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John Rutter's talent was nurtured in Highgate, London and found its keenest audience in the US.
Rutter’s love of choral singing and natural creative facility was fostered at Highgate School, where his fellow pupils included composer John Tavener and pianist Howard Shelley.
Rutter had already produced a number of carol arrangements when, in 1968, Willcocks invited him to co-edit the second volume of Carols for Choirs – and the rest, as they say, is history.
Although Rutter’s is now a household name in the UK, many of his first creative successes were in the US, where he is generally considered the finest of all contemporary vocal composers.
Clare College, Cambridge
It was at Cambridge that Rutter was at last able to concentrate all his energies on music and his creative gift began to flourish. In 1975 he became director of music at Clare College.
After leaving Clare College in 1979 Rutter set up his own vocal group, the Cambridge Singers, a distinguished outfit dedicated to recording his music at the highest levels of expertise.
While still a student at Clare College, Rutter was talent-spotted by David Willcocks (then director of music at King’s) who was instrumental in getting his first pieces published.
The reputation of the choir at Highgate was such that it was invited to take part in life-enhancing performances, including Orff’s Carmina Burana, Mahler’s Symphony No.3 and Britten’s War Requiem under the composer’s direction.