Director of Music Fund

To celebrate the 100th Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, and to mark the outstanding career of Stephen Cleobury upon his retirement this year, the College wishes to create a new endowment to support in perpetuity the position of the Director of Music at King’s College.

Since 1876 and the appointment of A. H. “Daddy” Mann as organist, there have been only five permanent organists or Directors of Music to lead the Choir and the musical life of the College. Each has left their mark on the style, repertoire and public perception of the Choir. Daniel Hyde takes up his responsibilities as Director in September 2019, and will have the opportunity to develop further the musicianship and tone that the Choir is renowned for.

The Director of Music is now so integral to the popular image of King’s, that it may be a surprise to learn that it is not a role supported by an endowment but rather funded from the general budget of the College. To bring continuity it is increasingly important for distinct areas of College activity to be supported by restricted funds.


History of the Position

When first established, the Choir had lay clerks as professional singers, and sixteen local boys as choristers, whose training was overseen by a clerk or chaplain, and whose welfare fell to the Bursar. The transformation to the present form of the Choir was overseen by Mann, during whose time Choral Scholars began to replace the lay clerks, and the Choir School was established to draw in boy singers from a wider pool.

Mann negotiated the first radio broadcast of the Choir in 1926, and the first recording followed in 1927. With the growth in popularity and number of Chapel services, there was also an increased  sense that the musical training of the undergraduate Choral Scholars and boy choristers needed a more structured approach, and Boris Ord, already a Fellow, was appointed as the first Director of Music in 1929. Mann, while holding the position of organist for fifty-three years, was only a Fellow for the last eight years of his life, and for most of his tenure relied much on the support of the Dean and other Fellows.


The Director of Music Today

The Director of Music today is by default a Fellow of the College, a professional musician and performer, an able administrator - and yet able to coach and motivate young boys and men to sing complex works, both ancient and modern, to the best of their ability. It is a highly visible role within the College, and within the choral and classical music world, with a dizzying schedule of Chapel services, recordings, concerts and tours. The success of the Choir is also instrumental in allowing the College to draw in friends and supporters from around the world.

We have set ourselves a target of £2.5million to establish the endowment for the Director of Music, and we expect to gather support from around the world towards this goal. If you would like to learn more about how you can donate to this project please contact the Development Office.

Your support helps to fund the education of our choristers, as well as supporting the Choir's concerts, tours and recordings.
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