Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
He was educated at Highgate School , where a fellow pupil was John Tavener. He then studied music at Clare College, Cambridge, where he was first organ scholar and then director of music from 1975 to 1979. In 1981 he founded his own choir, the "Cambridge Singers", which he conducts and with which he has made many recordings of sacred choral repertoire (including his own works). He still lives near Cambridge, but frequently conducts other choirs and orchestras around the world.
He also works as an arranger and editor, most notably (in his youth) of the extraordinarily successful Carols for Choirs anthology series in collaboration with Sir David Willcocks.
His compositions are chiefly choral, and include Christmas carols, anthems and extended works such as the Gloria and Requiem. In 2002 his setting of Psalm 150, commissioned for the Queen's Golden Jubilee, was performed at the Thanksgiving service in St Paul's Cathedral, London. His music is self-confessedly eclectic, showing the influences of the French and English choral traditions of the early 20th century, as well as of light music and American classic songwriting.
His music is very popular, particularly in the USA; though in the UK it receives a more mixed reception, as many from the Anglican choral tradition do not regard him as a sufficiently 'serious' composer. In terms of performances he is undoubtedly the most successful choral composer of his generation, and probably of the past century. For example, his Shepherd's Pipe Carol, written while he was still at school, is reputed to have sold well over one million copies in sheet music alone.
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