website.

Posted 25 November 2009

Leading countertenor sings in the Chapel

Michael Chance

Michael Chance

One of the world's leading countertenors, Michael Chance, is singing in the Chapel this Wednesday 25 November.

Michael will be accompanied by Nicholas Daniel (oboe) and the renowned viol consort Fretwork. The programme will feature English music of the past 400 years, from Orlando Gibbons (1583 - 1625) to Sir John Taverner (1944 - ).

Michael Chance was a choral scholar at King's and went on to a distinguished career in music. His list of recordings is numerous and widespread. In 1993 he received a Grammy award for his performance in a recording of Handel's Semele and in 1999 Deutsche Grammophon released a two-CD box set of his most notable recordings, Michael Chance: The Art of the Countertenor. This year he was awarded a CBE for services to music.

For more details of the concert and how to get tickets, see Concerts at King's. There will be a pre-concert talk by Professor Tony Wigram, Professor of Music Therapy, Anglian Ruskin University: ' The creation of songs - a representation of our life through an expression from the soul'.

Posted 23 November 2009

The Queen visits King's

The Queen with the Provost of King's

The Queen being escorted into the College by the Provost, Prof Ross Harrison

The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh visited King's College last Thursday (19 November) and attended a lunch for long-serving employees of the University.

The royal party arrived just after 1pm and were greeted at the entrance to the College by the Provost, Prof Ross Harrison, the Vice-Chancellor of the University, Prof Alison Richard, and the Lord Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire.

The Queen was escorted around the First Court, past cheering schoolchildren from King's College School, and past staff, students and Fellows of the College. She was led into the Hall, where she was treated to music from the King's choral scholars.

The Catering Department provided the lunch for the royal couple and the 205 guests. Director of Catering Jason Waterfield said, 'This was a red letter day for all of us, and we were thrilled to have had the opportunity to cook for the Queen.'

The Queen with Prince Philip and the Vice-Chancellor

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh with the Vice-Chancellor of the University. The Duke of Edinburgh is Chancellor of the University.
Photo: Duncan Baxter

Jason and his team had planned the menu over a period of weeks, and created dishes that highlighted local ingredients. The menu was approved beforehand by the royal household and included organic salmon and artichoke followed by Cambridge Red Poll beef and Fairtrade coffee served with a selection of hand-crafted petit fours. The vegetarian option was Cambridge Bleat goat's cheese followed by asaparagus risotto.

After lunch, the royal party moved on to Senate House for a formal ceremony to mark the 800th anniversary of the University of Cambridge. The Queen received a Loyal Address and responded by praising the 'enormous contribution that Cambridge University has made to the life and well-being of this country'.

She also sealed the final box in a set of archive boxes containing 800 'Letters to the Future' written by Vice-Chancellors of partner universities, by members of the University and by local schoolchildren. You can read more about the ceremony on the main University website.

Special events to mark the University's 800th Anniversary have been held throughout 2009, and the celebrations end with a Winter Finale in the New Year. For more information see the special 800th Anniversary website.

Posted 20 November 2009

King's catering rated 'excellent'

Business Awards ceremony in the Hall

The Cambridge News Business Excellence Awards ceremony 2009, held in the Hall

A new customer survey has rated the King’s catering and conferences services 'excellent'.

The survey was filled in by event organisers who had hosted a variety of events at King's, from small dinner parties in the Saltmarsh Room to corporate and academic dinners in the Hall. The survey asked customers to rate factors like the friendliness of the catering staff, the quality of the food, and how well the event was organised. Overall, 78% of respondents rated the King's catering service 'excellent', with 15% rating it as 'good' and only 3% rating it as 'fair'.

The survey covered the period July 2008 - August 2009 and had 68 respondents. The results show the Catering Department's same commitment to service and quality as the previous survey taken 2006-2008, in which 76% of customers rated the Department's services 'excellent'.

'This stands as testament to the great commitment of the catering staff', said Director of Catering Jason Waterfield, 'and I believe these results can only improve. The team are amazing and I am both proud and fortunate to have such a dedicated bunch of individuals to work with.'

King's hosts everything from small dinner parties to corporate and academic conferences. For details see King's as a venue or contact the Catering Office (tel: 01223 331 215; email:

Posted 17 November 2009

Quentin Blake mural adorns King's

A 100ft-long mural by Quentin Blake has been hung along the front of the College. The mural shows four of the drawings Blake did for 'Cambridge 800: An Informal Panorama', a mural unveiled at Addenbrookes Hospital earlier in the year (see the news story below). The mural celebrates the 800th anniversary of the University of Cambridge.

The four 26ft-high drawings at King's show Henry VIII listening to the College choir as well as Charles Darwin reading on top of a giant Galapagos tortoise, Isaac Newton peering through a prism, and a blind John Milton completing his epic poem Paradise Lost.

The mural covers scaffolding along the Wilkins' Screen, the wall at the front of the College along King's Parade. The Screen is being restored as part of the ongoing restoration work to the Chapel, and the mural will be there until January.

Posted 16 November 2009

Commissioned carol takes text from GK Chesterton

The Christ-child lay on Mary's lap,
His hair was like a light.
(O weary, weary were the world,
But here is all aright.)

The Christ-child lay on Mary's breast
His hair was like a star.
(O stern and cunning are the kings,
But here the true hearts are.)

The Christ-child lay on Mary's heart,
His hair was like a fire.
(O weary, weary is the world,
But here the world's desire.)

The Christ-child stood on Mary's knee,
His hair was like a crown,
And all the flowers looked up at Him,
And all the stars looked down

- GK Chesterton

This year's commissioned carol for A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols uses the text of GK Chesterton's poem 'The Christ Child Lay On Mary's Lap'.

The composer Gabriel Jackson said, 'I had a fairly clear idea of the kind of text I was looking for. Having written a neo-medieval carol for Truro Cathedral three years ago I decided to look for a 19th/early 20th century text this time, ideally one that hadn't been set before.'

'While writing the piece I was thinking all the time about the wondrous space that is the King's chapel, the special atmosphere of the service, the acoustic of the building, and the unique sound of the King's choir in that building.'

The Director of Music Stephen Cleobury commissions a new carol each year for A Festival of Nine lessons and Carols, the Christmas Eve at King's. Past composers have included Lennox Berkeley, Thomas Adés, Judith Bingham and John Rutter. Gabriel Jackson is also a renowned composer of choral music. He has written pieces for the BBC, the Tate Gallery and the National Centre for Early Music.

'Now that it is finished I cannot wait for Christmas Eve,' he said, 'to be there in the Chapel at King's and to hear my piece quietly take its place in the age-old rite, as Stephen and his choir work their magic once again.'

For more information about the service see A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols.

Posted 13 November 2009

Dante Quartet explores evolution

Next Saturday 14 November the Dante Quartet joins forces with Julian Jacobson (piano) and Richard Lloyd Morgan (baritone) to perform a lively and varied programme of music with evolution and creation as its theme:

La création du monde Darius Milhaud
Embryons desséchés Eric Satie
Orang-u-tango for piano quintet Julian Jacobson
Dover Beach Samuel Barber
Mazurkas Frederic Chopin
Cavatina Op 130, Grosse Fuge Op 133 Ludwig van Beethoven
Dante Quartet

La Creation du Monde by Milhaud is a 20-minute ballet based on an African creation myth, and inspired by jazz. Also from the early 20th century, Satie's Embryons Desséchés (Desiccatted Embryos) takes a quirky and lyrical look at life as a sea crustacean, whilst Barber's setting of Matthew Arnold's 'Dover Beach' expresses a more serious concern over the conflict between evolution and religion.

The mazurka is a Polish folk dance that Chopin evolved into a Classical music form and made his own, with ground breaking rhythm and harmony that caused a sensation in his day, and that still sounds extraordinary today.

The programme ends with excerpts from one of Beethoven's last string quartets: String Quartet in B flat major, Op. 130. The beautiful Cavatina is followed by the original finale to the quartet, the Grosse Fuge, which Stravinsky called 'an absolutely contemporary piece of music that will be contemporary forever.'

The concert starts at 8.30pm. Tickets: (unnumbered) £17; £12 seats available on the door only (students: £5 on the door). You can buy them from the Cambridge Corn Exchange (tel: 01223 357851), from the Porters' Lodge (tel: 01223 331100) or online from the Cambridge Music Festival website.

The concert is part of the Concerts at King's series, which this term has been jointly organised with the Cambridge Music Festival.

Posted 9 November 2009

Haydn's Creation in the Chapel

Joseph Haydn

Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)

On Wednesday 11 November the Academy of Ancient Music and King's College choir perform Haydn's The Creation in the Chapel. The Academy and choir will be accompanied by soloists Elin Manahan Thomas (soprano), Andrew Kennedy (tenor), and Christopher Purves (baritone). The King's Director of Music Stephen Cleobury will conduct the performance.

Haydn's oratorio is considered to be one of his greatest masterpieces. It was inspired by his trips to London in the early 1790s, where he heard Handel's large-scale oratorios.

Haydn decided to write a grand oratorio himself. He chose the creation of the world as his theme, and scored the piece for three vocal soloists, a four-part chorus, and a large Classical orchestra. It took two years to complete and after the premier in 1798 he fell ill from exhaustion. 'I spent much time over it', he said later, 'because I expect it to last for a long time.'

Tickets cost £35, £30 and £22 (unnumbered and unsighted: £5). You can buy them from the Cambridge Corn Exchange (tel: 01223 357851) or online from the Cambridge Music Festival website.

The concert is part of the Concerts at King's series, which this term has been jointly organised with the Cambridge Music Festival.

Posted 6 November 2009

New economic think-tank meets at King's

George Soros

George Soros

More than 150 top academics, policy-makers, and private sector leaders meet at King's next April. They will be coming to the first symposium of the Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET), a new organisation funded by the global financier George Soros.

INET aims to develop fresh approaches to economic theory, and its founding members include four Nobel laureates - George Akerlof, Sir James Mirrlees, A. Michael Spence and Joseph E. Stiglitz. At King's they will discuss why current economic theory failed to predict the financial crisis and they will explore the implications of the crisis for regulatory policy.

The INET symposium will take place 9 - 11 April 2010. You can find more details on the INET website. If you would like to host a meeting at King's, contact the Catering Department (tel: 01223 331 215; email:

Posted 5 November 2009

Art to die for: Deanna Tyson textiles come to King's

A new exhibition of textiles by Deanna Tyson starts at the King's Art Centre on 13 November. The exhibition is called 'Art to Die for - the Triangular Trade' and looks at the long-term effect of colonialism and the African diaspora.

Tyson's kimonos, wall-hangings and soft sculptures are inspired by African textiles and by political cartoonists from Gilroy to Scarfe. See the Exhibitions page for more details.

Deanna Tyson is a freelance painter and textile artist whose work is exhibited nationally and internationally. She is Artists' Coordinator for Cambridge Open Studios and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Posted 2 November 2009

Messiah DVD and Christmas CD released

Cover of the Messiah DVD

EMI have just released a DVD of King's College Choir performing Handel's Messiah, and a live recording of the 2008 Christmas Eve service, A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols.

The Messiah DVD captures an extraordinary performance in the magnificent setting of the College Chapel. The performance was recorded during this year's Easter at King’s festival and was screened in over 85 cinemas across Europe and North America. It was the first time a choral concert had been broadcast live throughout cinemas.

The critically-acclaimed concert features the Academy of Ancient Music conducted by Stephen Cleobury together with with soloists Ailish Tynan, Alice Coote, Allan Clayton and Matthew Rose, and the King's College Choir. The concert commemorated both the 250th anniversary of the death of George Frideric Handel and the 800th anniversary of the University of Cambridge.

Watch an excerpt from the DVD. Click on the player below (requires Flash player):

A Festival of Nine Lessons CD cover

The live recording of the iconic Christmas Eve service, A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, brings you the quintessential sound of Christmas. Held in King’s College Chapel and broadcast by the BBC since 1928 (with the exception of 1930), the service is broadcast to millions of listeners around the world, from adventurers at the foot of Everest to families celebrating Christmas at home.

The 2008 Festival marked the 80th anniversary of its first BBC broadcast in 1928 and the start of a year-long celebration of the 800th anniversary of Cambridge University. It is recorded on a two-CD set and includes modern as well as traditional carols.

You can buy both the DVD and CD from the The Shop at King's, King's Parade, Cambridge or online from the Friends of King's website.

For a preliminary programme of the 2010 Easter Festival see the Easter Festival page, and for more details of the Christmas Eve service at King's see A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols.

Posted 2 November 2009

Lord Giddens at Wordfest

Anthony Giddens

King's Fellow Anthony Giddens will discuss his latest book The Politics of Climate Change at the literature festival Cambridge Wordfest on 29 November.

The book argues that climate change is ultimately a political problem rather than a technological one. Politicians need to intervene and take action now to prevent the disasters climate change will bring. They must not wait for the majority of the electorate to demand action. Climate change measures must be built into long-term national planning, and this involves a radical restructuring of energy, transport and production systems.

For more details of Lord Giddens' talk and to reserve a place see the Cambridge Wordfest website.

Anthony Giddens is a sociologist and Life Fellow of King's. He is a Labour peer, a former director of the London School of Economics, and an adviser to political leaders around the globe. He was listed in Times Higher Education (26 March 2009) as the fifth overall most-cited author of books in the humanities.

Posted 28 October 2009

Christmas cards and calendar from King's

Christmas card with nine images on it

You can now buy the 2009 Christmas cards and the 2010 calendar from King's.

There are two Christmas card designs to choose from, a multi-image card with nine stunning photos of King's, or a simpler card showing an angel from the Chapel. The cards are available in packs of five (price £3.95), or you can get six packs for £20.

Cover of the 2010 calendar

The calendar contains 12 exclusive photos of King's through the seasons. Photos include an aerial view of the College in late summer, the Chapel in the snow and interiors of the Chapel and Hall. The calendar is spiral bound and a practical size (25cm by 23cm).

You can find more details and buy the cards and calendar online from the Friend's of King's website. If you are in the area you can also buy them from the Shop at King's, King's Parade, Cambridge. All profits go to support King's College Chapel and choir.

If you are a member of King's you can get a discount when you buy from the members' online shop.

Posted 26 October 2009

Pigott Scholarships

With great pleasure we announce today the receipt of an innovative gift from Mark Pigott, who has endowed a fund to support the annual award of Pigott Scholarships to members of the College. The scholarships will support graduate students at King's who are studying for Masters degrees and were previously undergraduates at the College.

Provost Professor Ross Harrison said, 'This very generous gift comes at an important time for the College. It encourages our best students at both graduate and undergraduate level and is positioned in the centre of our educational mission. The Pigott family has a visionary 104 year tradition of supporting global educational excellence and we are most grateful that their focus is now being directed towards supporting our students here at King's.'

There will be two Pigott Scholarships awarded each year and the first scholarships will be awarded for the academic year 2010/11.

The scholarships are established by Mr. Mark Pigott, Chairman and CEO of PACCAR, based in Seattle. Mr. Pigott's leadership in business, education, and the arts has been recognized by many countries and organizations. His family and PACCAR have generously supported UK organizations such as Cancer Research UK, Royal Shakespeare Company, British Library, Palace of Westminster, National Theatre, and St. Paul's Cathedral. The firm is a global technology leader in the design, manufacture and customer support of high-quality, light, medium and heavy-duty trucks under the Kenworth, Peterbilt and DAF nameplates.

When making the donation Mr. Pigott said, 'Education is paramount to the growth and success of individuals and society and the wonderful heritage of King's has enabled it to establish itself as a leader in providing many opportunities to secure knowledge in a wide range of subjects. It is a joy to partner with King's College.'

Posted 20 October 2009

Developing green flight

Dr Cesare Hall

Dr Cesare Hall

King's Fellow Dr Cesare Hall is researching an aeroplane engine that uses less fuel and therefore emits less CO2. Dr Hall is working with Rolls-Royce to develop an open rotor engine.

Current aeroplanes use turbofan engines, where the rotor blades are covered by an engine cowling. Open rotor engines have no cowling. The rotor blades are left uncovered, which makes them lighter, more aerodynamic and more fuel-efficient.

Open rotor engines are also larger in diameter, which Dr Hall says also reduces fuel consumption. 'There's a potential for fuel reduction comparative to current aircraft of about 20%.'

Open rotor engine

An open rotor engine

These bigger engines will need new aeroplane designs, though. Either the wings will have to be set higher to accommodate the engines, or the engines will have to be put around the tail.

One disadvantage of the open rotor engine is that it has no cowl to muffle the noise, so further research needs to be done to decrease noise levels.

Nevertheless Dr Hall is optimistic this problem will be solved and aeroplanes using these engines will soon take to the skies. 'I'd expect that in the next 10 years or so they'd be entering service,' he said, 'hopefully around 2020.'

Dr Hall is a University Lecturer in Turbomachinery. You can hear an interview with him on the Business Daily programme of the BBC World Service.

Posted 19 October 2009

Quentin Blake draws King's choir

Drawing of King's choir

The illustrator Quentin Blake has drawn Henry VIII listening to the King's choir in the Chapel. The drawing is part of a 70ft mural to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the University of Cambridge, which was unveiled at Addenbrooke's Hospital on 28 September.

The mural contains 15 drawings of famous alumni of Cambridge, including John Milton, Isaac Newton, Lord Byron and Charles Darwin. The drawings also show significant events in the University's history, like the creation of a definitive set of rules for football in 1848.

Blake studied at Cambridge, and said of his mural: 'To me, this is a way of saying thank you for my years as an undergraduate and the honorary degree that the University also gave me. I feel very privileged to have been given this opportunity to contribute to these 800th anniversary celebrations.'

You can see a slideshow of the mural on the 800th Anniversary website. Like Henry VIII in the drawing, you can also listen to the King's choir. They sing evensong in the Chapel most days of the week during term time. For details see Chapel services.

Posted 15 October 2009

Sir Kenneth Berrill Memorial Service

There will be a Memorial Service for the life of Sir Kenneth Berrill in King's College Chapel on Saturday 31 October 2009 at 2.30pm, followed by refreshments in Hall. All those who would like to attend would be very welcome. Sir Kenneth Berrill was First Bursar and Fellow at King's College from 1962 - 1969 and had been an Honorary Fellow since 1974.

Posted 9 October 2009

Royal Academy shows art from King's

Madonna and Child

'Madonna and Child' by Eric Gill
Larger image
Photo: T. Wilkinson

A new exhibition at the Royal Academy will show a piece from the King's art collection, 'Madonna and Child' by Eric Gill.

The piece was bought by economist and King's Fellow John Maynard Keynes in 1911. He paid £25 for it because it was unfinished (the finished price was £45). One theory says that Gill didn't finish the sculpture because the Madonna's thumb was broken off, but letters from Keynes show that Gill had to be persuaded to leave it unfinished.

The sculpture will appear in 'Wild Thing: Epstein, Gaudier-Brzeska, Gill', an exhibition containing more than 90 works by Jacob Epstein, Henri Gaudier-Brzeska and Eric Gill. These three artists transformed British art during the period 1905-10, and the exhibition brings together their most radical sculptures, drawings and pastels.

'Wild Thing: Epstein, Gaudier-Brzeska, Gill' runs 24 October - 24 January 2010 in the Sackler Wing of Galleries, Royal Academy of Arts, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London. Tickets cost £9 (students £7) and you can buy them online.

Posted 7 October 2009

Galbraith on the global financial crisis

Prof J K Galbraith

Prof James K. Galbraith

James K. Galbraith (KC 1974) spoke at the King's London Event, a discussion on the global financial crisis, one year on. Galbraith is a Professor at the University of Texas at Austin, author of the recently published Predator State and he often appears on US television. Television satirists John Bird (KC 1955) and John Fortune (KC 1958) also performed one of their sketches.

You can read a full review of the event, listen to a recording of it and read transcripts on the King's members website.

The King's London Event took place on 7 October and was chaired by Alastair Milne (KC 1976) who recently published a book on the crisis, The Fall of the House of Credit.

Posted 5 October 2009; updated 13 October 2009

Alex: A Passion for Life

King's student Alex Stobbs is the subject of another TV documentary, Alex: A Passion for Life. This is the sequel to the critically-acclaimed 2008 documentary A Boy Called Alex, which followed Alex's progress as a music scholar at Eton, and his determination to live a normal life despite the effects of cystic fibrosis.

The new documentary carries on Alex's story. It follows his move from Eton to King's, and his first year as an undergraduate here. It also shows Alex preparing to fulfil his ambition to conduct Bach's St Matthew Passion, with a professional orchestra and some of the country's top soloists. But it is a physically demanding piece to prepare for and conduct, and Alex pushes himself to the limit.

Alex: A Passion for Life will be broadcast on 8 October at 9pm on Channel 4. Alex has also written an autobiography A Passion For Living: The Amazing Story Of A Boy Who Makes Every Day Matter, published by Hodder on 17 September.

Posted 1 October 2009

New views of the Chapel

Tony Eva posterA photography exhibition at the King's Art Centre will show the Chapel from startling new angles. The photographs are by Tony Eva, who calls his exhibition '36 views of King’s College Chapel' in homage to Hokusai's 'Thirty Six Views of Mount Fuji'.

Like Hokusai, Tony Eva has created images of a famous landmark from unusual viewpoints. We see the Chapel reflected in a window or a puddle, or on a CCTV monitor in the basement of the Guildhall.

Eva's photos are accompanied by haikus by Graham High, and the exhibition is curated by King's Fellow Dr Ken Moody. The exhibition runs 17-29 October in the Art Centre and is open from 11am to 5pm daily. Follow the signs from the front of the College or enquire at the Porters' Lodge. For more forthcoming exhibitions at King's, see the Art Centre page.

The photos have been published in a book - 36 views of King’s College Chapel - to mark the 500th anniversary of the bequest of King Henry VII in 1509 which enabled the completion of the Chapel. In 1509 the Chapel still had no corner turrets, roof or windows. The book costs £12.99 and you can buy it from the Shop at King’s on King's Parade, Cambridge.

Posted 30 September 2009

Ian Thompson

It is with great regret that we announce the death of Ian Thompson, our much loved Dean. Ian unprecedently and successfully combined the roles of both college deans, being Lay Dean as well as Dean of Chapel. With great energy, care, and determination, he supported many groups in College and outside, particularly in connection with rowing.

His sudden death leaves the College in a state of shock and he will be much missed by many.

His funeral will be private, and a Memorial Service will be held at a later date. Your prayers are asked for his widow Ann and for his family. An online condolence book has been set up.

Posted 28 September 2009

Autumn Romance at King's

Autumn Romance flyer

The first concert for this term is 'Autumn Romance', an autumnal feast of sparkling virtuosity and heartfelt passion. The programme features three pieces for piano and violin:

  • Mendelssohn: Violin Sonata in F minor
  • Schubert: Duo in A major
  • Elgar: Violin Sonata

Ruth Ehrlich, violin
Nancy Cooley, piano

The concerts will take place on Sunday 18 October at 8.30pm in the Hall at King's. Tickets: £12 unreserved, £5 student standby, available from the Corn Exchange box office (01223 357 851).

For more concerts this term see the Events calendar.

Posted 24 September 2009

PM apologises to Turing

Alan Turing

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has issued a posthumous apology to Alan Turing for the 'appalling' treatment he received for being gay. The apology follows a petition on the Number 10 website which was signed by thousands of people including the author Ian McEwan, scientist Richard Dawkins and gay-rights campaigner Peter Tatchell.

Turing came to King's in 1931 as an undergraduate, and was elected a Fellow in 1935. He is best remembered for his wartime work at Bletchley Park, where he helped decipher the code created by German Enigma machines.

In 1952 Turing admitted a sexual relationship with a man and was found guilty of 'gross indecency'. He was barred from working on cryptography for the government, and was given a choice of a prison sentence or chemical castration by a series of injections of the female hormone oestrogen. He chose the injections. His prosecution and the hormone treatment took their toll on his health and morale, and in 1954 he killed himself.

Writing on the Number 10 website, Gordon Brown said, '...I am pleased to have the chance to say how deeply sorry I and we all are for what happened to him. Alan and the many thousands of other gay men who were convicted as he was convicted under homophobic laws were treated terribly.' Read the full statement.

Six years after Turing's death his mother gave letters he had written to her, his family photographs, and copies of his publications to King's College. The Turing family have continued to transfer documents to the Turing Papers held in the King's College Archive Centre, and others who had important Turing documents have followed suit. King's has commemorated Turing's role in the development of computer science by helping to digitise the Turing Papers (see and naming the College computing suite after him.

Posted 22 September 2009

New Chapel services booklet

Service booklet Michaelmas 2009The services booklet for Michaelmas Term (October-December) is out now. The booklet contains details of the choral services, organ recitals and sermons held in the Chapel, as well as the concerts in the Concerts at King's series. Download the services booklet.

If you are planning a visit to King's and want to hear the choir sing, you are welcome to attend the choral services listed in the booklet. For general information about the choral services see the services page. For more about the choir visit the choir pages.

Easter at King's 2010

Easter at King's has grown into an enormously popular series of Easter concerts and services at King's College. You can download a preliminary programme for Easter at King's 2010. Highlights include King's College choir and the Academy of Ancient Music performing Bach's St Matthew Passion, and James MacMillan's St John Passion, which will be broadcast live on BBC Radio 3.

Posted 21 September 2009

Stanley Corngold visits King's

Stanley Corngold

King’s is delighted to welcome Professor Stanley Corngold of Princeton University as a Visiting Fellow for the Michaelmas Term 2009.

Prof. Corngold is one of today’s most distinguished and creative scholars of German literature, and in particular the writings of Franz Kafka. He has been Professor of German and Comparative Literature at Princeton since 1981.

He has written several books, including The Fate of the Self: German Writers and French Theory, 2nd edn (1994), Complex Pleasure: Forms of Feeling in German Literature (1998), and Lambent Traces: Franz Kafka (2004). He has also translated The Metamorphosis (1996) and Kafka’s Selected Stories (2007) for Norton Critical Editions, and has most recently co-edited Franz Kafka: The Office Writings (2009).

While at King’s, Stanley Corngold will take part in four discussions about his work. See Research events for details.

Posted 14 September 2009

Media leaders gather at King's

Mark Thompson

King's co-hosted the Royal Television Society Cambridge Convention from 16-18 September. Some of the biggest names in media were there, including ITV executive chairman Michael Grade, Channel 4 chairman Luke Johnson and BBC director-general Mark Thompson (left).

The keynote speech was given by Ben Bradshaw, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. Eric Schmidt, the Google chairman and chief executive, appeared by satellite link-up from New York.

The convention discussed the economic challenges facing the broadcasting industry, and how to build new business models for the digital era.

To find out about the conferences and dining facilities offered by King's call 01223 331 410 or email See also King's as a venue.

Posted 8 September 2009

Music and evolution

Cambridge Music Festival logo

Concerts at King's and the Cambridge Music Festival have joined forces to produce an exciting an varied programme of concerts about 'Music and Evolution'.

The programme runs throughout November and links the Darwin anniversary with music about creation, evolution and the natural world. You can hear folk, gospel and Latin American music as well as newly-commissioned work and great Classical pieces such as Haydn's Creation. There are concerts for children, sing-along concerts as well as poetry readings and walking tours.

For the Concerts at King's programme see Concerts at King's. For the full Cambridge Music Festival programme, which includes concerts outside King's, see the Festival website.

Concerts at King's is an annual series of concerts organised by King's Director of Music, Stephen Cleobury. The programme is performed by various ensembles and orchestras, including the College's quartet in residence, the Dante Quartet, and the University's Musical Society (CUMS). The Cambridge Music Festival is held every three years.

Posted 4 September 2009

King's is recruiting choristers

Choristers singing

Is your son aged six or seven and musical? King's is holding auditions for choristerships on 16 January 2010.

Sing in the magnificent King's Chapel, receive an excellent education, enjoy broadcasts, recordings and foreign tours.

The Director of Music, Stephen Cleobury, would be delighted to talk to parents on an informal basis (tel: 01223 331224; email: Choristers are educated at King's College School.

King's makes every effort to make choristerships possible for any boy with the right musical ability, regardless of financial circumstances.

Posted 6 August 2009

Chapel tour in Open Cambridge

The Chapel ceiling

Take a free tour of the Chapel on the Open Cambridge weekend, 11-13 September 2009. Your guide will give a short introduction to the Chapel and hand out a simple quiz on the Chapel's design, construction and history. Then you explore the Chapel yourself to find the answers to the quiz, and reconvene to compare your findings!

The tour dates are:

  • Friday 11 September 2009, 1pm - 2pm, 2.15pm - 3.15pm, 3.30pm - 4.30pm
  • Saturday 12 September 2009 11am - 12 noon, 12.15pm - 1.15pm, 1.30pm - 2.30pm

Open Cambridge is a weekend of tours, talks and open access in which University and College buildings and collections will go on show for families, local residents and community groups. For more events over the weekend, and to book on the Chapel tour, see the Open Cambridge website.

Posted 28 July 2009

King's at the Proms

The Royal Albert Hall

King's College choir and Director of Music Stephen Cleobury performed in the Proms at the Royal Albert Hall on Wednesday 22 July. The Prom celebrated the University of Cambridge's 800th Anniversary, and brought together choirs from around the University including the choirs from King's, St John's, Clare and Trinity Colleges.

Stephen Cleobury conducted the choirs and the BBC Symphony Orchestra for some of the pieces, which were by composers with a connection to Cambridge.

Before the concert Stephen Cleobury and former Director of Music at King's Sir David Willcocks took part in a discussion called "Music at King's". You can listen to the discussion and the whole concerts online until 29 July on the BBC Proms website. For more 800th Anniversary events see the 800th Anniversary website.

Posted 22 July 2009

Tudor music in the Chapel

Summer Festival poster

The last Cambridge Summer Music Festival at King's will be on 8 August:

Tudor Portraits: Masterpieces from the English Renaissance

8 August
The Clerks & His Majesty’s Saggbutts and Cornetts

A rare opportunity to hear two of the world’s finest early music ensembles together – the vocal ensemble The Clerks and His Majesty’s Saggbutts – in a programme of sumptuous music from England’s ‘Golden Age’. The programme features music from the courts of Kings Henry VII and Henry VIII and Queen Mary and Elizabeth, and from the chapels and cathedrals of the Reformation period.

You can buy tickets from the Cambridge Corn Exchange (tel: 01223 357 851).

For details of these and other concerts in the Festival see the Cambridge Summer Music Festival website.

Posted 16 July 2009

King's Fellow honoured

King's Fellow Professor Simon Goldhill has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Professor Goldhill is Professor in Greek Literature and Culture at Cambridge, and Director of Studies in Classics at King's. He joins a select group of only 600 Foreign Honorary Members of the Academy. Other members include Nelson Mandela, Dame Judi Dench and another Fellow of King's, Nobel Laureate Professor Sydney Brenner.

The goal of the Academy is to honour those who have excelled in their field, and to bring them into dialogue with government and business leaders to conduct research into the needs and problems of society. The Academy publishes a quarterly journal, Dædalus.

Posted 16 July 2009

Melissa Lane leaves King's

Melissa Lane

Dr Melissa Lane is leaving King's to become Professor of Politics at Princeton. Melissa is a Fellow in History and Associate Director of the Centre for History and Economics at King's. She is also University Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of History, where she has taught since 1994.

Melissa came to King's from Harvard to read Philosophy, staying on to do her PhD here. Her work has focused on political philosophy and the history of political thought, and she has supervised students on History, Classics, Philosophy and English. She has also made broader contributions to life at King's and to the University: she founded the annual King's Women's Dinner, organised careers events with King's alumni, and she was an elected member of the University Council.

'Her expertise in Classics and Philosophy as well as Politics makes her almost irreplaceable', said Provost Ross Harrison.

Posted 7 July 2009

Choir CD reaches number one

The new choir CD England my England has reached number one in the UK Classical Artist Chart. The CD was released by EMI Classics on 6 July and it features the College choir singing quintessentially English music. The album includes motets ancient and modern, well-known psalms and favourite hymns ('Jerusalem', 'Praise, my Soul, the King of Heaven'), and many pieces made recogniseable through their association with key events in English history. Listen to excerpts and watch the trailer below:

'Come ye sons of art away' is Purcell’s 1694 birthday ode for Queen Mary. 'Thou knowest, Lord' is part of the music he wrote for her funeral just nine months later. John Ireland’s 'Greater love hath no man' is often heard on Remembrance Sunday; Sir John Tavener’s 'Song for Athene' made a powerful impression at the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales; while John Rutter’s small-scale, personal 'Requiem' touched a wider public following the attacks of 11 September 2001. But ‘Nimrod’ , above all, represents music of national remembrance and this collection boasts a choral setting of it, 'Lux aeterna ', by Edward Elgar.

You can buy this double CD from The Shop at King's, King's Parade, Cambridge, or online from the Friends of King's College website

Posted 6 July 2009

Open garden this Sunday

Fellows' Garden

Come for a cream tea this Sunday in the Fellows' Garden at King's. Normally the garden is closed to the public but it will open for one day this Sunday (5 July) as part of the National Gardens Scheme.

As well as having a cream tea, you can wander around this fine Victorian garden, look at the rare specimen trees and get ideas for your own garden.

The entrance to the Fellows' Garden is at the junction of Queens Road and West Road, opposite the Back Gate of the College. You can park at Lion Yard ten minutes away, or in the pay and display places in West Road. Entrance is £3 for adults (children enter for free), and all proceeds go to charity.

Posted 3 July 2009

Celebrating Darwin

A painting by Steve DiPaola

A new exhibition at the King's Art Centre reveals a novel approach to portraiture, and a unique tribute to Darwin. The artist Steve DiPaola takes John Collier's 1883 portrait of Darwin and uses a computer program to generate groups of related portraits. The images explore the creative process and evolutionary techniques as a medium for contemporary portrait painting. For details see the King's Art Centre page. The exhibition runs until 18 July, and is part of the University of Cambridge Darwin Festival.

The University hosted this major international Festival 5 - 10 July to mark 200 years since Charles Darwin's birth and 150 years since the publication of On the Origin of Species. King's Fellow and eminent biologist Patrick Bateson was a key player in organising the festival, and King's catering department laid on the Festival Celebration Dinner, where Sir David Attenborough was the after-dinner speaker. For more exhibitions relating to the Festival see the Darwin 2009 website.

Darwin at King's

Although Darwin studies at Christ's College, he often visited King's. In his biography he notes: 'I acquired a strong taste for music, and used very often to time my walks so as to hear on week days the anthem in King's College Chapel. This gave me intense pleasure, so that my backbone would sometimes shiver.' He occasionally hired the choristers from King's to sing in his rooms.

Posted 30 June 2009

King's hosts 800th Anniversary Dinner

The Chapel from the Back Lawn

King's Catering team rose to the demanding task of preparing and serving a three course dinner for 650 guests last Saturday (20 June). The event was organised by the Land Society, the largest alumni society in the University, to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the University of Cambridge. All Cambridge students past and present were invited.

Proceedings began with evensong in the Chapel, which was followed by a sumptuous dinner held in the magnificent setting of the Back Lawn, and a speech by historian and TV presenter David Starkey.

The event forms part of the Cambridge 800th Anniversary Campaign, which aims to raise £1 billion to help secure the University's excellence for the future. The proceeds of Saturday's event went to the Land Society's bursary scheme to assist students in the Department of Land Economy.

For more information on hosting events and fine dining at King's see King's as a venue.

Posted 24 June 2009

Christmas Eve service added to National Recording Registry

The Library Of Congress have added a recording of A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, the Christmas Eve service at King's, to a list of recordings that have influenced American culture.

The list, called the National Recording Registry, includes a 1954 recording of the service because it 'provided most Americans with their first opportunity to experience this beloved Christmas tradition, which has since become a seasonal mainstay in many American churches'.

The King's service is one of 25 new additions to the National Recording Registry. The Registry now contains 275 items deemed to be 'culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant'. Other new items include recordings of Winston Churchill, John Lee Hooker and the original cast of West Side Story. For details see the National Library of Congress website.

A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols was introduced in 1918 to bring a more imaginative approach to worship, and it was first broadcast in 1928. The 1954 recording features the choirmaster and organist of the time, Boris Ord. For more information about the service, see A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols.

Posted 23 June 2009

Chapel in a new 'Grand Tour'

A photo of the Chapel ceiling

King's College Chapel has been included in a modern-day 'Grand Tour of Britain'. The tour has been compiled by a panel of famous names, including TV presenters Jeremy Paxman and Clare Balding, and musician Julian Lloyd Webber.

The panel chose the must-see cultural attractions of Britain, and praised the beautiful interior of King's Chapel. Other sights included on the tour are Holkham Hall in Norfolk, Chatsworth in Derbyshire and Castle Howard in North Yorkshire.

The tour is published in this week's Country Life magazine. For information on visiting the Chapel, see Visit King's.

Posted 18 June 2009

Stephen Cleobury awarded CBE

A photo of Stephen Cleobury

The Director of Music at King's, Stephen Cleobury, has just been awarded a CBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours.

The award is for services to music, and reflects Stephen's long and distinguished career. Stephen began organ lessons at 13 and went on to be Master of Music at Westminster Cathedral and President of the Royal College of Organists. He became Director of Music at King's in 1982 , and each year directs the world-famous Christmas Eve service at King's, A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols. He was Chief Conductor of the BBC Singers from 1995 to 2007 and was made Conductor Laureate in 2007.

Stephen has made numerous recordings, most recently a live recording of Handel's Messiah, released by EMI. The concert was broadcast live to cinemas around the world and was the first ever live screening of a choral concert in cinemas in different countries.

Posted 15 June 2009

May Week Concert tonight

Come to an evening of fine music in the Chapel followed by strawberries and champagne on the Back Lawn. King's College Music Society is holding its May Week Concert tonight (15 June), with performances from the King's College Choir and from King's music students:

  • Haydn - Te Deum (King's Chapel Choir)
  • Albrechtsberger - Concerto for Trombone and Strings (Stephanie Dyer, soloist and director)
  • Wagner - Siegfried Idyll (chamber version conducted by Nick Bown)
  • Puccini - Mass of Glory (Stephen Cleobury conducting the Orchestra of KCMS)

The concert starts at 7pm and you can buy tickets from the Porters Lodge or The Shop at King's, King's Parade, Cambridge (£15; £10 concessions).

Posted 15 June 2009

An evening of poetry and song

The flyer for 'Dark Pastoral'

The stunning backdrop of King's College Chapel provides a perfect setting for a glorious summer evening of quintessentially English song and poetry this Saturday (11 July). The theme of the evening is 'Dark Pastoral', and it will include some of the most beautiful literature and music of the Great War period.

Andrew Kennedy (tenor) and Julius Drake (piano) will perform songs by Butterworth, Gurney and Finzi, including some lesser known and unpublished gems of the period. Between the songs, Alex Jennings (The Queen, War Requiem, The Wings of the Dove) will read poems by Brooke, Houseman and Vera Brittain. The Pastoral theme was a rich source of inspiration, contrasting with the bitter tragedy of the period, to depict love, optimism and beauty.

Kate Kennedy will give a pre-concert talk at 7.15 in the Chapel, and the concert will start at 8pm. You can buy tickets from the Cambridge Corn Exchange Box Office, Wheeler St, Cambridge (tel: 01223 357851). Tickets cost £16 (students under 25 and children £5 on the door only).

The evening was organised in partnership with the 'Music and Literature of the First World War' conference at King's. For details of the conference email

Posted 8 June 2009

Plan to preserve the Backs

A photo of the back Gate of King's

Horse chestnut trees over the Back Gates of King's

Plans have been drawn up to tackle the spread of tree disease along the Backs. Leaf miner is turning the leaves of horse chestnuts brown in summer, and bleeding canker is killing them. Officials from the Colleges that own sections of the Backs, including King's, have agreed to a 50-year plan to fell the diseased trees and plant new ones.

The plans have been drawn up by Robert Myers, the four-times Chelsea Flower Show gold award-winner, and winner of this year's People's Choice at the show. The aim of the plan is to preserve the character of the Backs and to make it more wildlife-friendly.

The Backs is a tree lined strip of land next to the River Cam behind six Colleges: King's, Queens', Clare, Trinity Hall, Trinity and St John's. Historically, the land was used to grow fruit and graze cattle, and in the summer King's still has cattle on its area of the Backs.

Posted 2 June 2009

Singing on the river

A photo of Collegium Regale singing from punts

Spend a summer evening by the river on 21 June and watch Collegium Regale, the King's Choral Scholars, sing from punts. The Scholars will sing madrigals, part songs, spirituals, close harmony and classics, plus songs by Frank Sinatra, Queen and Michael Jackson.

The concert starts at 7.30 by the river at King's, and tickets cost £10, subject to a booking fee of £1 if you pay by credit or debit card. You can buy tickets from The Shop at King's on King's Parade, Cambridge, or online from the Friends of King's website. If the weather is wet, the concert will be held in the Chapel. 'Singing on the River' is supported by origin8, from whom you can buy a variety of picnic hampers.

Posted 28 May 2009

King's is recruiting choristers

A photo of choristers singing

Is your son aged six or seven and musical? King's is holding auditions for choristerships on 3 October 2009 and 16 January 2010.

Sing in the magnificent King's Chapel, receive an excellent education, enjoy broadcasts, recordings and foreign tours.

The Director of Music, Stephen Cleobury, would be delighted to talk to parents on an informal basis (tel: 01223 331224; email: For information about the school contact King's College School (tel: 01223 365814; email: See also the audition flyer [pdf, 1MB].

King's makes every effort to make choristerships possible for any boy with the right musical ability, regardless of financial circumstances.

Posted 26 May 2009

Extra support for iconic tree

Chestnut tree

The horse chestnut tree in front of the Chapel is being stabilised. This 150 year-old tree is a familiar sight to those pass along King's Parade, and is often photographed with the Chapel. It already has steel cables fitted, but it needs extra support. Tree surgeons will fit three more cables, cut back some of the heavier limbs, and shape the crown.

This work follows concerns about the safety and health of the tree after one of its limbs fell off last year. Cambridge City Council's arboricultural officer investigated the tree and talked to the University about how to minimise the loss of other branches and safeguard its future.

If the weather is fine and if the tree is free of bats and birds' nests, the work will start on on 27 July and last four days.

Posted 21 May 2009

King's student scoops an award

A photo of Stephen Gerrard

King's undergraduate Stephen Gerrard is part of a team that has won a prestigious grant to fund research into HIV prevention.

Stephen is studying Chemical Engineering and his team has been awarded $100,000 by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The money will help the team develop low-cost nipple shields that prevent the HIV virus from being passed from a mother to her breast-feeding infant.

Stephen's international team is headed by David Sokal of non-profit organisation Family Health International. Their project, A New Way to Prevent HIV Infection During Breastfeeding, uncovered a compound called Sodium Dodecyl Sulphate (SDS), which can kill the HIV virus quickly in non-toxic concentrations. They designed a nipple shield which included material soaked in SDS, so the virus will not be passed from mother to child through breast milk.

Stephen is carrying on his studies at King's after graduating, and starts a PhD in October.

Posted 18 May 2009

Come to an Open Day

If you are thinking of going to university, come to King's on one of the University of Cambridge's Open Days. The Open Days are on 2 and 3 July, and there is no need to book for King's. You can have a guided tour of the College and talk some of the students and Fellows. The College will be open 10am - 1pm and 2pm - 4pm, so you can just drop by. The last tours are at 12.30pm and 3.30pm respectively.

You can find more details and the dates of future Open Days on the Open Days page.

Posted 15 May 2009

Chapel organ on DVD

A DVD of Stephen Cleobury playing the Chapel organ has just been released. Stephen is the Director of Music at King's, and he plays pieces by various composers including Bach, Handel, Mendelssohn and Elgar. In the video below he plays the wedding favourite 'Arrival of the Queen of Sheba' by Handel.

The music is accompanied by footage of King's College, of the magnificent Chapel, and of the organ itself. The organ dates back to 1605 but much of it, including the console, is invisible to the public. This DVD gives you a unique insight into the structure of the organ and how it is played. For more details about the organ see the organ recitals page.

The DVD also includes an interview with Stephen Cleobury, in which he demonstrates how the organ works and discusses his career as an organist. Although best known for being Director of the King's College choir, Stephen has had a long and distinguished career as an organist. He began organ lessons at 13 and went on to be Master of Music at Westminster Cathedral and President of the Royal College of Organists.

The DVD comes with a free CD of the music as well as extensive cover notes. You can buy it from the publisher Priory Records or from The Shop at King's on King's Parade, Cambridge.

Posted 11 May 2009

Sir Kenneth Berrill dies

Former First Bursar of King's Sir Kenneth Berrill died last Wednesday (29 April) at his home in Grantchester. He was 88.

Sir Kenneth graduated from the London School of Economics in 1941 and became a Lecturer in Economics at Cambridge in 1949. He came to King's in 1962 and was First Bursar and Fellow of King's from 1962 to 1969. He was made an Honorary Fellow in 1974.

After leaving King's Sir Kenneth occupied a series of influential roles. He was the Chief Economic Adviser to the Treasury (1973-4), Head of Central Policy Review Staff at the Cabinet Office (1974-80) and the first chairman of the Securities and Investments Board (1985-88). He was knighted in 1971.

Posted 5 May 2009

The fountain gets a facelift

A photo of the fountain

The College fountain is being cleaned and restored for the summer. The fountain has leaked for some time due to the erosion of the stone in the basin. Stonemasons are scouring the basin to remove the crumbling layers, and then resurfacing it.

The bronze figures are also being cleaned and wax sealed, and the spray is being serviced. Work is due to be finished by the end of June.

The fountain was designed by Henry Hugh Armstead (1828-1905) and built in 1879. A bronze statue of the College's founder Henry VI (1421-1471) stands on top, offering his charter to establish King's College. Religion and Philosophy sit beneath him. Religion sits on the South side and holds a replica of the Chapel on top of a Bible, whilst Philosophy sits to the North and holds a scroll.

Meanwhile, restoration work continues on the Chapel. Work started last year on a major ten-year programme to restore the windows, carved stonework and walls. To help fund this restoration work, you can become a Friend of King's.

Posted 1 May 2009

Students perform tragedy

Poster for 'Festen'

King’s students perform a new adaptation of the critically acclaimed play Festen this May.

Festen (Danish, 'The Celebration') is often credited with the rebirth of tragedy in modern drama. It is set at the 60th birthday party of a family patriach, Helge. At the birthday dinner, his eldest son gives a speech accusing him of sexually abusing and raping both him and his twin sister. Helge's family and friends dismiss the accusations as absurd or a figment of the son's imagination.

The play provides a powerful commentary on moral ineptitude, and addresses our response to societal failure rather than an examination of its causes.

The staging in King's Hall means that the audience can participate actively in the production. They will be asked to toast, clap and dance with the rest of the cast during the performance.

The play has been adapted from the original Danish film by Thomas Vinterberg and colleagues, and its first English adaptation by David Eldridge. King's Drama, a student society founded last year, provides much of the funding. The cast consists of students from across the university along with a student from Anglia Ruskin University. King's Drama hopes to go on to support more theatrical performances staged in King's during the next academic year.

Performances take place on 5, 7 and 9 May at 9.30pm in the Hall at King's College. Tickets: £4/£8 from King's College Porter's Lodge (Ticket Numbers Limited; subject to availability, some may be available on the door).

Posted 28 April 2009

Quartet explores conflict

Photo of the Dante Quartet

The award winning Dante Quartet continues its highly successful residency at King's College this Sunday, 3 May. In a concert called 'A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing' the Quartet will play four pieces expressing psychological conflict:

  • Schubert 'Quartettsatz' and 'Rosamunde' Quartet
  • Smetena Quartet no 2
  • Shostakovich Quartet no 8

Unexpected storms and harmonic shadows threaten the outwardly lyrical character of Schubert’s 'Rosamunde' quartet. Smetana's extraordinary second quartet, written in secret on scraps of paper in a psychiatric hospital, searches desperately for tranquillity amidst the forces of internal chaos. In Shostakovich’s celebrated eighth quartet the struggle is pitched between the individual and the totalitarian state. Each of these masterpieces forges an intensely personal musical language of its own.

The concert starts at 8.30pm in the Hall at King's College. Tickets £16, £12, £5 (students under 25). You can buy tickets from the Cambridge Corn Exchange (01223 357851) or the Porter's Lodge at King's.

For more concerts held at the College, see Concerts at King's.

Posted 27 April 2009

New Chapel services booklet

The services booklet for the Easter term (April - June) and the summer is now out. It contains details of the choral services, organ recitals and sermons held in the Chapel, as well as the concerts in the Concerts at King's series. Download the services booklet (pdf file, 270KB).

If you are planning a visit to King's and want to hear the Choir sing, you are welcome to attend the choral services listed in the booklet. For general information about the choral services see the services page. For more about the Choir visit the Choir pages.

Posted 22 April 2009

Messiah CD released

Cover of the Messiah CD

Listen to two excerpts from the CD

'Surely, He hath borne our griefs'

'Hallelujah' chorus

EMI have released a live recording of King's Choir singing Handel's Messiah. The recording was made over Easter this year, when the Choir performed Messiah twice.

The second performance, on 5 April, was broadcast live from the College Chapel to cinemas around the world. It was the first ever, live, simultaneous screening of a choral concert in cinemas in different countries.

The Choir performed with the Academy of Ancient Music, with distinguished soloists Ailish Tynan, Alice Coote, Allan Clayton and Matthew Rose. They were conducted by Stephen Cleobury. You can buy the double CD from The Shop at King's on King's Parade, Cambridge, or order it at A DVD is being produced in time for Christmas.

Posted 22 April 2009

JG Ballard dies

A photo of JG Ballard

Novelist and short story writer JG Ballard died on 19 April. He was 78 and had been suffering from cancer.

Ballard was born in Shanghai in 1930, and in 1943 was interned by the Japanese in the Lunghua detention camp. His experiences there supplied the material for his autobiographical novel Empire of the Sun, which was made into a film by Steven Spielberg.

Ballard came to study Medicine at King's in 1949. He intended to study Psychiatry but soon found his literary vocation and went on to study English at the University of London. His novels include The Drowned World (1962), Crash (1973), Cocaine Nights (1996) and Kingdom Come (2006).

Posted 20 April 2009

Rhonda Whitehead exhibition

A painting by Rhonda Whitehead

Rock no. 1, from the Australia Series
Larger image

An exhibition of paintings by Rhonda Whitehead began at the King's Art Centre on 24 April.

Rhonda is a Norfolk-based artist who creates abstract paintings based on a close study of how stone weathers and how water moves. The exhibition at King's will show her recent work, which explores the landscape of Australia's Northern Territory. The paintings depict ancient rock formations, weathering patterns and textures in the landscape.

Rhonda Studied at the Royal College of Art and has taught at St Martin's School of Art, Byam Shaw School of Drawing and Painting, and London College of Fashion. She has exhibited widely in group and solo shows.

The exhibition is free and runs until 24 May. The Art Centre is open from 11am to 5pm daily. Follow the signs from the front of the College or enquire at the Porters' Lodge. For more exhibitions at King's in 2009, see the Art Centre page.

Posted 20 April 2009

King’s produces a world first

Messiah concert in the Chapel

Messiah in King's Chapel
Larger image
Photo: Paul Mitchell

The world’s first live satellite relay of a choral concert into cinemas from the iconic Chapel of King’s College, Cambridge, has proved to be a huge success.

The performance by the King's Choir of Handel's Messiah was transmitted by satellite into over 200 cinemas around the world on 5 April, Palm Sunday. It is estimated that 25,000 people watched the concert, from cinemas in Vienna to Copenhagen, Liverpool to Pittsburgh.

The event was produced by King's College with Opus Arte, the company that produces live opera screenings. The Choir performed with the Academy of Ancient Music, with distinguished soloists Ailish Tynan, Alice Coote, Allan Clayton and Matthew Rose, conducted by Stephen Cleobury.

The cinema experience added new dimensions to the traditional concert: cinema-goers said they were 'overwhelmed' by the immediacy of seeing musicians close-up and 'deeply moved' by seeing the beautifully-composed shots of the interior of the stunning King's College Chapel. Director of Music at King's, Stephen Cleobury said, 'There was a very special atmosphere in the Chapel, and the new experience of being filmed live created a frisson.'

A CD of the recording of the live performance is being produced by EMI on 20 April. This can be purchased from The Shop at King's on King's Parade, Cambridge, or ordered at A DVD is being produced in time for Christmas.

Posted 9 April 2009

Become a Friend of King's

Restoring the Chapel windows

Restoring the Chapel windows

The Chapel of King's College, Cambridge, is one of the most important medieval buildings in Europe. For the last five centuries, choral services have been an essential part of the daily life of the College.

The architectural majesty of the Chapel and the musical mastery of the Choir are admired and loved by millions of people the world over. Yet the College is solely responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of the Chapel and the costs of the Choir. Over the years our friends and supporters have contributed to the restoration and conservation of the Chapel, funded choristerships and bursaries, provided music practice rooms and renovated the Chapel music library.

King's have launched their Friendship scheme to help support these programs. By becoming a Friend of King's, you will benefit from a privileged relationship with the College, help secure the future of the Chapel and Choir and ensure that they remain world treasures.

To find out more about how you can become a friend of King's and support the King's College Chapel and Choir, please visit or contact us at:

Friends of King's
King's College
Cambridge CB2 1ST

Tel: +44 (0)1223 331 247

Posted 5 April 2009

Summer dining promotions

King's Hall

This summer experience beautiful food, fine wines and immaculate service in the magnificent Hall of King's College. To celebrate the 8ooth Anniversary of Cambridge University, King’s has prepared three exclusive summer dining packages. The packages are designed to suit all tastes and budgets, and are ideal for:

  • Corporate dinners
  • Receptions
  • Private parties
  • Conferences

Download the full details of our summer packages [pdf]

Our events team will be delighted to advise and help plan your occasion. Call 01223 331215 or email to discuss your requirements, and brighten up your summer with great food in spectacular surroundings.

Posted 5 April 2009

Musical homage to Borromini

Sant'Ivo alla Sapienza

Borromini: Sant'Ivo alla Sapienza, Rome

On 9 April the Maggini Quartet play a musical homage to the Italian architect Francesco Borromini (1599-1667). The quartet play Metafore sul Borromini - seven pieces by Peter Maxwell Davies that were inspired by Borromini's Roman churches.

Maxwell Davies (1934- ) is a leading contemporary composer, and Master of the Queen's Music. He studied in Rome and wrote about the deep impression Borromini's churches made on him, of the 'extraordinarily original manipulation of space and light...and the pulsating rhythms of decoration'. Borromini mixed old styles of architecture with the new Baroque style just as Maxwell Davies weaves plainsong with contemporary and innovative musical lines. The seven movements of the quartet will be interspersed with readings.

The concert starts at 8.15pm in King’s College Chapel. Tickets: £15 available from the Cambridge Corn Exchange (01223 357851). For more concerts this Easter at King's, see the Easter Festival page.

Posted 2 April 2009

Tweet about King's


Follow the latest news and chat about King's, and share your views about the College, by going to:

Twitter is a microblogging site where you post short pieces of text, or 'tweets', of 140 characters or less. If you haven't got an account already you can create one quickly and easily, and follow tweets from the BBC, The British Museum, John Cleese, as well as colleges and universities around the country.

On Facebook you can become a fan of the College. You can keep informed of events and concerts, read regular news updates and connect with other fans.

Posted 30 March 2009

amarcord sing at the Chapel

A photo of amarcord

The renowned vocal ensemble amarcord visit King's for the first time on 7 April. The ensemble will sing three master works from the Renaissance:

  • Josquin Desprez, Ave Maria
  • Pierre de la Rue, Missa de Septem Doloribus
  • Lassus, Lamentationes Ieremiae Prophetae

In the beautiful Ave Maria, Josquin Desprez (c. 1450 - 1521) shows his mastery of the polyphonic style, with melodic lines parting, combining and pausing with surprising effect. Pierre de la Rue (c. 1452 - 1518) was the most prominent composer of the Burgundian court during the late 1400’s, and was another master of polyphony. At that time the Feast of the Seven Sorrows (Missa de Septem Doloribus) was a major feast day during Lent. The poignant 'Lamentations of the prophet Jeremiah' by Lassus (c. 1530 – 1594) was written to commemorate the devastation of Judah and the city of Jerusalem in 586BC.

amarcord were founded in 1992 by ex-members of Leipzig's famous St Thomas’s Boys Choir. They sing medieval and Renaissance music, but also collaborate with contemporary composers. Sometimes called 'The German King's Singers', they have become one of the world’s leading vocal ensembles.

The concert starts at 8pm in King’s College Chapel. Tickets: £20, £15, £12 (unsighted seats £5), available from the Cambridge Corn Exchange (01223 357851). For more concerts this Easter at King's, see the Easter Festival page.

Posted 26 March 2009

King's appears on Street View

You can now view panoramic images of King's College on Google Street View. Street View is a feature of Google Maps and Google Earth that lets you view streets in a series of photographic stills. Here is the front of King's:


View larger map

You can change the direction of your view by moving the 'N' around the compass in the top left, or by clicking the arrows in the compass. If you want to travel further along the road, turn so you are facing down the road in either direction, and click on the white arrow that appears.

If you click on the 'View larger map' link beneath the image you'll be taken to Google Maps. In the bottom right of this larger view you'll see an inset map with an orange 'pegman' marking where you are. To get other views of King's and Cambridge, drag the pegman onto another street. You might need to zoom out first using the '—' button in the top right of the inset.

Google launched Street View in the USA in 2007, and in the UK on 18 March 2009. Twenty-five UK cities have been covered so far, including Cambridge, Oxford, Cardiff, Edinburgh, London and York. The pictures were taken using customised camera cars, and have already raised concerns over privacy. Google say that if anyone is concerned about an image they should use the 'Report a problem' link on each image, and the offending image will be removed.

You can find out more on Google's Street View website.

Posted 23 March 2009

Kingswoman publishes thriller

A photo of Keynes

Ex-King's student Ruth Newman has just published her first novel,

Twisted Wing. The novel won the Long Barn Books first novel competition, and has been sold to 10 different countries. Kudos Productions (Spooks, Hustle, Life on Mars) have bought the film rights.

The novel is a dark psychological thriller about a serial killer stalking a Cambridge college. Kate Lyall Grant, paperback editor of publisher Simon and Schuster, describes the book as 'gripping and chilling in equal measure' and says the author is 'a real find'.

Ruth studied Social and Political Sciences at King's. She was particularly interested in the psychology and the criminology parts of the course, which fuelled her interest in the psychology of serial killers. After graduating she worked in the King's library before moving to Judge Business School, eventually becoming a web editor.

Ruth launched Twisted Wing at Heffers in Cambridge on 19 March. You can buy her book from Amazon.

Posted 19 March 2009

Inspired by architecture

A painting by Ray Whewell

A new exhibition at the King's Art Centre takes its inspiration from Renaissance architecture. The artist, Ray Whewell, creates compositions from images of Italian cities and of modern Cambridge. Ray has lived in Cambridge for 20 years, and uses oil, watercolours and traditional drawing materials.

The exhibition runs form 27 March - 9 April and admission is free. The Art Centre is open from 11am to 5pm daily. Follow the signs from the front of the College or enquire at the Porters' Lodge.

Meanwhile, Winchester Cathedral is showing work by King's Art Centre Coordinator Don Stubbs. Don's Lauds and Vespers Triptychs are on display in the Cathedral until 3 April. Don's large figurative painting A Winchester Triptych - 'An honest religious thinker' will also be shown at the Cathedral from 20 July - 14 August.

Posted 16 March 2009

Centenary of Keynes at King's

A photo of Keynes

One of the great thinkers of the 20th century, John Maynard Keynes, was elected a Fellow of King's on 16 March 1909. Keynes came up to King's as an Eton scholar in 1902 to read mathematics, but his interests gradually turned towards economics, and he became a lecturer in Economics in 1908.

His fame developed during and after the First World War, when he acted as an economic advisor to the British government. He resigned from the peace negotiations at Versailles saying 'the consequences will be disastrous in the extreme...How can you expect me to assist at this tragic farce any longer?' In his famous book

The Economic Consequences of the Peace, he predicted that reparations would bankrupt Germany and lead to further conflict in Europe.

In 1936 he published The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, which is often considered to be the foundation of modern macroeconomics. Keynes felt that the government should intervene to prevent mass unemployment, and his ideas influenced US President Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal in the 1930s. His ideas have attracted renewed interest in the current economic downturn. Some economists have grown sceptical about the ability of the free market to regulate itself, and have returned to Keynes' ideas on government intervention for a solution.

Keynes was Bursar of King's in the inter-war years and, despite the Depression, substantially improved the finances of the College. The Inspectors of Accounts commented on 'the brilliance and, even more, the intrepidity of the First Bursar.'

Keynes became a well-known patron of the arts and sciences, and was the driving force for creating the Cambridge Arts Theatre. He collected 20th century paintings as well as rare books and scientific manuscripts. When he died in 1946 he left his rare books, manuscripts, personal papers and art collection to the College, along with a financial bequest through which the Keynes Building was built.

Contact the Archives Centre to see his personal papers collection, or the Library for further information about his rare book and manuscript collection. You can see many pieces from his art collection at Cambridge's Fitzwilliam Museum.

Posted 16 March 2009

Learning from the Levellers

A photo of Melissa Lane

At the recent Convention on Modern Liberty, King's Fellow Melissa Lane explored what we can learn about liberty from the Levellers. The Levellers were seventeenth century radicals who called for an (almost) universal suffrage, for representative government and religious freedom.

Dr Lane (right)pointed out that, like the Convention on Modern Liberty, the Levellers did not see themselves as a political party: they saw their cause as transcending partisanship. She noted the echo of this ideal in President Obama's call for non-partisanship. In the UK, she argued, non-partisanship is a particularly challenging idea because partisanship is enshrined in the Constitution, in the role of 'the Opposition'.

The Levellers also based their political beliefs in their Christian ideals. For the Levellers, Christianity meant working for the 'public good', and liberty was valued as part of this good and as a means to these ideals. Dr Lane argues that defenders of liberty today should avoid isolating themselves from the broader public. While defending the liberties of the marginal or deviant, they also need to show how freedom is more generally part of a positive social ideal.

You can read read a transcript of Melissa Lane's speech on the Open Democracy website.

Posted 12 March 2009

Apply for a music award

A photo of a cello

Undergraduate offer holders can now download the forms to apply for the Instrumental Award Scheme for Chamber Music. The Scheme enables gifted players to reach a high standard of performance in chamber music.

Instrumental Award-holders receive a small financial award (currently £75), as well as a subsidy towards instrumental lessons, and free chamber music coaching from major professional coaches. Award-holders are expected to give priority to rehearsals (about six hours per week) with their ensembles. Successful applicants will be placed in an ensemble by the Scheme’s managers.

Players of the following instruments can apply: piano, violin, viola, cello, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon and French horn. You can download more information and the application form on the Information for applicants page.

Posted 6 March 2009

King's scholars celebrated

An article in the Times Higher Education Supplement (THES) says four King's scholars are examples of why the University of Cambridge succeeds.

The author, Ross Anderson, looks back over the University's 800-year history and argues that the University's impact is due to its dissenters. He names four King's scholars as examples: Edward Foxe (Tudor theologian), John Maynard Keynes (economist), E. M. Forster (novelist) and Alan Turing (mathematician and pioneer of computing).

Apart from a tradition of dissent, Professor Anderson argues that self-governance has also allowed the University to flourish, and he encourages politicians to support intellectual freedom and self-government in Universities.

Read the full article on the THES website.

Posted 6 March 2009

Maths Open Day

If you are thinking of studying Maths at Kings, come to our annual Mathematics Open Day on 25 April. You'll have the chance to tour the College, meet the Maths tutors and attend sample talks and lectures. King’s College has a strong tradition in maths, and has the first female maths Professor in the University. You can find more details along with the booking form on the Open Days page.

Posted 5 March 2009

Chapel organ repaired

A photo of the Chapel organ

The Chapel organ is working again after repairs to its pipes and keyboards. Three of the organ's largest pipes were starting to collapse under their own weight. The pipes were removed and taken to the organ builders Harrison & Harrison in Durham, where they were strengthened with zinc liners.

Harrison & Harrison also repaired some internal pipes and added new features to the keyboard console. You can find details of the repairs and the new organ specification on the organ recitals page.

The organ has been out of action for six weeks but you can hear it again during the forthcoming Easter at King's, when it will be played by two former organ scholars of the College. Dan Hyde (Informator Choristarum-elect, Magdalene College, Oxford) plays Alain in a live Radio 3 broadcast on Good Friday, and Simon Preston (formerly Director of Music at Christ Church, Oxford and Westminster Abbey) plays Messiaen and Bach on Easter Monday. See the Easter Festival page or download the Easter Festival brochure [pdf, 1.75MB].

Posted 26 February 2009

Peter Avery memorial service

A photo of Peter Avery

A memorial service for Peter Avery will be held in King's College Chapel on Saturday 7 March at 2.30pm.

Peter was a renowned scholar of Iran, whose publications included Modern Iran and a translation of the Ruba'iyat of Omar Khayyam. He was a long-time University lecturer in Persian Studies and Director of the University's Middle East Centre. He became a Fellow of King's in 1964 and remained at King's until his death on 6 October 2008.

Posted 25 February 2009

Chapel discussed on Radio 3

Henry VIII as Solomon

Lucie Skeaping visited the College Chapel in the Early Music Show broadcast on Radio 3 on 22 February. She talked to writer and art historian Carola Hicks about the magnificent stained glass. They discussed the background to stained glass, how it came to England from Flanders, why the chapel and glass took so long to complete, and how it symbolises the power of the Tudors and their era.

These ideas were reflected in the music in the programme, which included recordings of the College Choir singing Thomas Tallis, and also sacred and secular music from the 15th and early 16th Centuries.

You can still view the playlist of the programme on the BBC iPlayer. See also the history of the Chapel.

Posted 23 February 2009

Mendelssohn celebrated

Mendelssohn concert poster

King's is holding a Foundation Concert on 14 March to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Mendelssohn's birth, and the 568th anniversary of the laying of the College's foundation stone by Henry VI. The concert includes a rare opportunity to hear the famous O for the Wings of a Dove in its orchestral setting, his sparkling Violin Concerto and the triumphant choral finale of his Hymn of Praise:

  • Mendelssohn: Hör mein Bitten
    Violin Concerto
  • Magnus Johnston, violin
  • Bibi Heal, soprano
  • Lynette Alcantara, mezzo soprano
  • Andrew Staples, tenor
  • King’s choral scholars, past and present
  • Ladies of King’s Voices and CUMS Chorus
  • Cambridge University Chamber Orchestra
  • Stephen Cleobury conductor

The doors open at 5pm and the concert starts at 5.30pm in King’s College Chapel. Tickets £30, £25, £17 (£5 for students under 25 on door only), available from the Cambridge Corn Exchange (01223 357851).

For more concerts held at the College, see Concerts at King's.

Posted 23 February 2009

KCMS play Wagner and Brahms

The orchestra of King's College Music Society (KCMS) and the College mixed voice choir, King's Voices, perform pieces by Wagner, Brahms and Long on 22 February:

  • Wagner: Siegfried Idyll
  • Brahms: Ein Deutsches Requiem
  • Long: Chaconne for 8 winds and Percussion
  • Conductors: Simon Brown, Nicholas Bown, James Long

Wagner composed his intimate symphonic poem, Siegfried Idyll, as a birthday present to his wife after the birth of their son Siegfried in 1869. Brahms' Ein Deutsches Requiem is a larger-scale composition, scored for chorus, orchestra, and soloists. Brahms compiled the text himself and the said the piece was more to comfort the living than help the souls of the dead. James Long is a third-year undergraduate at King's, and conducts his own composition.

The concert starts at 8pm in King's College Chapel. Tickets: £10 (£5 for students), available from the Porter's Lodge.

Posted 16 February 2009

Dunn questions democracy

King's Parade cover

Political Theorist and King's Fellow Professor John Dunn argues that democratic governments rarely reflect the wishes of their electorate for long. In an interview in the latest King's Parade magazine, Dunn argues that these governments often see their election as a mandate to do as they please. Despite this, he remains 'reasonably democratic in spirit'.

The latest issue of King's Parade also looks at E M Forster's novel A Room with a View, published 100 years ago, the restoration of a 16th century altarpiece in the Chapel, and other news from around the College.

Download King's Parade magazine [pdf, 775KB]

Email the editor to suggest see topics you would like to see covered or pose questions you would like answered in the magazine.

Posted 11 February 2009

Cambridge composer returns

Poster for 'Composer's Concert'

Composer and former King's student Robin Holloway returns to the College to devise the 'Composer's Concert' on 5 March. The concert includes choral music both ancient and contemporary, and two of Robin's extraordinary and virtuoso sonatas.

  • Holloway: Sonata for solo cello
    Canzona and Toccata for trumpet and organ
  • Anthems by Purcell, Bach and Holloway
  • Alice Neary, cello
    Crispian Steele-Perkins, trumpet
    King’s College Choir
    Stephen Cleobury, organ and conductor

The concert starts at 8pm in King's College Chapel. Tickets: £20, £15, £12, or £5 for students under 25. You can buy tickets from the Cambridge Corn Exchange (01223 357851).

For more concerts held at the College, see Concerts at King's.

Posted 9 February 2009

Art Centre shows new portraits

Exhibition poster for Bing Jones

An exhibition of portraits by Bing Jones opened in the King's Art Centre on 20 February. The exhibition is of Bing's recent work, including formal oil and tempera portraits. It also includes more intimate paintings and drawings in chalk, graphite and ink.

Bing is both a painter and a doctor, and masters traditional methods to express the subtlety of the human face. He has received commissions from Presidents of Royal Colleges and senior academics as well as sporting and business figures.

Admission is free and the exhibition runs until 6 March. The Art Centre is open from 11am to 5pm daily. Follow the signs from the front of the College or enquire at the Porters' Lodge. For more details, including other exhibitions planned for 2009, see the Art Centre page.

Posted 9 February 2009

A walk through history

King's College Chapel

You can now download an audio walk about the history of the University of Cambridge. The walk is called 'Buildings, Lives and Legacies' and it tells the history of King's College Chapel (left) as well as Trinity College, St John's College, Old Cavendish Laboratory, the Fitzwilliam Museum, and other famous Colleges and University buildings.

The walk takes about two hours, but you can pause the audio whenever you like to give yourself time to view the sites. Download the map and audio files from the Buildings, Lives and Legacies website.

The walk was commissioned as part of the University's 800th anniversary celebrations. Find more anniversary events on the 800th anniversary website.

Posted 27 January 2009

Quartet play 'Divine Comedy'

Poster for 'Divine Comedy'

On 7 February the quartet in residence at King's , the Dante Quartet, play a concert exploring musical jokes. 'Divine Comedy' will feature Haydn's Quartet op 33 no 2 in E flat ('the Joke'), Phil Green's raunchy String Boogie, and Hindemith's Overture to 'The Flying Dutchman', which wickedly evokes a "second rate orchestra sight reading at seven o'clock in the morning at a spa town."

The Quartet will also play Beethoven's Quartet op 130 in B flat, which revels in exquisite humour, each movement illustrating a different kind of playfulness. The humour is suspended for the "Cavatina", one of Beethoven's most heavenly compositions, so unearthly that it was included in a time capsule sent into outer space by NASA to convey humanity's greatest achievements to extra terrestrial life forms.

The concert starts at 8.30pm in the Hall at King's College. Tickets: £16, £12, students under 25 £5. You can buy tickets from the Cambridge Corn Exchange (01223 357851) or the Porter's Lodge at King's.

For more concerts held at the College, see the events calendar.

Posted 26 January 2009

Messiah in world cinemas

This year Easter at King's saw a major new development: the King's Choir's performance of Handel's Messiah was transmitted live into cinemas across Europe and North America. This was the first ever, live, simultaneous screening of a choral concert in cinemas in different countries. Watch the trailer below (requires Adobe Flash Player).

EMI has recorded the concerts and on 20 April will release a CD of the performance. For details of this forthcoming CD and of the live performance of Messiah, see the Easter Festival page. For the live cinema venues and cinema tickets, please go to:

Posted 9 January 2009

American choral masterpieces

VocalEssence concert flyer

The renowned American singers the VocalEssence Ensemble will perform in the Chapel on 23 January. The 32-voice mixed chorus will sing 'American Choral Masterpieces', featuring work by Copland, Bernstein and Whitacre.

Tickets cost £20, £15, £12 (£5 students on the door only) and are available from the Corn Exchange Box Office (01223 357851). Doors open at 7pm and the concert starts at 7.30pm.

The concert is part of VocalEssence's 40th anniversary tour of the UK. For more of their tour dates, see the VocalEssence website. For more forthcoming concerts at the College see Concerts at King's.

Posted 9 January 2009

Lent Term choral services

Stained glass image of Pontius Pilate

The Lent term services booklet is also now available. The booklet gives details of the services and concerts to be held in the Chapel from January to Easter 2009, and includes the events for Holy Week and the Easter Festival.

Please note that the usual organ recitals will not take place in January and February because the Chapel organ is undergoing repairs.

Download the services booklet [pdf, 260KB]

You can also find details about the Easter events in the separate Easter Festival booklet [pdf, 1.7MB].

Posted 6 January 2009

800 years of Cambridge

'Octo', the 800th anniversary mascot

In 2009 the University of Cambridge will celebrate its 800th anniversary. Throughout the year, the University will give podcasts, fund academic projects, hold special concerts and lectures, and write letters to the future.

Celebrations start at 7.15pm on 17 January when churches in central Cambridge ring in the New Year. The bell ringing will be followed by a light show in the evenings of 17-19 January (4.30-10pm). Images will be projected onto the Senate House and Old Schools, accompanied by music that includes King's Choir's recording of Spem in alium by Thomas Tallis. The celebrations end in December 2009 with a light show extravaganza on King's Parade.

For details of the year's celebrations see the 800th anniversary website.

Posted 15 December 2008

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