All the king's men
They might be regarded as "the best of British", but The King's Singers will be singing some of the finest music from the other side of the Atlantic tomorrow night.
The acclaimed Grammy Award-winning a capella vocal ensemble are performing in Hamilton as part of a three-date New Zealand tour, which will help launch the group's new double album Great American Songbook in New Zealand.
The album pays tribute to some of the most enduring and influential American popular songs of the 20th Century, including some of the best work of Cole Porter, Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart, Irving Berlin and George Gershwin.
Featuring new arrangements by renowned jazz and choral composer Alexander L'Estrange, The King's Singers bring their own vocal talents and trademark British wit to the golden era of songs from Broadway musicals, Hollywood films and the American theatre stage - such fare as Let's Misbehave, My Funny Valentine, The Lady Is A Tramp, I've Got You Under My Skin and Cry Me A River.
It was four decades ago when six choral scholars at King's College in Cambridge, England formed an all-male a capella group, little knowing they would one day help redefine the genre. Today, the King's Singers are fixtures in the world's best concert halls and cathedrals. They make regular appearances at the UK Proms and on late-night talk shows, and count 150-plus records in their discography.
Recipients of two Grammies, the Midem International Classical Award and recent inductees into the Gramophone Hall of Fame, their repertoire ranges across every genre from Renaissance motet to cool vocal jazz.
Two years ago the group welcomed its first non-British member, New Zealand baritone Christopher Bruerton. The band also has a Waikato link in the form of fellow member Christopher Gabbitas, whose parents lived in Hamilton until last year and were lecturers at Waikato University.
The King's Singers have commissioned more than 200 works from prominent contemporary composers and choral luminaries, including Eric Whitacre, Peter Maxwell Davies, Pawel Lukaszewski, Krzysztof Penderecki, John Rutter and the late Luciano Berio, Richard Rodney Bennett, Gy orgy Ligeti, Toru Takemitsu and John Tavener.
The group are committed to maintaining and developing the international choral canon by commissioning new works from both young and established composers, with the 2013-2014 season seeing the arrival of new works from James MacMillan and Joanna Marsh.
The King's Singers also have a long history of television appearances. A favourite of The Mormon Tabernacle Choir, they performed with them for the Winter Olympics and appeared in their recent Christmas concert, which was broadcast on PBS across the United States to a combined live audience of 80,000. Their televised performance at the BBC Proms in the Royal Albert Hall, London was awarded a Midem International Classical Award.
As well as their concerts, The King's Singers share their artistry through numerous workshops and masterclasses, and by publishing prodigious quantities of sheet music. At present, they have over two million items in circulation through their publisher, Hal Leonard. Their arrangements are sung the world over by school and college choirs, and by ensembles both amateur and professional.
Where: Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts
When: 7.30pm tomorrow
Tickets: 0800 TICKETEK (842 538) ticketek.co.nz