Michael Kibblewhite, Music Director
Michael Kibblewhite is well known as one of the UK's most inspirational choral directors. After relinquishing the Music Directorship of Cantate Youth Choir and King's Lynn Festival Chorus in 2009, he moved to Abruzzo in Italy where he conducts the Coro Val Fino and various young choirs. He regularly returns to the UK where he works for the National Youth Choir of Scotland and Amici Cantate. Michael's engagements this year have included a visit to the USA as clinician to the Peabody Children's Chorus in Baltimore and the St. Paul's School for Boys in Washington, and working with the Coro Santa Maria Maddalena and Coro Aurora in Italy. In June he is directing a concert in the 2011 Thaxted Festival with the young "Britain's Got Talent" celebrity Faryl Smith as soloist.
Michael Kibblewhite has founded and directed several renowned choirs including Cambridge Chorale (winners of both the Mixed Voice Competition and the Grand Audience Prize at the 2002 Riva del Garda International Choral Competition), East London Chorus, English Festival Voices, Harlow Chorus, Harlow Boys Choir, Hertfordshire Chorus and King's Lynn Festival Chorus. Michael is especially committed to working with young voices, and has directed courses for the National Youth Choir of Great Britain and guest conducted five American young choirs in the Somerset International Youth Chorus Festival. In 1994, he founded Cantate Youth Choir and during the fifteen years of Michael's directorship, Cantate became recognised as one of the UK's outstanding young choirs. Its many prizes include the Sainsbury's Children's Choir of the Year Award in 2000, First Prize Cum Laude at the 2006 Europees Muziekfestival in Neerpelt, Belgium, and the UK's only Gold Medal in the 2008 World Choir Games in Graz, Austria.
Michael has conducted in many countries, including Japan Kyoto Symphony Orchestra and Osaka Symphonic Choir), Denmark (Aarhus Symphony Orchestra and Chorus), Italy (Orchestra da Camera di Padova), USA, Israel and most European countries. He has made many CDs and his choirs have often been featured on BBC1 and 2 (especially on Songs of Praise) and heard on Radio 2,3 and 4 (including Desert Island Discs) and Classic FM.
John Byron read music at Cambridge University and is active as a pianist, conductor, composer and teacher. He studied piano with John Bigg and Renée Reznek, and has recently continued his studies with Philip Fowke. His concerto repertoire is substantial, and he has performed with orchestras such as the Milton Keynes City Orchestra, the Milton Keynes Sinfonia, the Luton Symphony Orchestra, the Bedford Sinfonia, the Bedfordshire Second County Youth Orchestra and the Open University Orchestra. He recently gave recitals for Kings Lynn Music Society with Alex Saunders (soprano) and Ivan McCready (cellist). He is harpsichordist with the Baroque ensemble Circa 1685, and has conducted Sinfonia Ariella, both based in the East Midlands. He teaches piano at Uppingham School.
John was formerly musical director of the Lincoln Chorale, and currently conducts the chamber choir Polymnia. He is assistant musical director of the Kings Lynn Festival Chorus. John studied composition as a student with Alexander Goehr, and has received several commissions for large-scale works involving chorus, soloists and orchestra, including Ritual Spells, written for the Open University Choir and Orchestra. Different Worlds, a composition for four hands at two pianos, was first performed by Piano 40 in the Purcell Room in London. John contributed to the BBC Radio 3 series The English Cadence and introduced his own choral piece Verba in the programme Choirworks.
John was recently awarded a PhD from the University of Northampton, following research into the work of French composer Tristan Murail.