Stephen Layton

Marian Borkowski - Hymnus, MSE 020, 2008
Paweł Łukaszewski - Sacred music, MSE 013, 2007

One of the most accomplished young conductors, Stephen Layton has worked with many professional choirs and orchestras in engagements throughout Europe and in Australia, Brazil, Estonia, Hong Kong, Japan, Turkey, Scandinavia and the USA. He has twice toured with the Australian Chamber Orchestra, mostly recently in the Bach Magnificat and Mozart Requiem, culminating in performances in the Sydney Opera House. Last Christmas, Stephen conducted performances of Messiah with the Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra and with the Real Orquesta Sinfonica de Sevilla. Stephen is also a great proponent of contemporary choral music and has given premieres of works by Vasks, Adés, Rutter and Van Onna.

In the UK, Stephen appears regularly at St John’s, Smith Square, in sell-out performances of oratorio with distinguished soloists of the calibre of Emma Kirkby, James Bowman, Ian Bostridge and David Wilson-Johnson, with a number of performances broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and the European network. Of one of his performances there of Messiah with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, critic Michael White wrote ‘... a Messiah that counts among the most engaging, fresh and vital I’ve ever heard.’ Stephen made a highly successful conducting debut at English National Opera in 2000 with a fully-staged production by Deborah Warner of Bach’s St John Passion, returning for a revival at Easter 2002 and a BBC TV broadcast.

Stephen is the Musical Director of Polyphony, described on BBC Radio 3 as ‘one of the UK’s most disciplined and exciting groups’, whose many recordings include choral music by Arvo Pärt, Rutter’s Requiem with the Bournemouth Sinfonietta and a number of Gramophone Editor’s choices — including the world premiere recording of Grainger’s Jungle Book and choral music by Cornelius — all for Hyperion. The group’s recording of Britten’s choral music received both a Diapason d’Or and a Gramophone Award in 2001. Polyphony made its BBC Proms debut in 1995 singing Pärt’s Passio and have made a number of return performances.

Stephen is also Musical Director of the Holst Singers, widely regarded as the UK’s leading amateur choir, with whom he also records for Hyperion; their highly acclaimed recordings of choral music by Holst and Vaughan Williams were followed by the premiere recording of Britten’s Christ’s Nativity and CDs of Russian and Northern European repertoire with James Bowman, Ikon and Vespers. Stephen also conducts the London Schubert Chorale on Graham Johnson’s complete Schubert Edition for Hyperion.

Stephen has a particularly close relationship with the Danish National Radio Choir, where he is Principal Guest Conductor. His engagements there have included repertoire from all periods, up to and including the premiere of Vasks’ Missa. Stephen also enjoys a close association with the Netherlands Chamber Choir, where he was recently appointed Chief Conductor.

With the BBC Singers, Stephen has recorded Russian Orthodox repertoire, premiered Rautavaara’s Vigilia and conducted Poulenc’s Figure Humaine at the BBC Proms and Britten’s incidental music for Auden’s plays at the Aldeburgh Festival.

Stephen Layton is Director of Music and Organist of the Temple Church in the City of London, where he follows Sir Henry Walford Davies, Sir George Thalben-Ball and Dr John Birch as Director of the Choir. The choir regularly broadcasts on BBC Radio 3 and featured with The Academy of Ancient Music in the theme music for the BBC TV adaptation of Gormenghast.



29 Maja 2024

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