Stephen Layton MBE has announced that he is to leave Trinity College Cambridge after 17 years as fellow and director of music. He will be devoting more time to his international guest-conducting career.


Layton's final concerts with the choir will be on a tour to Germany in summer 2023, where they will perform the Duruflé Requiem in six concerts, including at Frankfurt Cathedral.

His guest-conducting in the coming weeks includes returning to Sydney Opera House to conduct the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, conducting the annual Bach St John Passion with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and, after Easter, returning to The Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, with Polyphony and Britten Sinfonia.

Under Layton's directorship, the Choir of Trinity College become celebrated for its exploration of new choral works and synonymous with paving the way for young professional singers.

In 2012, the Choir earned a Grammy nomination for Best Choral Performance for Beyond All Mortal Dreams, released on the Hyperion label. Trinity’s wide-ranging concert, touring and recording repertoire, including the Bach B Minor Mass and Bach Christmas Oratorio with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, culminated in the acclaimed 2023 recording and film of the Duruflé Requiem in Paris’s St Eustache.

In 2012, Layton pioneered the audio live-streaming form, and in 2019 he launched video livestreams, taking every note of Trinity Choir’s music to audiences around the world.

Stephen Layton said: 'The time has come for me to move on from Trinity College Cambridge and pursue my own guest-conducting career, something I have always hoped to do.

'It has been a joy and an exceptional privilege to work with The Choir of Trinity College Cambridge for so many years. Beyond the services, discography, technological advances and touring successes, it is the students who form the major part of my legacy: those members of this extraordinarily gifted group who changed the nature of a ‘college choir’ into a leading artistic professional beacon on the world stage.

'I warmly wish them rich success for the future and I know that they will go from strength to strength.'

Layton’s guest-conducting career will see him continue to tour the world each season, working with 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.

The conductor boasts five Grammy nominations in all, together with 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.

Stephen Layton has introduced a wide range of choral works to the UK and the rest of the world, thanks to his close associations with established composers including Arvo Pärt, the late John Tavener, and also emerging composers including Ēriks Ešenvalds, Uģis Prauliņš, Paweł Łukaszewski and Jaakko Mäntyjärvi.

In 2003 he edited, choreographed and conducted the world premiere of Tavener’s seven-hour vigil Veil of the Temple, working closely with the composer to realise the work which Tavener described as 'the supreme achievement of my life.'


Stephen Layton pic: Keith Sau


Steve Wright
Steve WrightMulti-Platform Content Producer, BBC Music Magazine

Steve has been an avid listener of classical music since childhood, and now contributes a variety of features to BBC Music’s magazine and website. He started writing about music as Arts Editor of an Oxford University student newspaper and has continued ever since, serving as Arts Editor on various magazines.