About Robert King
A Purcell scholar of renown and an expert conductor of early music, Robert King has achieved significant stature through live and recorded performances with his ensemble, the King's Consort. A fruitful association with Hyperion Records resulted in a lengthy discography of early English, German, and Italian music, many titles of which have won international awards.
King was born in Wombourne, England, on June 27, 1960. After serving as a chorister and soloist with the St. John's College Choir, Cambridge, King returned to Cambridge University for his music degree. When only 20, he formed the period-instrument orchestra the King's Consort; by 1983, he had made his London debut. King also founded a companion choir, the Choir of King's Consort. Success in works of the Elizabethan through Baroque periods led to invitations from larger orchestras, and in 1991, King made his debut at the Proms. Well-received, he has appeared on five other occasions. Touring came to occupy a considerable portion of King's time with trips taking him to most parts of Europe, Asia, and the Americas. Guest appearances with major orchestras have presented King in the Classical period repertory, especially in works by Mozart and Haydn. In the United States, he has conducted the National Symphony Orchestra, the Minnesota Orchestra, and the symphony orchestras of Atlanta, Detroit, Houston, Seattle, and Oregon. He has also served as the artistic director of the Nordic Baroque Music Festival in Sweden and Wigmore Hall's Purcell Tercentenary Festival. King has also directed opera performances, among them Handel's Ezio at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysée and Ottone in London, Osaka, and Tokyo; Purcell's The Indian Queen at the Schwetzinger Festspiele and The Fairy Queen in Britain and Spain. As a choral conductor, King has directed the New College Choir, Oxford, the Netherlands Chamber Choir, the Tölzer Knabenchor, the Swiss Radio Choir, and Orféon Donostiarra.
King and his Consort enjoyed a long, award-winning collaboration with the Hyperion Records label, which ended in 2007 when King was convicted of sexual assault of a minor. Following his sentence, King and the Consort founded the Vivat label in 2013 and have recorded there since. Among King's more than 100 recordings are several of Handel's operas and oratorios; a series devoted to the complete songs, anthems, and services of Purcell; Bach's Mass in B minor; and multiple volumes of sacred music by Vivaldi. In 2019, King and the Consort were joined by Iestyn Davies and James Hall on the Vivat album, Elegy: Purcell & Blow. As an author, King has written a biography of Purcell, which has been described as definitive, and two volumes on English church music. ~ Erik Eriksson