The King’s Singers were officially born on May 1st 1968, formed by six recently-graduated choral scholars from King’s College, Cambridge. Their vocal line-up was (by chance) two countertenors, a tenor, two baritones and a bass, and the group has never wavered from this formation since.
What really distinguished the group in its early years was its musical diversity. The King’s Singers were a weekly fixture on prime-time television, celebrating popular music never usually touched by choral ensembles, and their unique British charm, combined with their musical craft, captured audiences’ hearts the world over. The group has consistently been welcomed on the world’s great stages throughout its history – from London’s Royal Albert Hall to the Opera House in Sydney or New York’s Carnegie Hall – as well as being ambassadors for musical excellence at numerous significant global events. Two Grammy® Awards, an Emmy® Award, and a place in Gramophone magazine’s inaugural Hall of Fame sit among the numerous accolades bestowed upon the group.
This love of diversity has always fuelled The King’s Singers’ commitment to creating new music. A panoply of commissioned works by many of the supreme composers of our times – including Sir John Tavener, Toru Takemitsu, John Rutter, Luciano Berio, Nico Muhly, György Ligeti and Eric Whitacre – sits alongside countless bespoke arrangements in the group’s extensive repertoire. The group is determined to spread the joy of ensemble singing, and leads workshops and residential courses all over the world each season.
The world may have changed a lot in the fifty years since the original King’s Singers came together, but today’s group is still charged by the same lifeblood – one that wants to radiate the joy singing brings every day, and to give life to audiences with their virtuosity and vision for an exciting musical future.
The Choir can trace its roots back to the late 1800s and continued until the 1950s. At some points, the Choir boasted over 100 members, but towards the 50s, it was much reduced and eventually disbanded. The present Choir was re-formed in 1965 by 13 men keen to see a revival of choral music in Dowlais, and that number rose to 120, reflecting the enthusiasm of the early days. Today the number of choristers registered is 60 and is constantly looking to recruit new members, to ensure that the Welsh choral tradition lives on.