Press Room

Choir of Kings College – Live Cinema Broadcast

commemoration of the 250th anniversary of the death of George
Frideric Handel, and the 800th anniversary of the University of
Cambridge, the first ever live cinema broadcast of a choral concert will take
place from King’s College, Cambridge this Easter.

The Choir of
King’s College, Cambridge will perform Handel’s best known work, Messiah,
on Palm Sunday, April 5 2009 in the magnificent setting of King’s College
Chapel. The performance will be conducted by Stephen Cleobury, Director of
Music at King’s, and features the Academy of Ancient Music and soloists Ailish
Tynan, Alice Coote, Allan Clayton and Matthew Rose. It is part of the Easter
at King’s
festival of music and services, now in its fifth year.

This will be
the first time a choral concert has been carried live via satellite. In the US,
on April 5th, it will be shown in forty (40) Carmike theatres in
twenty-seven (27) states.  The live satellite delivery will take place at
2:20 PM EDT.  For a full listing of
cinemas in the US, please refer to:  The live
concert recording will be available in the US digitally and physically on May
19th.  There will be several
‘taped’ screenings to follow starting April 11th, across the US and
Canada.  For more information,

It will be
shown in over 85 cinemas across Europe*, also on April 5.

*This event,
distributed by Arts Alliance Media in association with DigiScreen and Opus
Arte, will be screened by major cinema chains in the UK, including: City
Screen’s Picturehouse Cinemas, Empire Cinemas as well as independents.  As of this press release, four cinemas
in Austria will screen the live concert, six in Denmark, 12 in Germany, seven
in Holland and 29 in Spain.  For a
full listing of cinemas in the UK and the rest of Europe, please refer to

Through an
exclusive agreement with Opus Arte, EMI will also release the film of the
concert on DVD in Fall/Winter 2009, in the run-up to Christmas, while
additional cinema broadcasts are planned in the UK, other European countries,
the United States (a 3D version will be shown as well) and Australia during the
same period.

Frideric Handel’s crowning masterpiece, his oratorio Messiah, was a hit
at its premiere in April 1742 and remains among the most popular works in
Western choral literature. A native of Germany, the composer lived in England
from 1712, where he was considered one of the leading musical figures of his
day. In 1741, the year in which he wrote Messiah, however,
Handel found himself on the verge of bankruptcy, depressed and broken following
the failure of several of his operas. In London it was even being said that his
career as a composer was over.

Not so in
Ireland, where the Lord Lieutenant and governors of three charitable organisations invited Handel to Dublin to conduct
a performance of one of his works for charity. Having recently completed his
oratorio Messiah, the composer decided to use the invitation as an opportunity
to present this new work to the world. The premiere – at Neal’s Music Hall in
Dublin in 1742 – was eagerly awaited by the Dublin public and the hall was sold

Handel based
Messiah on a libretto by Charles Jennens that employs verses
from the bible to present the life of Jesus. The work is in three sections: the
Advent and Christmas; Christ’s passion; and the events told in the Revelation
to St. John. While the composer intended the oratorio to be secular theatre,today Messiah is performed equally in churches and concert
halls, by professionals and amateurs alike, usually during Lent (prior to
Easter) or Advent (prior to Christmas).

The Choir of King’s
, Cambridge
is the world’s most famous choir and one of today’s most accomplished and
renowned representatives of the great British choral tradition. The Choir dates
back to the 1400s and consists of 16 choristers and 14 choral scholars. Its
international reputation, established by the radio broadcast worldwide of the Festival
of Nine Lessons and Carols
each Christmas Eve, has been consolidated by regular international
tours and by the critical and commercial success of its EMI Classics releases.
The most recent releases by the Choir, under exclusive contract with EMI
Classics, include the stunning selection of Tudor anthems I Heard a Voice, Brahms’s Ein Deutsches Requiem,
Purcell’s Music
for Queen Mary
the Academy of Ancient Music, John Rutter’s Gloria, Magnificat and Psalm 150 with the City of Birmingham
Symphony Orchestra and Heavenly Voices, in which the Boys of King’s College Choir, in their
first solo recording for the label, perform works by Franck, Mendelssohn,
Fauré, John Ireland and Patrick Hadley. This performance of Messiah is the
cornerstone of Easter at King’s, now in its fifth year, an enormously popular series of
Easter concerts and services at King’s College, Cambridge. 

The Academy of Ancient Music (AAM), founded in 1973 by Christopher
Hogwood, is one of the world’s first and foremost period-instrument orchestras.
It takes its name from a London concert society established in 1726 for the
purpose of studying and performing ‘old’ music, which was initially defined as
music composed at least a century earlier, but soon came to include more
‘contemporary’ composers. The present-day Academy of Ancient Music has
performed across six continents and made over 250 recordings, including many
pioneering discs under Christopher Hogwood. In addition to making numerous
recordings of baroque repertoire, especially Handel, the AAM was the first
orchestra to record all of Mozart’s symphonies on period instruments and has
since recorded the complete piano concertos and symphonies of Beethoven. It is
also recording the Mozart piano concertos with fortepianist Robert Levin and
the complete Haydn symphonies. At the start of the 2006-07 season, Christopher
Hogwood assumed the title of Emeritus Director and Richard Egarr became Music

“British Voices: Fresh, Lean and Worldly …
scrupulously prepared, well tuned and musically alert.” (The New York Times

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further information contact:

Petry, 21C Media Group: (212)
625-2038,  [email protected]

Tada, EMI Classics:            (212)
786-8964,  [email protected]

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