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St John’s College Cambridge announces the appointment of Michael Finnissy as the college’s Composer in Residence. The Residency – until 2019, the 150th anniversary of the completion of St John’s College Chapel  –  will see Finnissy working closely with St John’s College Choir, writing four new anthems and five organ ‘reflections’ for the Organ Scholars. The appointment follows Finnissy’s British Composer Award in 2015 for John the Baptist, St John’s College Choir’s commission for their Advent Carol Service in 2014.

The Choir of St John’s College Cambridge has for many years championed new music, and this pioneering spirit of looking to the future continues today. Andrew Nethsingha builds on the work of George Guest, Christopher Robinson and David Hill in establishing the choir’s worldwide reputation, and introducing important new repertoire to Britain through services and recordings. The residency with Finnissy follows the choir’s first release on their imprint with Signum Classics, Deo – a compilation of works by Jonathan Harvey – which the Observer deemed “ecstatic and richly challenging” and which won the Choral Award at the BBC Music Magazine Awards 2017.

The new works for St John’s College Cambridge, beginning with Dum transisset Sabbatum, are in a line of pieces by Finnissy which use “re-located, destabilised, re-visioned” material from eponymous composers. They fall into a tranche of work by the composer including the Verdi Transcriptions, Obrecht Motetten and Gershwin Arrangements and form a substantial part of his output.

Andrew Nethsingha, Director of Music said:

“Michael Finnissy is one of the most highly regarded British composers. He is well-known for his instrumental compositions and he also has a great love for choral music. Michael feels drawn to the sound and style of the St John’s Choir. I, in turn, feel on the same wavelength as him in our creative conversations and it will be a great privilege to work closely with Michael over the next two years”

Michael Finnissy said:

“This Residency came about in the best possible way: from previous, rewarding and successful, work with the choir and Andrew Nethsingha. The new works for St John’s College Cambridge will find their material in the music of the eponymous composers. The material is re-located, destabilised, re-visioned from different angles. Sometimes it sounds deceptively like the named composers, or like more and more distant memories of their work, or apparently remote, alienated in manner and style from it. This is also a way of examining and reflecting on our musical culture, in which new Art Music is marginalised and almost completely overwhelmed by the past, or by venal commercialism.”


St John’s College Cambridge announces the appointment of Michael Finnissy as the college’s Composer in Residence. The Residency – until 2019, the 150th anniversary of the completion of St John’s College Chapel.

The World Premiere of Michael Finnissy’s Dum transisset Sabbatum at 6.30pm on Saturday 13 May at St John’s College Chapel, Cambridge.



Content supplied by George Chambers of Albion Media

The World Premiere of Michael Finnissy’s Dum transisset Sabbatum at 6.30pm on Saturday 13 May at St John’s College Chapel, Cambridge.

The Choir of St John’s College Cambridge

The Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge is one of the finest collegiate choirs in the world – known and loved by millions from its broadcasts, concert tours and over 90 recordings. Founded in the 1670s, the Choir is known for its rich, warm and distinctive sound, its expressive interpretations and its ability to sing in a variety of styles. Alongside this discipline, the Choir is particularly proud of its happy, relaxed and mutually supportive atmosphere. The Choir is directed by Andrew Nethsingha following in a long line of eminent Directors of Music, recently Dr George Guest, Dr Christopher Robinson and Dr David Hill.

Michael Finnissy was born in Tulse Hill, London in 1946 and studied at the Royal College of Music. He later studied in Italy with Roman Vlad. He went on to create the music department of the London School of Contemporary Dance, and has been associated as composer with many notable British dance companies. He has also been musician in residence to the Victorian College of the Arts, the City of Caulfield in Australia, and the East London Late Starters Orchestra. In 1999 he was made Professor of Composition at the University of Southampton.

Finnissy has been featured composer at the Bath, Huddersfield, and Almeida festivals, and his works are widely performed and broadcast worldwide. Recordings are available on various labels, notably NMC and Metier; the latter has released a cycle of CDs to great critical acclaim.

2006 was Michael Finnissy’s sixtieth birthday year, and highlights included ‘The Finnissy Weekend’ (a series of concerts at the BMIC ‘Cutting Edge’ series), the world première of his song cycle Whitman at HCMF, and a full performance of his epic piano cycle The History of Photography in Sound. His 70th birthday celebrations included conferences at City University London and Royal Holloway University of London, as well as performances across the country.

Michael Finnissy was awarded two British Composer Awards in 2015. His choral work John the Baptist won the Liturgical award, and his piano cycle, Beat Generation Ballads won in the Solo/Duo category.

Further detailed information on recitals to be announced.