Category: Tenors

Paul Phoenix, tenor (1997 – present)

Paul began his musical training aged nine as a chorister at St. Paul's Cathedral, during which time he made several successful recordings , including the Ivor Novello award winning theme to John Le Carre's “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” in 1979.

After graduating from the Royal Northern College of Music in 1991, he worked as a freelance singer for six years enjoying a varied existence, from backing Elaine Paige in concert, to coaching singing to the boy trebles of Westminster Under School. Paul joined the King’s Singers in September 1997 and loves the hectic but rewarding way of life: travelling the world and being privileged enough to sing in some of the finest concert halls, churches and cathedrals around. He is married to Helena and has two sons, William aged eight, a complete soccer fanatic, and Edward who, aged only four, already spends most of his days singing! Paul's other great passion in life is cars – finally, after a monotonous diet of Audis (four, in as many years), he has decided to change flavours and defected to BMW. Paul is always easily identified in airport lounges around the world, with his head buried in the latest motoring journal!

With the King's Singers:

Bob Chilcott, tenor (1985-1997)

"As you may know, I recently made a career change, after singing for twelve years with the King's Singers. I am now working as a full time composer, with the main emphasis of my work being on choral composition. I thought you may be interested to know of a few of the things I have been involved with.

The American premiere of my Organ Concerto ORGAN DANCES took place at Ursinus College in Collegeville, Pennsylvania as part of the Heefner Organ Recital Series. The Organist was Alan Morrison of the First Baptist Church in Philadelphia. I workshoped my music in Toronto for the Royal Canadian College of Organists, and worked in New York City with the New York Children's Chorus and their conductor Peter Coulianos, for whom I have written a set of songs about the environment, GREEN SONGS.

In the Town Hall in Oxford, England, the Oxford Pro Musica Singers conducted by Michael Smedley gave the premiere of an extended work they have commissioned from me, THE MAKING OF THE DRUM. This concert marks the twentieth anniversary of the Singers.

I went to Syracuse in New York State to hear some new carols THE TIME OF SNOW, THIS JOY and GIFTS that I have written for Barbara Tagg and her choir, the Syracuse Children's Chorus, with the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra.

In March 1998 1 went to Dallas Texas to work with The Highland Park High School Lads and Lasses conducted by Frank Sargent. They sang my new version of BUFFALO GALS at the South Western Division ACDA Conventon in Corpus Christi Texas.

In May 1998 1 had two visits to the United States. The first on the 3rd to hear the premiere of an extended work JUBILATE that I wrote for colleague Simon Carrington and his choir and orchestra at the University of Kansas at Lawrence. Then I was composer in residence for Keynote Arts Associates "Children in Harmony Choral Festival" at Disneyworld in Orlando, Florida. The Guest Musical Director is Barbara Tagg, and she and the three hundred voice children's choir premiered the new work that I wrote for this occasion.

My biggest project for the year was a commission I received from the Hertfordshire County Music Services. I wrote a thirty-minute space adventure entitled NEWS FROM SPACE, for 2 Narrators, Jazz Singer, Youth Choir and Big Band, that was performed in the Royal Albert Hall in London on the 5th and 6th of June. The choir was made up of children from ninety-eight schools in the county, making a total of about twenty-eight hundred singers – fourteen hundred on each night. This project involved arts and science departments from schools across the county. I have written the text myself, and have received help with the science from Dr. Eric Dunford, Director of Space Science at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory near Oxford.

A week later, I went to Pretoria in South Africa to undertake workshops with two youth choirs from Pretoria and one from Johannesburg, culminating in the Young South Africa Music Festival in the Opera House on the 14th.

On June 27th in Chester Cathedral in England, my PEACE MASS was premiered by the choirs taking part in the International Children's Choir Festival, hosted by the Chester Music Society Children's Choir and their conductor Martin Cook. The conductor for this performance was Mike Brewer, conductor of the National Youth Choir of Great Britain.

I shall be doing a bit of choir conducting. In August 1998 I was conducting a young choir with big band in new arrangements of the songs of Sting, as part of the Europa Cantat Festival in Sweden. 

I hope all this will be of some interest to you. I am very excited at the prospect of these projects, and hope that through them I can make some sort of impact in attempting to draw people, particularly the young, to the joys of participatory music making."

With the King's Singers:

Guest appearances:

Behind the scenes:

Singing outside the King's Singers: 

Bill Ives, tenor (1978-1985)

Tenor Bill (Grayston) Ives replaced tenor Alastair Thompson in 1978 and remained “third from the left” until 1985 when he began free-lancing as an adjudicator at choral workshops and arranger and composer as Grayston Ives. He has written arrangements for the King’s Singers and others and many commissions.
He became an examiner for the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music in 1988 which took him abroad – to South Africa and Mauritius for extended, though exciting periods of time. Returning home in ’90, Bill learned that he had received a commission to write a new Te Deum for the Enthronement of the new Archbishop of Canterbury. Bill was appointed Choirmaster of Magdalen College. He officially became a Fellow of Magdalen College and Informator Choristarum and Tutor in Music. He is responsible for music in the Chapel, the choir of 16 boys and 12 undergraduate men, as well as teaching. He is still publishing with the Oxford University Press.
Bill is planning to visit the U.S.A. to hold a series of workshops and masterclasses for small singing groups and choirs. Bill is currently Director of Music at Magdalen College, Oxford, where he conducts the choir and teaches music.

Bill’s choir at Magdalen College was nominated for a Grammy Award for it’s recent album ‘With a Merry Noyse’.

With the King’s Singers:

  • 20th Anniversary Celebration Sampler
  • Aber Heidschi Bumbeidschi; Annchen von Tharau
  • A capella
  • A capella, too
  • All At Once Well Met
  • Atlantic Bridge
  • Believe In Music
  • Best Collection
  • By Request
  • Christmas With the King’s Singers
  • De Janequin aux Beatles
  • Die King’s Singers singen deutsche Volkslieder
  • Die King’s Singers singen deutsche Volkslieder, folge 2
  • Die schönsten deutschen Volkslieder
  • Grandes Exitos
  • Greatest Hits
  • The King’s Singers’ Favourites
  • Let’s Begin Again; Let’s Go Over the Top
  • Madrigal History Tour
  • Madrigal History Tour, Vol. 1
  • Madrigal History Tour, Vol. 2
  • Merry Christmas
  • Money Money Money
  • Money Money Money – Summer Nights; What’s In A Tune
  • New Day
  • A Portrait of the King’s Singers
  • Rose Rose I Love You (19??)

Guest appearances:

  • Last Days
  • Voices In Time

Behind the scenes:

  • A Land of Pure Delight
  • Bless Ye the Lord
  • The Canterbury Tradition
  • Deep Purple
  • Great Cathedral Anthems, Vol. 9
  • Hark! A Thrilling Voice
  • Hills of the north, rejoice
  • Historic Organs of Colorado
  • How Lovely Are Thy Dwellings
  • Listen sweet dove
  • Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis, Vol. 3
  • Praise Him All Ye Angels
  • Second Service and Consort Anthems
  • Te Deum and Jubilate
Videos and DVDs
  • Carols For a Victorian Christmas

Alastair Thompson, tenor (1968-1978)

Tenor Alastair Thompson left the King's Singers in May of 1978. He was the first change in personnel since 1970. Alastair studied Lieder in Stuttgart for a while and then, basing himself in London and Paris, he developed a career as a soloist and ensemble singer. He married an Hungarian soprano in 1981; they stayed on in London for a few years working as free-lance singers. With their two children they now live in Oxford and Alastair teaches many of the Academical Clerks at Magdalen College.

With the King's Singers:

Guest appearances: