Upcoming Release - Yulefest!
24 October 2015

At the end of the month, Hyperion will release a new disc of Christmas music from Stephen Layton and The Choir of Trinity College Cambridge. Yulefestis a collection of seasonal music both sacred and secular, featuring arrangements of old favourites and some exciting new works.


Trinity in the USA
24 October 2015

The Choir of Trinity College Cambridge are in the United States of America for a series of concerts of sacred and secular music.

The first concert of the tour is in the Church of St Ignatius Loyola, New York City, and is part of the Sacred Music in Sacred Space series. 

11 September 2015 - 6:15pm
The Church of St. Ignatius Loyola, New York City

12 September 2015 - 2pm***
St Andrew's Episcopal Church, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

13 September 2015 - 7:00pm
St Andrew's Episcopal Church, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

14 September 2015 - 7:00pm
Calvary Episcopal Church, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

16 September 2015 - 7:00pm
St George's Episcopal Church, Nashville, Tennessee

18 September 2015 - 7:00pm
The Cathedral of St Philip, Atlanta, Georgia

20 September 2015 - 7:00pm
Church of the Incarnation, Dallas, Texas

22 September 2015 - 7:00pm
First Plymouth Congregational Church, Lincoln, Nebraska

*** Masterpieces of the British Choral Tradition: A masterclass for advanced choral singers and conductors. Book here


Arvo Pärt 80th Birthday Celebrations: Tallinn
24 October 2015

Tallinn's Nargenfestival presents a fortnight of music of the esteemed Estonian composer Arvo Pärt in honour of his 80th Birthday.

Stephen Layton will be conducting Voces Musicales in Arvo Pärt's most essential works of the 1990s from the albums 'Kanon Pokajanen' and 'Litany'.


Stephen Layton has a long standing collaborative relationship with Arvo Pärt, recording three albums with Polyphony.  Read more about these recordings here.

5 September 2015 - 7:00pm

Jaani Church, Tallinn

Voces Musicales Chamber Choir
Nargenfestival Orchestra
Stephen Layton Conductor

Arvo Pärt Kanon pokajanen
Arvo Pärt Litany - Psalom - Trisagion

American Polyphony in the Charts
24 July 2015

American Polyphony with Stephen Layton has entered the USA's Classical Billboard Chart at No.6.

In the UK, it is No.2 in the Specialist Classical Chart and No.7 in the Classical Artist Albums Chart.

Available from iTunes, Amazon and record stores.

The Veil of the Temple - Norway
23 July 2015

The Scandinavian premiere of the all-night vigil The Veil of the Temple by the late Sir John Tavener will take place this Saturday, on the last night of the St Olav Festival in Trondheim, Norway.

Conducted by Stephen Layton, the performers include the soprano Patricia Rozario, Norwegian Soloists Choir, Holst Singers, Nidaros Cathedral Choir, Nidaros Cathedral Girls Choir, singers from Aurum, The Nidaros Cathedral Oratoriekor and the Det Norske Mannskor and Chorus.

St Olav Festival
Saturday August 1, 2016, 22.30
Nidaros Cathedral


Listen to excerpts from The Veil of the Temple here

View the scores here: Cycles 1-3 | Cycle 4 | Cycle 5 | Cycle 6 | Cycles 7 & 8

In the words of Sir John Tavener:

Although The Veil of the Temple is mainly Christian, it attempts to remove the veils that hide the same basic truth of all authentic religions. The timeless victory of Good over Evil is a victory that is ontologically necessary because it results from the nature of Being itself.
Darkness, even in winning, loses; and light, even in losing, wins. Such are the aspirations and metaphysics of The Veil of the Temple.

Stephen Layton, the conductor of the Trondheim performance, comments:

Sir John Tavener wrote The Veil of the Temple especially for the Temple Church, and for the premiere in 2003 we provided the appropriate forces to use in that building. During the rehearsals Sir John and I talked about his vision of a future performance in a cathedral, where further space and larger forces could be employed. Nidaros Cathedral in its darkness and luminosity is the perfect sacred building in which to perform this iconic work. This performance would have been a dream come true for Sir John Tavener. 

Polyphony at No. 1 in Classical Chart
18 July 2015

Polyphony's newest release "American Polyphony" is No. 1 in the Classical Chart on Classical-music.com, the official website of BBC Music Magazine.

Learning to Listen: American choral music from a British point of view
15 July 2015

For the last 25 years, Stephen has been exploring choral music from the other side of the pond, regularly performing and recording the music of American composers such as Eric Whitacre and Morten Lauridsen. But where did their music all come from?  It came from the composers on this disc - the grandfathers of American choral music - Barber, Copland and Bernstein. 

Listen again to an Exclusive Interview with Stephen Layton on Minnesota Public Radio's classical station. This hour long programme features tracks from the new disc and unique insights in discussion with Emily Reese. 

Highlights from this interview for MPR have been used in Julie Amacher's programme New Classical Tracks

"Incandescent choral glory"
7 July 2015

Polyphony's latest release on Hyperion, a disc of "American Polyphony" is receiving high praise. 

"Incandecent choral glory" writes BBC Music Magazine's Terry Blain "...I've no hesitation in saying this is the finest performance of Barber's Agnus Dei I've heard by any choir...stellar levels of choral technique and interpretive insight [are] achieved by Stephen Layton and his singers"

Read the full review here
Read Stephen Layton's Q&A with Rebecca Franks (BBC Music Magazine) here

The disc is currently No. 2 in the Official Specialist Classical Music chart.

The Sunday Times complements the "meticulously blended and shaped performances of 20th-century a cappella American choral works" featured on the disc.

Listen to excerpts from the recording here


CLS and Polyphony - Listen Again
19 June 2015

Broadcast live on Radio 3, Wednesday 17th June's performance by City of London Sinfonia and Polyphony is available to listen again on BBC iplayer for the next 30 days.  

Music of Georgian London by Haydn, Mozart, JC Bach and Handel. In this closing concert of the Spitalfields Summer Festival, City of London Sinfonia with choir Polyphony perform four magnificent works from four composers who came to the city to find fame and fortune.

Live from St. Leonard's, Shoreditch
Presented by Fiona Talkington

Haydn: Symphony No.101 in D, 'The Clock'
JC Bach: Sinfonia Concertante
Mozart: Symphony No.4 in D, K19
Handel: Dettingen Te Deum

Ashley Riches, baritone
City of London Sinfonia
Stephen Layton, conductor

The concert explores the music of Georgian London through works by Mozart and JC Bach alongside Haydn's famous 'Clock' Symphony, written on his second visit to the city, and Handel's Te Deum, commissioned when he was a composer of the Chapel Royal in celebration of the victory of the British army at the Battle of Dettingen


A view from inside
11 June 2015

Polyphony Tenor Oliver Jones talks about recording American Polyphony, the latest album from Stephen Layton and Polyphony:

"Some of the best performances happen when there isn't an audience.

Because of hectic travel schedules and the general noisiness of London during the day (think children playing, buses honking, lawnmowers humming...), many recording sessions happen late at night. In empty churches. With just a choir, a conductor and a recording engineer speaking to you through a speaker.  

Sometimes, particularly in winter, it can feel quite a lonely experience, particularly when most of the church stands in total darkness except your own corner of light.

But there's also something utterly compelling about sharing some of the very best music making, the grandiose moments, the subtle harmonies, the hushed consonants, with just a small group of like minded musicians. In a way it's like a troupe of dedicated monks, chanting away in a far off monastery, with nobody but a spiritual presence listening in.

The first time I heard Samuel Barber's eponymous 'Adagio for Strings' I didn't much care for it. In fact, I heard it many times after that and never really got it. Until 2001. That year, the Proms series concluded two days after September 11. And, rightly or wrongly, the decision was made to replace the usual pomp and circumstance with a more reflective selection of music including the Adagio. A piece written by an American composer and, on that day, conducted by an American conductor.

I was in Hyde Park for the Proms in the Park concert that night and was caught unaware by the piece. I was walking back to a group of friends when the piece came on and it hit me. I stood, I listened, and I understood.

As with all pieces of music, it can be interpreted in so many ways, but for me, it's a piece full of anguish. The twisted pain rises so slowly over the course of many minutes until it is fully wailing out loud - and, on that day, in Hyde Park, the piece finally made sense to me. In some sense I think it's a piece that only really works if you're emotionally vulnerable, but when it does, it's powerfully raw.

So, for me, standing in that dark church in north London, with the rest of Polyphony, trying to conjure up that same emotional connection was an intense experience. It takes a once in a generation conductor and an emotionally willing choir to be able to deliver that kind of 'hit'. It's not really about technique or styling, although that matters: it's about delivering that emotional connection.

And in that church, in a small pool of light, with no audience, we did.

It's not a piece that works if you do it half-heartedly, but I know we didn't. I hope that anyone who listens to the disc will hear that passion and perhaps even find themselves transported back to the darkened pews of north London to contemplate some of the historical anguish of the American story that Barber portrays in this piece.”

Oliver Jones
Tenor, Polyphony


Upcoming Release - American Polyphony
10 June 2015

Stephen Layton and Polyphony are proud to announce their latest album on Hyperion Records: American Polyphony, featuring highlights from the choral repertoire by twentieth-century American giants Samuel Barber, Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland and Randall Thompson. 

Available now to pre-order on iTunesthe disc will be released on 29 June 2015. 

Visit the Recordings Page to view track listing, read the CD sleeve notes and listen to excerpts


Radio 3 Artist of the Week
8 June 2015

Stephen Layton is Artist of the Week on BBC Radio 3 from 8-12 June.  Each morning at 11.00am Sarah Walker will feature his recordings as part of the 'Essential Classics' programme.

Click here for a link to the first of the programmes:


Arvo Pärt "Berliner Messe" with Polyphony
8 June 2015

A recording of the February 2015 performance in the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam is now available along with photos from the concert. 

Having worked with Arvo Pärt on three discs of his choral music, including a recording of the "Berliner Messe", Stephen Layton and his choir Polyphony have received much critical acclaim for their performances of Pärt's work.  

'There is no shortage of recitals of Arvo Pärt's shorter choral works in catalogue, but anything by Polyphony is always welcome … Polyphony's sound is, as always, so rich and beautiful that there is no sense of anything missing'
BBC Music Magazine - January 2015

Read more about Stephen Layton's collaborations with Arvo Pärt here


CLS in Mexico
21 May 2015

This week the City of London Sinfonia are performing in Mexico as part of the Central American Festival. With cellist Matthew Barley and oboist Dan Bates, Stephen Layton conducts orchestral works by Vaughan Williams, Warlock and John Tavener in Leon's Teatro del Bicentenario (Thursday 21 May), Guadalajara's Teatro Degollado (Friday 22 May) and Mexico City's Palacio de Bellas Artes (Saturday 23 May).

Thursday's concert in Leon's brand new concert hall, Teatro del Bicentenario built in 2006, is featured in the Mexican national press (read more).


  Teatro del Bicentenario, Leon

A Stellar Performance in Seattle
19 May 2015

This Spring season Stephen Layton is performing in exciting venues across the globe, including in the Benaroya Hall in Seattle this weekend (15 May & 16 May)

Melinda Bargreen from The Seattle Times was in the audience:

"On Friday evening, the distinguished English conductor Stephen Layton led a smaller, period-sized orchestra of symphony musicians in a program of some top hits of the era..."


"The two orchestra-only works on the program, Britten’s transcription of the Purcell “Chaconne” and Handel’s Concerto Grosso in F Major, flowered under the leadership of Layton, who drew warmly nuanced and almost vibrato-free performances from the strings. Beautifully shaped phrases and dynamics made the Handel a particular pleasure."


 "Layton conducted with particular attention to dramatic dynamics, and a stylistic assurance that left no doubt why his choruses — the renowned Polyphony and the Holst Singers – are considered among the world’s best."

Read the full review here

Amanda Forsythe (Soprano), Stephen Layton, David Gordon (Trumpet), Deanne Meek (Alto)

Benaroya Hall, Seattle

Haydn: Creation in St David's Hall
11 May 2015

Broadcast live on Radio 3, Friday 8th April's performance with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales is available to listen again on BBC iplayer for the next 30 days.  
"In this performance Layton gave its drama in the fullest degree...there was plenty of bite to the orchestral string tone which was never overwhelmed by the large choral tone or the characterful wind." 

Praise has also been forthcoming for the constellation of soloists:  Elizabeth Watts, Allan Clayton and Matthew Brook:

"Matthew Brook launched the opening recitative with a beautifully withdrawn tone which gripped the listener...and elicited laughter from the audience during his descriptions of the various animals where Haydn really lets his sense of humour off the leash."

"Elizabeth Watts soared up to high C when required, and there was plenty of warmth in her tone in the lower register...she decorated her lines with delicacy and taste."

"Best of all was Allan Clayton, a tenor with no trace of the ‘English cathedral’ tradition, but a full-voiced Mozartian voice with a solid metal centre."


All quotes from Seen and Heard International - Review of Friday 8th April 2015


A Nocturnal Adventure
23 April 2015

This summer will see the Scandinavian Premiere of Sir John Tavener's 'The Veil of the Temple' in Nidaros Cathedral, Norway.  This new video features a unique interview with Stephen Layton.  

For more insights into Stephen Layton's creative collaboration with Sir John Tavener, including stage sketches for the work's American premiere, please visit the Sir John Tavener project page.


Leighton: Crucifixus pro nobis
30 March 2015

As we enter Passiontide, a new disc of Kenneth Leighton's music has been released on the Hyperion record label.  "Crucifixus pro nobis & other Choral Works", is now available on iTunes  This taster video by The Choir of Trinity College Cambridge gives a flavour of what is on offer, and sample tracks can also be heard via the Recordings section of this website. 

World Premiere in Stuttgart
26 March 2015

Videos from Eclat New Music Festival 2015 in Stuttgart. 
SWR Vokalensemble and Stephen Layton give the world premieres of
Phillipe Manoury - Geistliche Dämmerung and Oxana Omelchuk - Gaunerleider.

Philippe Manoury 
Geistliche Dämmerung  
World premiere as part of Stuttgart Eclat New Music Festival (6 February 2015)


Oxana Omelchuk
World premiere as part of Stuttgart Eclat New Music Festival (6 February 2015)
Rehearsing the Martin Mass
17 March 2015

Catch a unique glimpse of the Holst SInger's rehearsing the Kyrie from Frank Martin's Mass.  This video is a showcase for their concert on Thursday 19th March which features Allegri's Miserere and works by Sanders and Messiaen.

View other videos of Stephen Layton here

Trinity College Choir in Switzerland
14 March 2015

Sunday 15th March saw Stephen Layton conduct Trinity College Choir amidst the stunning vistas of the Abbaye de Saint-Maurice in Switzerland.  The concert, given to celebrate 1500 years since the abbey's foundation, featured the world premiere of Agaunensis Cantus by Swiss composer Ivo Antognini.

Stephen Layton, Ivo Antognini and Trinity College Choir

The programme also featured works from the choir's latest CD, Eriks Ešenvalds: Northern Lights and the International premiere of On the wings of the wind by organ scholar and recently signed young composer Owain Park.

The concert was broadcast live on Swiss Radio and is available to listen again.

Trinity College Choir in Abbaye de Saint-Maurice, Switzerland

Polyphony live from Concertgebouw
26 February 2015

This weekend (Saturday 28th February) Stephen Layton conducts Polyphony and the Britten Sinfonia in Amsterdam's iconic Concertgebouw.  The concert, part of the NTR Zaterdag Matinee series, will be broadcast live on Dutch radio.

Dmitri Shostakovich:  Chamber Symphony 110a
Arvo Pärt:  Berliner Messe
Haydn:  Nelson Mass

Saturday 28th February - 2.15pm (1.15pm GMT)

Polyphony, Britten Sinfonia, Kitty Whately (soprano), Andrew Tortoise (tenor), Derek Welton (bass)

Click to download programme (PDF)

Stuttgart ECLAT Festival
7 February 2015

This week Stephen Layton has been in Stuttgart collaborating with contemporary composers Oxana Omelchuk and Philippe Manoury as part of one of Germany's most prestigious New Music festivals: Stuttgart ECLAT Festival

Phillipe Manoury and Stephen Layton 

Stephen Layton, Oxana Omelchuk and Phillipe Manoury Click here to view video featuring SWR Choir


Concert Programme - Friday 6th February, 7pm

Andreas Dohmen: Versi rapportati für Saxofon, Schlagzeug und Klavier (2013)
Stefan Prins:  Mirror Box (Flesh + Prosthesis #3) für verstärktes Saxofon, Schlagzeug, Klavier/MIDI-Keyboard und Live-Elektronik (2014)
Philippe Manoury:  Geistliche Dämmerung für Kammerchor auf Gedichte von Georg Trakl (2014)
Oxana Omelchuk:  Gaunerlieder für gemischten Chor (2014)
Misato Mochizuki:  Neues Werk für Saxofon, Schlagzeug und Klavier (2014)

New Ešenvalds Release
7 February 2015

This week saw the release of the much anticipated Northern Lights and other choral works by Latvian composer Eriks Ešenvalds.  

"The works on this new album owe their genesis to commissions from the United States, England and northern Europe and encompass ethereal expressions of uniquely arctic phenomena (listen for wine glasses turned—and tuned—to wondrously simple but devastating effect within the choral texture), American ballads and several works in the ‘Anglican tradition’, the fruits of the composer’s recent residency at Trinity College Cambridge." - Hyperion Records

Eriks Ešenvalds: Trinity Te Deum
The Choir of Trinity College Cambridge - Hyperion Recording Session, Ely Cathedral, Ely (January 2014)

Eriks Ešenvalds: O Salutaris Hostia
The Choir of Trinity College Cambridge - Hyperion Recording Session, Trinity College Chapel, Cambridge (July 2013)
Eriks Ešenvalds: Only in Sleep
The Choir of Trinity College Cambridge - Hyperion Recording Session, Trinity College Chapel, Cambridge (July 2013)