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Stephen Layton is celebrated for his exceptional musicianship and for the vitality of his performances with such groups as Polyphony and the Holst Singers. Here are more facts about this master of choral conducting.
Born in 1966, Stephen Layton was raised in Derby where his father was a church organist. Picture: Keith Saunders
Learning the piano as a teenager, Layton also became a chorister at Winchester Cathedral. He won scholarships to Eton and then King's College, Cambridge as an organ scholar under Stephen Cleobury.
Whilst studying at Cambridge, Layton founded the mixed-voice choir Polyphony in 1986. Since then they have performed and recorded regularly to great critical acclaim around the world. Recent reviews declare Polyphony ‘one of the best small choirs now before the public’ and ‘possibly the best small professional chorus in the world’.
For more than a decade Polyphony has given annual sell-out performances of Bach’s St John Passion and Handel’s Messiah at St John’s Smith Square. In a Gramophone Magazine poll they were named as one of the world’s leading choirs.
In 2006, Stephen Layton became Director of Music at Trinity College, Cambridge.
In November 2009, the City of London Sinfonia announced the appointment of Layton as its second Artistic Director, effective with the 2010-2011 season, for an initial contract of three years. Layton is also the Sinfonia's Principal Conductor.
An energetic and enthusiastic champion of new music, Stephen Layton has premiered works by such composers as Arvo Pärt, Thomas Ades and James MacMillan.
Stephen Layton’s extensive discography, particularly on the Hyperion label - ranges from Handel with original instruments to Bruckner, Poulenc and Eric Whitacre.
Layton's bold realisation of Tavener’s epic seven-hour vigil The Veil of the Temple was premiered in The Temple Church in London and later performed at the Proms and in New York at the Lincoln Center Festival.
Stephen Layton guest conducts orchestras all over the world, including the Philadelphia, LPO, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and the Academy of Ancient Music.