John Rutter is an English composer and conductor, associated mainly with choral music and active internationally for many years. His larger choral works, Gloria, Requiem, Magnificat, Mass of the Children, The Gift of Life, and Visions, are widely performed around the world, and many of his shorter pieces such as The Lord bless you and keep you, For the beauty of the earth, Look at the world, and All things bright and beautiful have become ‘standards’. He has composed or arranged many Christmas carols. He established the Collegium record label in 1983 as a vehicle for recordings with his professional chamber choir the Cambridge Singers, and they have made over fifty recordings. He has enjoyed a long association with Clare College, Cambridge – first as student, then Director of Music, later as parent, and recording producer for their renowned choir.
John Rutter was born in London in 1945 and received his first musical education as a chorister at Highgate School. He went on to study music at Clare College, Cambridge, where he wrote his first published compositions and conducted his first recording while still a student.
His compositional career has embraced both large and small-scale choral works, orchestral and instrumental pieces, a piano concerto, two children's operas, music for television, and specialist writing for such groups as the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble and the King's Singers.
His larger choral works, Gloria (1974), Requiem (1985), Magnificat (1990), Psalmfest (1993) and Mass of the Children (2003) have established themselves at the heart of the modern choral canon in Britain, North America, and a growing number of other countries.
He co-edited four volumes in the Carols for Choirs series with Sir David Willcocks, and, more recently, has edited the first two volumes in the new Oxford Choral Classics series, Opera Choruses (1995) and European Sacred Music (1996).
From 1975 to 1979 he was Director of Music at Clare College, whose choir he directed in a number of broadcasts and recordings. After giving up the Clare post to allow more time for composition, he formed the Cambridge Singers as a professional chamber choir primarily dedicated to recording, and he now divides his time between composition and conducting.
He has guest-conducted or lectured at many concert halls, universities, churches, music festivals, and conferences in Europe, Africa, North and Central America and Australasia.
In 1980 he was made an honorary Fellow of Westminster Choir College, Princeton, and in 1988 a Fellow of the Guild of Church Musicians.
In 1996 the Archbishop of Canterbury conferred a Lambeth Doctorate of Music upon him in recognition of his contribution to church music.
He was honoured in the 2007 Queen’s New Year Honours List, being awarded a CBE for services to music.