Stephen Cleobury

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Stephen Cleobury

Philip Brunelle and Stephen Cleobury.jpg
Cleobury (right)
with Philip Brunelle, in 2009
Stephen John Cleobury

(1948-12-31) 31 December 1948 (age 70)
Bromley, Kent, England
Alma materSt John's College, Cambridge (organ scholar)
OccupationDirector of Music at King's College, Cambridge
(choirmaster and organist)
Parent(s)John F. Cleobury
Brenda J. Randall
RelativesNicholas Cleobury (brother)

Stephen Cleobury CBE (/ˈklbəri/ KLEE-bər-ee; born 31 December 1948)[1] is an English organist and Director of Music.


Early years[edit]

Cleobury was born in Bromley, Kent, the son of John F Cleobury and Brenda J Randall. He was organ scholar at St John's College, Cambridge under the musical directorship of George Guest, and sub-organist of Westminster Abbey before becoming Master of Music at Westminster Cathedral in 1979. He was head of music at St Matthew's Church, Northampton and head of music at Northampton Grammar School during the mid 1970s. He was also President of the Royal College of Organists from 1990 to 1992. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Music and an Honorary Doctor of Music from Anglia Ruskin University.[2]

King's College, Cambridge[edit]

In 1982 he took up the position of Director of Music for the Choir of King's College, Cambridge, where he also teaches music. He was conductor of Cambridge University Musical Society (CUMS) from 1983 to 2009, and made many recordings with that group, including Verdi's Quattro Pezzi Sacri and Goehr's The Death of Moses. As part of the celebrations of the 800th anniversary of Cambridge University, he premiered Peter Maxwell Davies' The Sorcerer's Mirror. He was also Chief Conductor of the BBC Singers from 1995 to 2007, and has been Conductor Laureate since 2007.

Cleobury will retire on 30 September 2019,[3] and will be succeeded at King's College by Daniel Hyde.[4]

Beyond Cambridge[edit]

Cleobury served as Visiting Fellow at the Louisiana State University School of Music, for 2013-2014[5]

Personal life[edit]

His brother Nicholas Cleobury is also a conductor. His cousin Stephen Dean is a composer.[6] He lives with his wife Emma and their two daughters.[7]

Selected honours and awards[edit]

In 2008 Cleobury was awarded an Honorary Fellowship of the Royal School of Church Music.[8] Cleobury was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2009 Birthday Honours.[9][10]



As conductor:

  • 2013 - Britten: Saint Nicolas (Choir of King's College, Cambridge)
  • 2013 - Mozart: Requiem Realisations (Choir of King's College, Cambridge)
  • 2012 - Nine Lessons & Carols (Choir of King's College, Cambridge)
  • 2007 - I Heard a Voice - Music From the Golden Age, Works by Weelkes, Gibbons and Tomkins (Choir of King's College, Cambridge, Oliver Brett, Peter Stevens)
  • 2006 - Brahms: A German Requiem (Choir of King's College, Cambridge, with Susan Gritton, Hanno Müller-Brachmann, Evgenia Rubinova and Jose Gallardo)
  • 2003 - Mahler: Symphony No. 2 "Auferstehung" (CUMS with MIT, Boston)
  • 2003 - Bach: Johannes-Passion (Choir of King's College, Cambridge, with John Mark Ainsley, Stephen Richardson, Catherine Bott, Michael Chance, Paul Agnew, and Stephen Varcoe)
  • 2002 - Vivaldi: Gloria (Choir of King's College, Cambridge, with the Academy of Ancient Music)
  • 2001 - Howells: Te Deum & Jubilate (Choir of King's College Cambridge)
  • 2000 - Handel: Israel in Egypt (Choir of King's College, Cambridge, Ian Bostridge, Michael Chance, Susan Gritton, Stephen Varcoe)
  • 2000 - Best Loved Hymns (Choir of King's College, Cambridge)
  • 1999 - Rachmaninov: Vespers (Choir of King's College, Cambridge)
  • 1998 - John Rutter: Requiem (Choir of King's College, Cambridge)
  • 1997 - Stanford: Evening Services in C and G (Choir of King's College, Cambridge)
  • 1996 - The King's Collection (Choir of King's College, Cambridge)
  • 1996 - Allegri: Miserere (Choir of King's College, Cambridge)
  • 1995 - Handel: Dixit Dominus (Choir of King's College, Cambridge)
  • 1994 - Ikos (Choir of King's College, Cambridge)
  • 1994 - Handel: Messiah (Choir of King's College, Cambridge, with Lynne Dawson, Hilary Summers, John Mark Ainsley and Alastair Miles)
  • 1994 - Bach: St Matthew Passion (Choir of King's College, Cambridge, with Rogers Covey-Crump, Michael George, Emma Kirkby, Michael Chance, Martyn Hill, David Thomas)
  • 1990 - Tallis: Spem in alium, Lamentations of Jeremiah, Responsaries (Choir of King's College, Cambridge)
  • 1989 - Fauré: Requiem; Duruflé: Requiem (Choir of King's College, Cambridge, Olaf Bär, Ann Murray)
  • 1984 - O Come All Ye Faithful (Favourite Christmas Carols) (Choir of King's College, Cambridge)

As organist:

  • 1993 - Organ Favourites from King's College, Cambridge
  • 2004 - British Organ Music from King's
  • 2007 - Organ Classics from King's
  • 2009 - The Grand Organ of King's College
  • 2017 - The King of Instruments: A Voice Reborn


As conductor:

  • Anthems from King's (Choir of King's College, Cambridge)
  • Carols from King's (Choir of King's College, Cambridge)
  • Handel: Messiah (Choir of King's College, Cambridge)
  • Bach: Johannes Passion (Choir of King's College, Cambridge)


  1. ^ "Reign of King's", BBC Music Magazine (Christmas 2018 ed.), p. 38, 29 November 2018
  2. ^ "Anglia Ruskin University's Honorary Graduate Site". Retrieved 26 December 2014.
  3. ^ "King's advertises for a new Director of Music".
  4. ^ "King's College appoints new Director of Music – King's College, Cambridge". Retrieved 2018-05-25.
  5. ^ "LSU School of Music Appoints Stephen Cleobury as 2013-14 Visiting Fellow". Archived from the original on 3 April 2013. Retrieved 26 December 2014.
  6. ^ "Stephen Cleobury biography". Retrieved 1 Jan 2016.
  7. ^ "Life Outside Cambridge". Retrieved 1 Jan 2016.
  8. ^ "RCM Awarded". Retrieved 2015-07-17.
  9. ^ "No. 59090". The London Gazette (Supplement). 13 June 2009. p. 7.
  10. ^ "Knights Bachelor : Knighthoods" (PDF). Retrieved 2015-07-17.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Sir Philip Ledger
Director of Music, King's College, Cambridge
Succeeded by
Daniel Hyde