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John Rutter

John Milford Rutter CBE (born 24 September 1945) cron, an international professional music fraternity in
is a British composer, conductor, editor, arranger and 1985.[5][6]
record producer, mainly of choral music.
Rutter is also a Vice President of the Joyful Company of


2 Compositions

Born in London, the son of an industrial chemist and his

wife, Rutter grew up living over the Globe pub on Londons Marylebone Road.[2] He was educated at Highgate
School, where a fellow pupil was John Tavener,[3] before
reading music at Clare College, Cambridge, where he was
a member of the choir. He served as director of music at
Clare College from 1975 to 1979 and led the choir to international prominence.

Rutters compositions are chiey choral, and include

Christmas carols, anthems and extended works such as
a Gloria, the Requiem and the Magnicat.
The world premiere of Rutters Requiem (1985), and of
his authoritative edition of Faur's Requiem, took place
with the Fox Valley Festival Chorus, in Illinois. In 2002,
his setting of Psalm 150, commissioned for the Queens
Golden Jubilee, was performed at the Jubilee thanksgiving service in St Pauls Cathedral, London. Similarly, he
was commissioned to write a new anthem, This is the
day, for the Wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton in 2011, performed at Westminster Abbey
during the service.[7]

In 1974, Rutter visited the United States at the invitation

of choral musician Melvin (Mel) Olson and conducted the
premiere of his cantata Gloria in Omaha, Nebraska, in
the Witherspoon Hall of Joslyn Art Museum. The composition, commissioned by Olsons Voices of Mel Olson
chorale, has become a much-performed favourite over the

He has also written an opera for young people called


In 1981, Rutter 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), particularly under his own label
Collegium Records. He resides at Duxford in Cambridgeshire and frequently conducts many choirs and orchestras around the world.

Rutters work is published principally by Oxford University Press in England and by Hinshaw Music in the US.
It has been recorded by many choirs, but he conducts his
own recordings principally on his Collegium label.

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. In 2008, he was made an honorary Bencher of
the Middle Temple while playing a signicant role in the
2008 Temple Festival.

3 Inuences

Rutters music is eclectic, showing the inuences of the

French and English choral traditions of the early 20th
century as well as of light music and American classic songwriting. Almost every choral anthem and hymn
that he writes has a subsequent orchestral accompaniment
in addition to the standard piano/organ accompaniment,
From 1985 to 1992, Rutter suered severely from using various dierent instrumentations such as strings
myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME, or chronic fatigue syn- only, strings and woodwinds or full orchestra with brass
drome), which restricted his output; after 1985 he and percussion.
stopped writing music on commission, as he was unable
Despite composing and conducting much religious music,
to guarantee meeting deadlines.[4]
Rutter told the US television programme 60 Minutes in
Rutter also works as an arranger and editor. As a young 2003 that he was not a particularly religious man yet still
man he collaborated with Sir David Willcocks on the ex- deeply spiritual and inspired by the spirituality of sacred
traordinarily successful Carols for Choirs anthology se- verses and prayers.[8] The main topics considered in the
60 Minutes programme, which was broadcast a week beHe was inducted as a National Patron of Delta Omi- fore Christmas 2003, were Rutters popularity with choral


groups in the United States, Britain and other parts of the 5.2 Carols
world and his composition Mass of the Children, written
"All Things Bright and Beautiful"
after the sudden death of his son Christopher while a student at Clare College, Cambridge, where Rutter himself
"Angels Carol" (Original composition)
had studied.
"Angel Tidings" (Arrangement)
In a 2009 interview Rutter discussed his understanding of
'genius and its unique ability to transform lives whether
"Banquet Fugue"
that genius is communicated in the form of music or other
media. He likened the purity of music to that of math "Born on Earth" (Arrangement)
ematics and connected the two with a reference to the
"Candlelight Carol" (Original composition)
discovery made by the early Greeks that frequencies of
harmonic pitches are related by whole-number ratios.
"Carol of the Children" (Original composition)
"Carol of the Magi" (Original composition)


Rutters music is very popular, particularly in the USA

(NBCs Today Show called him the worlds greatest living composer and conductor of choral music). In the
UK it receives a more mixed reception: most hold him in
high regard, as illustrated by the following quotation from
a review in the London Evening Standard (25/09/2005):
For the infectiousness of his melodic invention and consummate craftsmanship, Rutter has few peers, while one
conservative British composer, David Arditti, didn't regard him as a suciently serious composer, saying that
Rutter ... is ... hard to take seriously, because of the way
in which his sheer technical facility or versatility leads to a
supercial, unstable crossover style which is neither quite
classical nor pop, and which tends towards mawkish sentimentality in his sugarily-harmonised and orchestrated
melodies.[9] The Guardian remarked that it is as a writer
of carols that he has really made his mark ... His largerscale works particularly the Gloria (1974), Requiem
(1985) and Magnicat (1990) are also well established
in the choral repertoire.[10] David Willcocks considered
Rutter the most gifted composer of his generation.[11]

"Cantique de Nol" (Arrangement)

"Christmas Lullaby"
"Christmas Night" (Arrangement, the title song on
the Cambridge Singerss rst album)
"Deck the Hall" (Arrangement)
The Donkey Carol (not to be confused with the
song The Friendly Beasts arranged by John Davis
that also goes by the nickname Donkey Carol)
"Dormi Jesu"
"For the Beauty of the Earth"
"I Wonder as I Wander" (Arrangement)
"Jesus Child"
"Joy to the World" (Arrangement in the style of
"Love Came Down at Christmas"
"Look At The World"
"Marys Lullaby"

List of compositions and arrangements


Extended compositions

"Nativity Carol" (1st line: Born in a Stable so

Bare) (Original composition)
"Personent Hodie" (Arranged in the Medieval style)
"Rocking" (Arrangement and translation of Czech
carol called Hajej, nynej, Jeku)

Gloria (1974)

"Rejoice and Be Merry"

Requiem (1985)

"Shepherds Pipe Carol"

Magnicat (1990)
Mass of the Children (2003)

"Silent Night" (Arrangement in the style of Brahms)

"Star Carol"
"There is a Flower" (Original composition)

Suite Antique

"The Twelve Days of Christmas" (Arrangement)

Te Deum

"The Very Best Time of Year"


Choral works

"Up Good Christen Folk"

Gaelic Blessing

"We Will"

Here We Come a-wassailing from Twelve Christmas

Carols, Set 1

"We Wish You a Merry Christmas" (Arrangement)

"Wexford Carol" (Arrangement)
"What Sweeter Music"
"Wild Wood Carol"


Choral works

The Holly and the Ivy for SATB and piano or orchestra
Gloria for mixed voices with brass, percussion and
organ or orchestra.
I Saw Three Ships from Carols for Choirs 3 for SATB
and piano or orchestra

A Gaelic Blessing for soprano, alto, tenor and bass

voices (SATB) and organ or guitar, commissioned
in 1978 by the Chancel Choir of the First United
Methodist Church, Omaha, Nebraska, in honor of
minister of music Mel Olson.

"I will sing with the spirit" for SATB and organ, piano or orchestra

Birthday Madrigals for SATB, commissioned in

1995 by Brian Kay and the Cheltenham Bach Choir
to celebrate the 75th birthday of George Shearing

Joy to the world! for SATB and keyboard or orchestra (2 trumpets, timpani and strings)

Carols for Choirs 2 ed. Willcocks and Rutter

King Jesus hath a garden from Carols for Choirs 3

for SATB and piano or ute, harp and strings

Carols for Choirs 3 ed. Willcocks and Rutter

Carols for Choirs 4 ed. Willcocks and Rutter
Dancing Day for SSA with harp or piano

Jesus Child for SATB and piano or orchestra

Jesus Child for unison and piano

Look At The World for SATB and Orchestra

"The Lord bless you and keep you"

Eight Childhood Lyrics

Lord, Make Me an Instrument of Thy Peace for

SATB or TTBB with organ or harp and strings

Eight Christmas Carols, Set 1 for mixed voices and


Love came down at Christmas for SATB and keyboard or strings

Eight Christmas Carols, Set 2 for mixed voices and


Marys Lullaby for SATB and piano or orchestra

100 Carols for Choirs ed. Willcocks and Rutter

Twelve Christmas Carols, Set 1 for mixed voices and
small orchestra or piano
Twelve Christmas Carols, Set 2 for mixed voices and
small orchestra or piano
Child in a manger from Carols for Choirs 3 for SATB
and keyboard or orchestra

Nativity Carol for SATB and keyboard or strings

O come, O come, Emmanuel from Twelve Christmas
Carols, Set 1 for SATB and keyboard or orchestra
O Lord, thou hast searched me out for SATB chorus,
organ and solo cor anglais (or clarinet, or viola)
Quem pastores laudavere for SATB unaccompanied

Christmas Night for SATB and keyboard or strings

Quittez, pasteurs for SATB unaccompanied

Come Down, O Love Divine for double mixed choir

and organ

Shepherds Pipe Carol for SATB and piano or orchestra or for SSAA and piano or orchestra

Cradle Song from Carols for Choirs 3 for SATB unaccompanied

Donkey Carol for SATB and piano or orchestra

Sing we to this merry company for SATB and orchestra or organ

Flemish Carol from Carols for Choirs 3 for SATB

and piano or orchestra

Star Carol for SATB and piano or orchestra or brass

with optional childrens voices or for unison and piano

For the Beauty of the Earth for SATB, SA, or TTBB,

and piano

There is a ower (original composition) for SATB



Three Carols from Carols for Choirs 4 for SS and 7.2 Notations
SSA unaccompanied
Kennedy, Michael (2006), The Oxford Dictionary of
Tomorrow shall be my dancing day from the cycle
Music, 985 pages, ISBN 0-19-861459-4
of carols, Dancing Day for SSA and harp or piano
"The Twelve Days of Christmas" from Carols for
Choirs 2 for SATB and piano or orchestra
Winchester Te Deum For SATB and Piano or Organ
Wexford Carol for SATB unaccompanied
What sweeter music for SATB and organ or strings


Anthems and other compositions

Most of these works are original compositions, including

new musical settings of standard texts, whilst others are
arrangements of traditional hymns.

Music with narration

Wind in the Willows
Brother Heinrichs Christmas
The Reluctant Dragon



[2] Macfarlane, Alan. Interview with John Rutter. Retrieved 18 December 2013.
[3] Famous OCs (PDF). Highgate: The Cholmeleian Society. 4 January 2012. Retrieved 11 December 2012.
[4] BBC Radio 3 Composer of the Week, John Rutter.
YouTube. Retrieved 28 September 2014.
[5] Welcome To Delta Omicron International Music Fraternity. Delta Omicron. Retrieved 2011-07-22.
[6] News. Delta Omicron. 29 March 2008. Retrieved
[7] Order of Service. 28 April 2011. Retrieved 28 September 2014.
[8] Rebecca Leung (11 February 2009). Spreading Good
Cheer. CBS News. Retrieved 2011-07-22.
[9] Expansive Poetry Online.
Retrieved 28 September 2014.
[10] "The Guardian, 22 December 2000.
Retrieved 28 September 2014.
[11] John Rutter: a Life. Classic FM. Retrieved 28 September 2014.

8 External links
Rutter at the Oxford University Press website
Collegium Records
John Rutter interviewed by Alan Macfarlane, 28
January 2009 (lm)
John Rutter interviewed by C Music TV, October
2010 on YouTube
John Rutter interviewed by C Music TV, October
2010 from C Music TV
This is the Day, performed at the royal wedding,
Joyful Company of Singers

Text and image sources, contributors, and licenses



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