Condolence Book

It is with great sadness that King’s College has learned of the death of Sir Stephen Cleobury. Following a long illness, Stephen died peacefully in the late evening of 22 November – the feast day of St Cecilia, patron saint of music and musicians – in York, where he had lived since his retirement in September.

You are welcome to submit a message of condolence here, which will be reviewed before publishing.



I have just uploaded a reading by Stephen Cleobury of LUKE 1.26-31 & 34-35 (1999) R.I.P.
Dr Simon R. Matravers
Stephen has been a welcoming friend for many years and we'll miss him very much. And thank you for the music.
Richard Apley and Fiona Blyth
Much gratitude to Stephen for inspiring my son, Bruce, a chorister in the early 80s, and my condolences to his family.
Dr Arthur Blyth
Rest in peace, Sir Stephen Cleobury. You will be missed.
Dixon Tang
I knew Stephen for half a century and for a decade researched and wrote a book about the modern history of his choir. I read about him, in archival as well as published sources, and watched and listened and thought about his music-making for a very long time. To a historian it was clear that the job at King’s was an impossible one, under the closest scrutiny of everyone everywhere. But, as with his predecessors, Stephen’s work at King’s was a vocation. He sustained and carried forward the tradition with imagination and boldness and unsleeping vigilance. His courage at the end I shall never forget. I mourn the passing of a brilliant musician and a very kind and thoughtful and generous-hearted man. His family and his friends are in my thoughts.
Timothy Day
There is great sadness in Minnesota at the loss of Stephen Cleobury. As a place with a deep and long choral history he would draw great crowds to our St. Paul Cathedral to hear the choir. Christmas Eve for many here starts at 9:00 am with the broadcast of the service starting with Michael Barone's quiet introduction. This year there will be a few tears, too. I will always remember the week I spent in August 2008 as his "chauffeur" when he played for the national AGO convention here. His ease of conversation and conviviality are personal attributes that only add to his magnificent musicality. His kind invitation and hosting us in 2009 for the Advent service and Fellows' dinner are treasured memories, as was the pleasure of meeting his family and colleagues who obviously treasured him. My sympathy to them and his other close friends and collaborators in Cambridge and around the world. As in Deuteronomy 33: The eternal God is his resting place and underneath are the everlasting arms.A gentle place for a gentle man and great musician.
Chris McHugh, Minnesota
My condoleances tot Lady Cleobury, the family and the King's Community for the great loss of Sir Stephen Cleobury. I will never forget the experience of attending many choral services in Chapel (from 1983) during which I was often deeply moved by the way Stephen Cleobury led the Choir. I feel deep respects for his integrity great and versatile musicianship. In the years 2016-2017 I worked on an article for a Dutch organ magazine about the organ restoration. I got the opportunity to speak with Sir Stephen about the restoration project, and was a real joy for me to hand him over a copy of the article in 2018. May he rest in peace!
Hendrik Jan de Bie (Blaricum, The Netherlands)
Rest well. I treasure so many of your great recordings. What a great musician. Hopefully Kings will thrive after your great tenure. It was such a joy to hear you conduct your choir twice in the cathedral in St. Paul Minnesota and once as organist in Minneapolis.
Dr F.Mark Carter
I knew Stephen whilst a choral scholar at King's. He was a musician of such integrity who led by example. His deep love for music, formidable discipline and respect for those around him are surely recognized by all those many musicians with whom he worked. On a personal note, I will always be very grateful to him for the care that he took both when recommending my organ teacher at university, and for suggesting that I pursue my studies after Cambridge in Basle. His advice was always considered and appropriate. It was particularly poignant for me that he died on the evening before the first day of rehearsals for a project that I directed with the Academy of Ancient Music. There is no way that I could have managed this project without his shining example as how best to manage a rehearsal.
Julian Perkins
Very shocked and saddened to hear of the death of Sir Stephen Cleobury, following so soon after his retirement. Ever since watching Carols from Kings in 1984, both that service and The Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols have been an indispensable part of my Christmas, just as more recently Easter from Kings has been an essential part of Holy Saturday. This is a very hard loss for all who love the English Choral tradition. His legacy will live on though, both in the work of the young musicians he trained and inspired and in his many wonderful recordings. Rest in peace Sir Stephen and rise in glory.
David Morris
A full history of the Choir, from the foundation of the College by King Henry VI in 1441 through to the present day.
The Choir's latest recordings are released on the College's own label and available to buy or download online.
Your support helps to fund the education of our choristers, as well as supporting the Choir's concerts, tours and recordings.
To mark the outstanding career of Sir Stephen Cleobury, we wish to permanently endow the Director of Music position at King's.