St John's College, Cambridge has named Christopher Gray as its new director of music.

Gray, currently director of music at Truro Cathedral, will conduct the world-famous choir, which has launched the careers of many globally recognised musicians including singers Simon Keenlyside, Iestyn Davies and Allan Clayton, plus conductors John Scott, David Hill and Stephen Cleobury.

Gray is currently responsible for Truro Cathedral Choir and its six sung services each week. He also directs the Three Spires Singers and Orchestra. Under Gray’s leadership since 2008, Truro Cathedral Choir's recent recordings have attracted praise from critics in the international classical press.

Gray oversaw the introduction of girl choristers at Truro, working with the Cathedral Chapter and Truro School to devise a model that would be right for the girls as well as complementing the existing boy choristers. Girls and women also sing as full members of The Choir of St John’s. The decision to admit girls and women means the choir is unique in a Cambridge or Oxford College – no other choir of its kind combines the voices of males and females in both adults and children.

'I have long been an admirer of St John’s College and the Chapel Choir, whose performances have such intense power to move listeners,' says Gray. 'I feel a real affinity with the distinctive ethos of St John’s and look forward to working with the extremely talented organists and singers who are the current custodians of its celebrated choral tradition, as well as with the Headmaster and staff at St John's College School.'

Heather Hancock, Master of St John’s, said: 'Chris is an exceptional musician whose acclaimed choral direction has brought the Truro Cathedral Choir to international prominence, and whose innovation in musical education and outreach is widely admired. We have no doubt that, in Chris’s hands, the St John’s College Choir will sustain and enhance its reputation for breath-taking musicality and originality, enhancing daily worship, the life of the College, and delighting audiences worldwide.'

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Founded in the 1670s, The Choir of St John’s is known internationally for its broadcasts, concert tours and more than 100 recordings. It is made up of male and female choristers, who join from the age of eight, and around 16 male and female adult choral scholars who are largely students at St John’s College. The choir'sfirst release on their imprint with Signum Classics, DEO, won the Choral Award at the 2017 BBC Music Magazine Awards.

Gray will succeed Andrew Nethsingha, who has been appointed organist and master of choristers at Westminster Abbey. He will be the latest in a long line of eminent directors of music at Westminster, including Dr George Guest, Dr Christopher Robinson and Dr David Hill.

Andrew Nethsingha’s final Evensong at St John’s will be sung on Thursday 1 December at 6.30pm. Gray will begin his new role as director of music later this academic year.

You can read our interview with Andrew Nethsingha in the Christmas issue of BBC Music Magazine.


Steve Wright
Steve WrightMulti-Platform Content Producer, BBC Music Magazine

Steve has been an avid listener of classical music since childhood, and now contributes a variety of features to BBC Music’s magazine and website. He started writing about music as Arts Editor of an Oxford University student newspaper and has continued ever since, serving as Arts Editor on various magazines.