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25 September

OV Nicholas Cleobury returns to King’s

Welcoming OVs to come and visit us here at King’s has been particular difficult under the current circumstances, but we were absolutely delighted this week, when Nicholas Cleobury (Ch 58-68) came to meet King’s Headmaster, Gareth Doodes as well as Director of Music and Simon Taranczuk (Hon OV) and Assistant Director of Music, Christopher Allsop (Hon OV), along with Development Director, Liz Elliott.  The sun shone and the leaves on the College Green trees were truly autumnal, as Nicholas put his head around the newly refurbished College Hall (spotting his own name, as well as that of his late brother, Stephen (Ch 58-67) and other contemporaries of his, on the College Hall Honours Boards) and had a tour of his former house, Choir, recalling where he spent his own school years.  As Nicholas looked into what was the former study of his Housemaster, Peter Curle (Hon OV), it was a pleasant surprise for him to meet current English teacher, Alice Fellows (Hon OV) and learn about the important part that English plays in the School today. He even managed a peak into his sixth form study, which he shared with his good friend, Peter Garland (Ch 63-68).

Nicholas was visiting School to talk about the newly named Cleobury Concerts (more to follow about these school concerts later in the term), which have been named in honour of Nicholas and his late brother, Sir Stephen Cleobury.  Stephen was former Director of Music at King’s College Cambridge and an extremely well regarded musician, conducting the televised ‘Carols from King’s’ every Christmas. Sadly, Stephen passed away in November 2019, however his widow, Lady Emma Cleobury, is delighted that the King’s School concerts are named in his and Nicholas’s honour.

Nicholas himself is also a very talented and expert international conductor, having worked extensively both in the UK and abroad (he worked in Brisbane for a few years, conducting many contemporary Australian works here).  In the UK, his experience with orchestras is extensive; he has conducted all the BBC Orchestras; Bournemouth Symphony; Brighton Philharmonic; Britten Sinfonia (Founder Laureate); City of Birmingham Symphony; City of London Sinfonia; English Chamber Orchestra; English String Orchestra; Guildford Philharmonic; Halle Orchestra; London Mozart Players; London Philharmonic; London Symphony; Orchestra of the Age of the Enlightenment; Orchestra of the Swan (Associate Director); Northern Sinfonia; Oxford Philomusica; Philharmonia; Royal Liverpool Philharmonic; Royal Philharmonic; Royal Scottish National Orchestra; RTE Symphony Orchestra, Dublin; Scottish Chamber Orchestra; SouthBank Sinfonia and Ulster Orchestra. He was Founder Artistic Director in 1992 of the Britten Sinfoni and has conducted orchestras across the world as well as a wealth of choirs and choruses, including the BBC Singers, City of Birmingham Symphony Chorus and Glyndebourne Festival Chorus.

Simon Taranczuk, Christopher Allsop and Gareth Doodes all have a love of music in common, with many shared acquaintances in the world of music, and many of whom Nicholas himself had worked alongside.  We are very much looking forward to welcoming Nicholas back to King’s to work with some of the King’s School pupils and to plan a major musical Cleobury Concert in the summer of 2021, which we are hoping will also be open to OVs and the wider King’s School community.  We all agreed how wonderful it is to be able to experience live music again, albeit with the restrictions of social distancing.


Liz Elliott, Nicholas Cleobury, Gareth Doodes, Simon Taranczuk, Christopher Allsop