Composer John Rutter ‘deeply grateful’ for knighthood

Composer John Rutter said he was “deeply grateful” as he was awarded a knighthood in the King’s Birthday Honours.

The musician, who is also a conductor, editor and arranger, is best known for his choral compositions, including Christmas carols, anthems and extended works such as the Gloria, the Requiem and the Magnificat.

Among his most famous works are five volumes of the Carols for Choirs anthology series, a collaboration with Sir David Willcocks.

He has also had compositions commissioned for the late Queen Elizabeth’s golden jubilee and for the wedding of the Prince and Princess of Wales in 2011.

Kate and William on their wedding day in 2011
He composed an anthem for the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton (Chris Ison/PA)

He told the PA news agency: “Music has given me a lifetime of joy and fulfilment, but I never dreamed that one day it would bring me the honour of a knighthood. I’m deeply grateful.”

After learning to play his parents’ piano as a child, he had his first compositions published while reading music at Clare College, Cambridge and served as director of music at the same college from 1975 to 1979.

It was Sir David, a director of King’s College Choir, who took an interest in his compositions, encouraged him to conduct and recommended him to Oxford University Press, who have been his publisher ever since.

In 1981, Sir John founded his own choir, the Cambridge Singers, which he conducts and has made many recordings of the choral repertoire, including under his own label Collegium Records.

For the late Queen’s golden jubilee he composed a version of Psalm 150, which was performed at the Jubilee thanksgiving service in St Paul’s Cathedral, London.

He was commissioned to write a new anthem, entitled This Is The Day, for the wedding of Prince William to Kate Middleton in 2011, which was performed at Westminster Abbey during the service.

More recently, the first two choral items sung at the late Queen’s platinum jubilee national service of thanksgiving in June 2022 were arrangements by Sir John.

At the coronation of King Charles, six of the pieces performed were arrangements by Sir John.

Sir John was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2007 New Year Honours, for services to music, and in 2023 he became a Fellow of The Ivors Academy.