The English choral conductor, John Alldis, studied at King's College, Cambridge, from 1949 to 1952, working as a choral scholar under Boris Ord. He later obtained a master's degree there in 1957.
In 1962, John Alldis founded the professional, 16-member John Alldis Choir, which launched itself with the world premiere of Alexander Goehr's A Little Cantata of Proverbs. John Alldis name has been identified with his choir ever since. Contemporary music would continue to figure importantly in his repertory. John Alldis quickly became so highly regarded as a choral conductor that in 1966, the London Symphony Orchestra hired him to form and direct its first standing choral group. Alldis switched to the London Philharmonic Chorus in 1969, with which he remained until 1982. He worked with a number of ensembles in music ranging from the Renaissance to the present. In 1967, for example, he prepared the John Alldis Choir for the first European performance of Igor Stravinsky's Requiem Canticles, conducted overall by Pierre Boulez. The John Alldis Choir participated in several studio recordings of opera for such major labels as Decca and RCA.
During this period, John Alldis also taught at London's Guildhall School of Music and Drama (1966-1979), served as joint chief conductor of Radio Denmark (mainly leading its Danish State Radio Chorus, 1971-1977), and conducted the Groupe Vocal de France (1979-1983). After a relatively fallow period through much of the 1980's, he was a music consultant to the Israel Chamber Choir from 1989 to 1991; Israel's notoriously tough music critics gave him mixed notices. He was more highly regarded in England, where in 1992 he became chorus master of Manchester's Hallé Choir (although, oddly, he was dropped from the 2001 edition of the nationalistic New Grove) and in Franc, where in 1994 he was named a chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. In the mid-1990's he guest-conducted the Tokyo Philharmonic Chorus and the Central Philharmonic Society of China in Beijing.