Clare College Cambridge

Clare College Music

For the past thirty years, music has had a high profile in the life of the College. A thriving Music Society puts on regular orchestral, choral and chamber concerts, and the Monday Lunchtime recitals are part of the established Cambridge concert calendar during term time. Apart from the music students, many of whom are talented instrumentalists, there are a large number of musicians in College every year, including a strong line-up of Instrumental Award Holders.

Many Clare musicians have gone on to distinguished professional careers in academic or practical music. Sir Roger Norrington (Honorary Fellow) was a Choral Exhibitioner at Clare. The conductors Ivor Bolton, Richard Egarr and Dominic Wheeler are former Organ Scholars, and two others, David Dunnett and Stephen Farr, are now cathedral organists at Norwich and Guildford respectively. Distinguished academics include Stephen Banfield, Professor of Music, Birmingham University. Performing musicians include the baroque violinists Margaret Faultless and Andrew Manze (also conductor), Marcus Barcham-Stevens (co-Leader, Birmingham Symphony Orchestra), Daniel Pailthorpe (co-principal flautist, BBC Symphony Orchestra) as well as Simon Blendis and Jane Salmon who are members of the Schubert Ensemble. Clare vocal soloists include sopranos Ruth Holton, Angharad Griffyd Jones and Elin Manahan Thomas, and the bass-baritone Simon Bailey. Musicans working in the areas of jazz and musical entertainment include Richard Stilgoe, Kit Hesketh-Harvey and Harvey Brough. The composer John Rutter is a former student, later Director of Music. He was appointed an Honorary Fellow in 2001.

Recent students at Clare include conductor Robin Ticciati, violinist Jamie Campbell and oboist Sasha Calin. New music has also featured highly throughout the years: numerous premières and commissions have taken place, most recently featuring new works by Christopher Willis, Chris Elcombe and Graham Ross.

Until 2014, Clare College had as its Composer-in-Residence Giles Swayne, who regularly wrote for the College's instrumentalists and singers, and taught composition for the Faculty of Music. He has written several pieces for the Choir, including The Silent Land for cello and 40-part choir, premièred at the 1998 Spitalfields Festival by Raphael Wallfisch and the Choir, which was described by The Times as "a masterpiece", and Swayne himself as "the most accomplished choral composer in Britain".  Other pieces written for the Choir include a new setting of the Magnificat, a setting of five poems entitled Uncommon Prayers for five solo instruments and choir, premiered by the Choir in Australia 2012, and a trombone concerto, Double Act, for ten solo instruments, premiered in 2013 by Clare undergraduate Mike Buchanan.  Further details about Giles Swayne are available on the Choir's website, here:

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