Born on 24 September 1945 in London, John Rutter is the son of an industrial chemist and his wife. He grew up living over the Globe pub on London's Marylebone Road, and was educated at Highgate School, where fellow pupils included John Tavener, and Howard Shelley. As a chorister there took part in the first recording of Britten's War Requiem under the composer's baton. He then read music at Clare College, Cambridge, where he was a member of the choir. While still an undergraduate he had his first compositions published, including the "Shepherd's Pipe Carol" which he had written aged 18. He served as director of music at Clare College from 1975 to 1979 and led the choir to international prominence.
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 frequently conducts many choirs and orchestras around the world.
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 significant role in the 2008 Temple Festival.
Rutter also works as an arranger and editor. As a young man he collaborated with Sir David Willcocks on five volumes of the extraordinarily successful Carols for Choirs anthology series.
He was inducted as a National Patron of Delta Omicron, an international professional music fraternity in 1985. Rutter is also a Vice-President of the Joyful Company of Singers, President of The Bach Choir, and President of the Association of British Choral Directors (ABCD). He was awarded a CBE for his services to music in the 2007 Queen's New Year Honours List.
Rutter's compositions are chiefly choral, and include Christmas carols, anthems and extended works such as the Gloria, the Requiem and the Magnificat.
The world premiere of Rutter's Requiem (1985), and of his authoritative edition of Fauré's Requiem, took place with the Fox Valley Festival Chorus, in Illinois. In 2002, his setting of Psalm 150, commissioned for the Queen's Golden Jubilee, was performed at the Jubilee thanksgiving service in St Paul's 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.
Rutter's work is published by Oxford University Press, and has been
recorded by many choirs.
-- Names which are links in this box and below
refer to my interviews elsewhere on my website. BD
|Stile antico (literally "ancient
style"), is a term describing a manner of musical composition from the
sixteenth century onwards that was historically conscious, as opposed
to stile moderno, which adhered to more modern trends.
Stile antico has been associated with composers of the high Baroque and early Classical periods of music, in which composers used controlled dissonance and modal effects, and avoided overtly instrumental textures and lavish ornamentation to imitate the compositional style of the late Renaissance. Stile antico was deemed appropriate in the conservative confines of church music, or as a compositional exercise, as in J. J. Fux's Gradus Ad Parnassum (1725), the classic textbook on strict counterpoint. Much of the music associated with this style looks to the music of Palestrina as a model.
The great composers of the late Baroque all wrote compositions in the stile antico, especially Bach. His Mass in B minor has sections written in stile antico which contrast with up-to-date Baroque idioms. Later composers such as Haydn and Mozart also used stile antico. Beethoven's Missa Solemnis, written after the composer's study of Palestrina, is a late flowering of the style.
© 1991 Bruce Duffie
This conversation was recorded in St. Charles, Illinois, on July 11, 1991. Portions were broadcast on WNIB in 1995 and 2000. This transcription was made in 2020, and posted on this website at that time. My thanks to British soprano Una Barry for her help in preparing this website presentation.
To see a full list (with links) of interviews which have been transcribed and posted on this website, click here.
Award - winning broadcaster Bruce Duffie was with WNIB, Classical 97 in Chicago from 1975 until its final moment as a classical station in February of 2001. His interviews have also appeared in various magazines and journals since 1980, and he now continues his broadcast series on WNUR-FM.You are invited to visit his website for more information about his work, including selected transcripts of other interviews, plus a full list of his guests. He would also like to call your attention to the photos and information about his grandfather, who was a pioneer in the automotive field more than a century ago. You may also send him E-Mail with comments, questions and suggestions.