Join us at Southwark Cathedral for this very special event as welcome composer and conductor John Rutter for an evening under Gaia, our latest art installation by artist Luke Jerram

Friday 14 October


Tickets £18.00 via Eventbrite

John Rutter will discuss his career and music which will be interspersed by some of his works sung by the Great Choir of Southwark Cathedral directed by Ian Keatley the Cathedral Director of Music.


John Rutter

John Rutter was born in London and studied music at Clare College, Cambridge. He first came to notice as a composer during his student years; much of his early work consisted of church music and other choral pieces including Christmas carols. From 1975–79 he was Director of Music at his alma mater, Clare College, and directed the college chapel choir in various recordings and broadcasts. Since 1979 he has divided his time between composition and conducting. Today his compositions, including such concert-length works as Requiem, Magnificat, Mass of the Children, The Gift of Life, and Visions are performed around the world. His music has featured in a number of British royal occasions, including the two most recent royal weddings. He edits the Oxford Choral Classics series, and, with Sir David Willcocks, co-edited four volumes of Carols for Choirs. In 1983 he formed his own choir the Cambridge Singers, with whom he has made numerous recordings, and he appears regularly in several countries as guest conductor and choral ambassador. He holds a Lambeth Doctorate in Music, and in 2007 was awarded a CBE for services to music.


Southwark Cathedral Choir

The earliest mention of any musical activity at Southwark is in 1365 (then the Augustinian Priory of St Mary Overie) when one Nicholas Le Clerk was appointed to teach boys to sing and read

In 1456, the parish records include a payment made to the 'theatrical children' at St Saviour's (as it was then known). The first direct reference to professional singers is in 1569 when Brian Pattinson, one of the vestry clerks, helped himself to the huge sum of £20 from funds to pay the Choir. He was dismissed and replaced by a successor 'who shall be a good bass'. At the same time, the Choir also advertised for 'a tenor, that the choir may be better served.'

St Saviour's Church became the Cathedral for the newly formed Diocese of Southwark in 1905 and has boasted a fine Choir of boys and men for many years, offering pupils at day schools, both independent and state, the opportunity to learn music in the unique English Cathedral tradition.

As part of the Millennium Project, marking the year 2000, Southwark Cathedral Girls' Choir was formed, on similar lines to the boys, to enrich the Cathedral's musical heritage and to offer the same opportunity for musical, spiritual and social development which the boys have enjoyed for so long. This includes an unparalleled musical education (spanning music from plainsong to the present day).

The Choirs sing regular choral services throughout the week and are thus able to minister in a unique way to the people in South London and beyond through tours and invitations to special events and occasions. They have become well known through broadcasts, concert, tours and recordings.