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Robert King (Conductor)

Born: June 27, 1960 - Wombourne, England

The English conductor, Robert (John Stephen), Robert King is widely acclaimed as one of the leading British conductors of his generation, enjoying for nearly 30 years a dynamic career across the globe in an unusually varied range of repertoire from Rameau to Rossini, Antonio Vivaldi to Ralph Vaughan Williams, J.S. Bach to L.v. Beethoven, George Frideric Handel to Herbert Howells, Johann Friedrich Fasch to Finzi, Purcell to Arvo Pärt, Gluck to Sofia Gubaidulina, Heinrich Schütz to Camille Saint-Saëns, Mozart to Felix Mendelssohn and more besides.

Robert King was a chorister with the Choir of St John's College, Cambridge, where his solo performances included a best-selling recording of Maurice Duruflé's Requiem. He returned to Cambridge University to read for his music degree, and in 1980 he founded the period instrument orchestra and choir The King's Consort, with whom he has toured almost every European country, North and South America and the Far East. He has made 95 recordings which have sold in excess of one million CD's and won many international awards. He made his BBC Proms conducting début in 1991 and has since been invited a further seven times. Robert King is Artistic Director of the ION Festival in Nürnberg.

Robert King's busy international conducting schedule has seen performances in the USA with the New World, Seattle Symphony Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony, Houston Symphony Orchestra, Oregon Symphony, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra and Pacific Symphony Orchestra; in Canada with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, Manitoba Chamber Orchestra and Les Violons du Roy; in the UK with the English Chamber Orchestra; in Scandinavia with the Bergen Philharmonic, Danish National Radio, Stavanger Symphony, Malmö Symphony, Trondheim Symphony, Sondjelands Symphony, Norrköping Symphony, Århus Symphony, Aalborg Symphony and Iceland Symphony Orchestra, Uppsala Kammerorkester and Jönköping Sinfonietta; in Italy with the Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI and Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi; in Germany with the NDR Sinfonieorchester Hamburg, WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln, Hamburger Symphoniker and Munich Radio Orchestra; in Switzerland with the Zürcher Kammerorchester and RTSI Symphony; in France with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo; in Holland with the Nederlands Kamerorkest; in Spain with the Orquesta Ciudad de Barcelona, Orquesta Pablo Sarasate, Orquesta e Coro Ciudad de Madrid, Real Filharmonia de Galicia and Real Orquesta Sinfónica de Sevilla; in Israel with Israel Camerata Orchestra Jerusalem; and in Hong Kong with the Hong Kong Sinfonietta. King is also a noted choral conductor who has worked with the Nederlands Kamerkoor, Choir of New College Oxford, Tölzer Knabenchor, Orfeón Donostiarra, Swiss Radio Choir, Danish National Radio Chorus, Collegium Vocale Gent and the BBC Singers.

Robert King is also noted for his operatic work, which has included G.F. Handel's Ottone in Japan and the UK, G.F. Handel's Ezio in Paris, as well as Joshua and Alexander Balus; Purcell's The Indian Queen in the UK and Germany, Purcell's The Fairy Queen in Spain and Britain and Gluck's Armide at Buxton Festival.

Engagements over recent years have included return visits to the Orquestra Simfònica de Barcelona, WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln, Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI, Orquesta Pablo Sarasate, Iceland Symphony Orchestra, Trondheim Symphony and New World Symphony, and debuts with the Baltimore Symphony, Netherlands Radio Chamber Orchestra and Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra.

Robert King's repertoire, besides especial acclaim for his interpretation of Baroque music (he is a proponent of the one-voice-per-part approach to Bach.), also includes a wide spread of classical and early romantic works, both symphonic and choral, with a particular focus on the music of Mozart, Haydn, Schubert and F. Mendelssohn, and a continuing specialisation in early 20th century English composers, notably the works of Ralph Vaughan Williams. King is widely regarded as a leading expert on the music of Henry Purcell. Alongside massive recording editions of the complete Odes and Welcome Songs, the Secular Solo Songs and Sacred Music, he has edited much of the composer's music, wrote a 'the definitive biography' of the composer and served as an artistic director of Wigmore Hall's Purcell Tercentenary Festival.

Robert King is a frequent broadcaster for the BBC, writing and presenting diverse programmes. In the world of film music King was a music consultant for Ridley Scott's epic The Kingdom of Heaven and his harpsichord playing can be heard in the hit film Shrek 2; other Hollywood projects include work for The Chronicles of Narnia, Pirates of the Caribbean, Flushed Away and, assisting award-winning composer Hans Zimmer, The Da Vinci Code.

Source: The King's Consort programme (April 2001), and a personal encounter with Mr. King; The King's Consort (August 2006); Robert King Ltd. (May 2009)
Contributed by
Galina Kolomietz (May 2001) Website; The King's Consort (September 2006); Robert King Ltd. (May 2009)

Robert King: Short Biography | The King’s Consort | Recordings of Vocal Works | Recordings of Instrumental Works
Individual Recordings:
Bach Cantatas 54, 169, 170 (for Alto) - R. King | BWV 232 - R. King

Links to other Sites

Robert King - Conductor (Official Website)
Robert King (The King's Consort)

Artist Page - Robert King (Hyperion)
Robert King (JRP Dynu) [French]

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Explanation | Acronyms | Missing Biographies | The Sad Corner


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Last update: Monday, May 29, 2017 09:38