Category: Baritones

Chris Gabbitas, baritone (2004 – present)

Christopher was born in 1979 in Cornwall, the most south-western of England’s counties, but has never lived there since. The family moved to Kent after his father ended a career as a Royal Naval Officer and switched to the world of academia, which he still pursues as a professor in New Zealand. Christopher first heard the King’s Singers as a young child when “A Portrait…” was played in the car on long journeys, but never dreamed that he might one day be part of the group! His musical career began as a chorister in Rochester Cathedral, and continued as a music scholar at Uppingham School and a choral scholar at St John’s College, Cambridge, where he occasionally directed the scholar’s ensemble, “The Gentlemen of St. John’s” and also sang with “Collegium Regale” (as did Robin!). After Cambridge, and armed with a Law Degree, Christopher attended Law School in Oxford, singing in Christ Church Cathedral Choir, and qualified as a Solicitor of the Supreme Court in 2003, working in the City of London and singing at the Temple Church (of Da Vince Code fame) and was thrilled to be appointed as the second baritone of the King’s Singers in 2004. Not only has he been fortunate enough to have performed to many people in many different countries, in venues both large and small, he has also found happiness of a different kind! Whilst on tour in America he was lucky enough to meet Stephanie, now his fiancée, and they are due to be married in the summer of 2006 in America and England.

With the King's Singers:

Singing outside the King's Singers:

Gabriel Crouch, baritone (1996-2004)

Gabriel currently teaches at DePauw University, Indiana, in the United States. From 1996 until 2004, he occupied the second Baritone position in The King's Singers, the post formerly held by Simon Carrington. In those eight years, he made a dozen recordings on the BMG label (including a grammy nomination), and gave more than 900 performances in almost every major concert venue in the world. Special collaborative projects saw him working and performing with some of the world's most respected artists, including percussionist Evelyn Glennie, pianists Emmanuel Ax and George Shearing, singer Barbara Hendricks and 'Beach Boy' Bruce Johnston.

In 2002 he planned and coordinated, in partnership with the Poet Laureate, Andrew Motion, a special Jubilee concert in the Royal Albert Hall featuring seven newly commissioned works by Britain's leading composers and poets, all performed by the King's Singers and televised by the BBC.

During this time he developed a passion for choral coaching and the nurturing of student choirs, and since leaving the King's Singers he has thrown himself into educational work alongside his continuing singing career. He has given workshops in the USA both independently and with the King's Singers, notably at ACDA, SPEBSQSA, Amerifest and MENC conventions, with the Harlem Boys Choir and at a special festival of 10 high school choirs in Dallas. This year he served as guest conductor and vocal coach at the Feliciana International Choral Festival and prepared four New Jersey high school ensembles for performances in front of former President Clinton. Across the Atlantic, Gabriel has given a 4-day series of workshops to choirs from across Europe at the Schleswig Holstein Festival in northern Germany (2001 and 2003), has been part of the Ensemble in Residence at London's Royal College of Music, and he now regularly coaches around a dozen young professional groups across the European continent. His achievements in the choral world have led to many invitations to adjudicate choral competitions, notably the mixed choir final of 'Sainsbury's Choir of the Year' (televised by the BBC), and in 2004, he adjudicated every round of the "Vereins und Westbank Jugend Kulturell A Cappella" competition in Germany.

Still only 34 years of age, Gabriel is nevertheless a veteran of the professional music world. His career began when he was barely eight years old, in the choir of Westminster Abbey, where he served as Head Chorister and performed a solo at the wedding of HRH Prince Andrew and Miss Sarah Ferguson. After taking up a choral scholarship at Trinity College, Cambridge, (under Dr Richard Marlow) he co-founded and directed a male voice ensemble, Henry's Eight, with whom he undertook a series of tours and recordings (for Hyperion) of music of the Flemish Renaissance.

His work as a singer, coach and musical director recently led to his name appearing in the London Times' list of 'Great British Hopes'.

With the King's Singers:

Philip Lawson, baritone (1994 – 2012)

Philip had his first experience of singing in the choir of the thousand-year-old church at Worth in Sussex, and before leaving school he became choir master there and organist of another local church. Philip studied music at the University of York and sang countertenor in the choir of the city’s gigantic Minster. By the time he moved to London, however, he had switched to baritone, and spent three years as a freelance singer, working mainly with the BBC Singers (alongside future King’s Singers colleague Bob Chilcott) and the choir of St Paul’s Cathedral (behind present King’s Singers colleague, chorister Paul Phoenix!). His connections with the King’s Singers continued when he joined the choir of Salisbury Cathedral in 1982 where one of the choristers at the time was Simon Carrington’s son Jamie, and the annual Southern Cathedrals Festival brought him regularly onto the same platform as Winchester Lay Clerk David Hurley! For over ten years, until he took over Simon’s job in the King’s Singers Philip was a schoolteacher in Salisbury and ran several choirs and a business selling new and secondhand music. He also built up a catalogue of compositions, which consists mainly of church music, but which also includes jazz arrangements, musicals and now, of course, arrangements for the King’s Singers. Philip lives in a village near Salisbury with his wife Lizzie and their three daughters Sophie, Amy and Georgia.

With the King's Singers:

Guest appearances:

Bruce Russell, baritone (1988-1996)

Bruce Russell was a chorister at King's College, Cambridge, where he joined the choir at the age of ten and where the Senior Chorister, then aged 12-1/2, was none other than fellow King's Singer Bob Chilcott. He continued his education at the Shrewsbury School and from there gained a choral scholarship to Christ Church, Oxford, where he studied music. After three years in London studying singing with John Carol Case, he returned to Christ Church, where he combined singing in the choir with freelance work and teaching flute and voice in local schools, including Radley and Abingdon. Before joining The King's Singers full-time in January 1988, Bruce was singing in the choir at St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle (where many Royal occasions take place), while continuing teaching at Radley College.

When asked if there were any problems stepping into such an effective and established team of singers, he replied,"In a way, one was ridiculously spoiled, because all the problems the original members had encountered in the early years had been resolved. There was a full diary, good fees, sensible touring dates and holidays built in to the schedule. I slotted in without having to fight for all those things myself in the way the six originals had to do.

Twenty years ago the King's Singers were tremendously well known in Britain and pretty much a household name for anyone who knew anything about music and many more besides. At the same time, they were almost unheard of abroad. Now, the situation is almost entirely the other way round. In England, people wonder whether we're still going strong; in Germany and America, where we do most of our work, we're pretty much as well known as we were at home in the past."

He still lives the town of Windsor with his wife Alison and their young son Oliver. He enjoys good food and wine, as well as exploring towns, villages, churches, country houses and, most of all, the vineyards and restaurants of France and England.

An update from Bruce: "Having spent two years at college just outside Oxford, I was ordained deacon in the Church of England on July 4th[!] last year, in Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford where I sang for many years before joining the King's Singers. On July 2nd this year I was ordained as a priest.

I'm curate at Bracknell, a town 9 miles SW of Windsor. Until 1948 Bracknell was a tiny market town of 4,000 inhabitants, but that year was declared a "New Town" and has a population now of around 70,000. Today it is a centre for I.T. – most people of working age in our congregation of around 170 work either for computer companies, or for the national Met. Office, which is also located here.

My own work is varied and interesting, and the whole family is now very settled.

With the King's Singers:

Guest appearances:

Singing outside the King's Singers:

 

Simon Carrington, baritone (1968-1993)

Simon Carrington is now Director of the Yale Schola Cantorum and Professor of Choral Conducting at the Yale Institute of Sacred Music and the School of Music, where he has also led the introduction of a new graduate voice track for singers wishing to specialize in Early Music, Song, and Chamber Ensemble.

From 1994-2001 he was Director of Choral Activities at the University of Kansas, building the graduate conducting programs and taking the Chamber Choir to the ACDA National Convention in 2001, and on tour around the world. From 2001-2003 he held a similar position at the New England Conservatory where he brought the program national recognition and was selected by the students for the Krasner Teaching Excellence award.

Prior to coming to the USA, Professor Carrington was a creative force for 25 years with the King's Singers, which he co-founded while at Cambridge University. He gave 3,000 performances at many of the world's most prestigious festivals and concert halls, made more than 70 recordings, and appeared on countless television and radio programs including nine appearances with the late Johnny Carson! He now maintains an active schedule worldwide as a freelance conductor and choral clinician, leading workshops and masterclasses all over the world, including the Florilège Vocal de Tours, the Marktoberdorf Chamber Choir Competition, the World Symposium on Choral Music in Rotterdam, the International Choral Convention in Singapore, and the Franz Liszt Conservatory of Music in Budapest. Most recently he has conducted youth choirs in the Monteverdi Vespers in Barcelona; the Fauré Requiem in Orchestra Hall, Chicago, and Dornoch Cathedral in Scotland; and the Texas All State Choir; in 2005-06 he will conduct at the Monteverdi Choir Festival in Budapest, lead workshops at the Chamber Choir Festival in Sarteano (Italy), give the keynote address at the Association of Canadian Choral Conductors conference, and conduct at the 11th Tokyo Cantat in Japan.

For all the latest on Simon go to: www.simoncarrington.com

With the King's Singers:

Guest appearances:

Behind the scenes:

Anthony Holt, baritone (1968-1987)

Anthony Holt started his professional career at the age of 12 when he was one of twenty boys selected to represent the RSCM choir at the coronation of Queen Elizabeth at Westminster Abbey. The boys were packed off for a month's intensive training at the RSCM's headquarters at Addington Palace – but five minutes from when he lived. Here Tony spent the mornings on musical work, and in the afternoons he earned a bob or two as a caddy at the golf club next door. His mementoes of the coronation service are a medal, a coronation stool, and Vaughan Williams's autograph.

Most recently, Tony has been teaching at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, where he gets to reunite with the Singers on their tours of the U.S.

With the King's Singers:

Guest appearances: