Awarded with an MBE for services to classical music in October 2020, Stephen Layton is one of the most sought-after conductors of his generation. Often described as the finest exponent of choral music in the world today, his ground-breaking approach has had a profound influence on choral music over the last 30 years.
Founder and Director of Polyphony, and Director of Holst Singers, Layton has recently announced he is to step down as Fellow and Director of Music at Trinity College Cambridge in the summer of 2023. His former posts include Chief Conductor of Netherlands Chamber Choir, Chief Guest Conductor of Danish National Vocal Ensemble, Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of City of London Sinfonia, and Director of Music at the Temple Church, London.
Layton is regularly invited to work with the world’s leading choirs, orchestras and composers. His interpretations have been heard from Sydney Opera House to the Concertgebouw, from Tallinn to São Paolo, and his recordings have won or been nominated for every major international recording award. He has two Gramophone Awards (and a further ten nominations), five Grammy nominations, the Diapason d’Or de l’Année in France, the Echo Klassik award in Germany, the Spanish CD compact award, and Australia’s Limelight Recording of the Year.
Layton is constantly in demand to première new works by the greatest established and emerging composers of our age. Passionate in his exploration of new music, Layton has introduced a vast range of new choral works to the UK and the rest of the world, transforming the music into some of the most widely performed today. Longstanding composer partnerships include Arvo Pärt, Sir John Tavener and Sir Karl Jenkins; in the Baltic, Eriks Ešenvalds, Uģis Prauliņš and Veljo Tormis; and in America, Morten Lauridsen and Eric Whitacre, of whose music Layton made two Grammy-nominated recordings. Other award-winning discs include recordings of Britten, James MacMillan, Bruckner, Handel (including BBC Music Magazine’s “Best Messiah recording” with Britten Sinfonia), and Bach’s St John Passion, Christmas Oratorio and B Minor Mass with Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. Layton’s recordings have consistently broken new ground, creating a new sound world in British choral music.