Robert King (conductor)

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Robert King
Born (1960-06-27) June 27, 1960 (age 59)
Nationality British
Alma mater St John's College, University of Cambridge
Criminal charge(s) Indecent assault
Criminal penalty Imprisonment for three years, nine months
Criminal status Released; placed on Sex Offender Register for life

Robert King (born 27 June 1960 in Wombourne) is an English conductor, harpsichordist, editor and author. His career has concentrated on period performance of classical music, in particular from the baroque and early modern periods. In 2007, he was convicted of fourteen charges of indecent assault, some against minors, and jailed. Following his release, he resumed his musical career.


As a youth, he was a member of the Choir of St John's College, Cambridge. He read music at St John's College, Cambridge and in 1980, while still a student, founded the period instrument orchestra The King's Consort.[1][2][3] As conductor and artistic director of The King's Consort, King has made more than 100 recordings, mostly for Hyperion Records.[3]

He has worked as a conductor with orchestras in Europe and North America, including the Seattle, Houston, New World, Oregon, Detroit, Atlanta, Minnesota, WDR and NDR Symphony Orchestras, the Bergen Philharmonic, the Munich Radio Orchestra, Zurich Chamber Orchestra, Danish National Radio Orchestra, Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte Carlo, the Orchestra della RAI Torino, Orchestra Sinfonica Giuseppe Verdi di Milano, the Orquesta Sinfónica de Tenerife, Orquesta Ciudad de Barcelona, Real Filharmonia de Galicia, Real Orquesta Sinfónica de Sevilla and the Orquesta e Coro Ciudad de Madrid.[4] As a choral conductor, King has worked with the Nederlands Kamerkoor, Orfeo Catala, Orfeón Donostiarra, Swiss Radio Choir and the BBC Singers. Operatic work has included Handel Ottone in Japan and the UK, Handel Ezio in Paris, Purcell The Indian Queen in the UK and Germany, Purcell The Fairy Queen in Spain and Britain and Gluck Armide for Buxton Festival. He has written and presented for the BBC, been artistic director of music festivals in Sweden, Germany, and the UK, and contributed to the scores of a number of Hollywood films including Pirates of the Caribbean, Shrek 2, Flushed Away, and The Da Vinci Code.[5]

Besides his work in the field of baroque music, King has conducted a wide spread of classical and early romantic works, symphonic and choral, with a particular focus on the music of Mozart, Haydn and Mendelssohn, and a continuing specialisation in early twentieth century English composers, notably the works of Vaughan Williams, Stanford and Parry.[4][failed verification]

Following a custodial sentence in 2007 for the sexual abuse of minors,[6] typically young musicians he was mentoring,[7] King made a return to the podium in 2009. Having recorded mostly for Hyperion Records prior to his conviction, since 2013 he has recorded for his own label, Vivat,[8] whose debut recording, I Was Glad, reached number 1 in the UK Specialist Classical Albums Chart[9][10][non-primary source needed] and was a finalist in the 2013 Gramophone Awards.[11]

A published author and editor of many scores, principally of baroque music, King wrote a monograph[which?] on Purcell published in 1995, to coincide with the 300th anniversary of the composer's death in 1695.[citation needed] In 2010 and 2011, two volumes of English church music edited by King were published by Oxford University Press,[12] joining nearly 100 other works he has edited from the Baroque and Classical eras.[citation needed]

He was formerly with the agency HarrisonParrott.[6]

Indecent assault convictions

In 2007, King was convicted of fourteen charges of indecent assault for the sexual assault of five boys, three under the age of sixteen, between 1982 and 1995; he was acquitted on another charge.[13] King received a custodial sentence of 3 years 9 months and was placed on the sex offenders' register for life.[14][15] During the case, King denied the abuse, describing the boys as "absolute liars".[13]

Following his sentence, King was not prohibited from working with children.[6] In 2013, commenting after criticism for his taking part in a charity fundraising concert,[16] King stated that he had ‘accepted my sentence, and have paid my debt to society’.[17][18] In February 2019, one of King's victims – also a talented musician – wrote an article about the ongoing effects of his repeated sexual abuse by King (when the victim was between the ages of 12 and 15) and indicated that King has not expressed remorse.[15]

Personal life

At the time of his conviction, King was married, with a young child.[6]

Published works

  • Henry Purcell - "A Greater Musical Genius England Never had". London: Thames & Hudson, 1995. ISBN 0-500-01625-9
  • English Church Music. Volume 1: Anthems and Motets. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010. ISBN 978-0-19-336841-5
  • English Church Music. Volume 2: Canticles and Responses. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011. ISBN 978-0-19-336844-6


Founded in 1980 by Robert King, the period instrument orchestra and choir The King's Consort has made more than 100 recordings under King's direction, winning many international awards[citation needed] and selling more than 1,500,000 copies.[citation needed]

Label Catalogue No Title Year
Meridian CDE84126 Handel: Eternal Source of Light 1986
Meridian CDE84126 Handel: Eternal Source of Light 1986
Meridian CDE84129 Vivaldi: Laudate Pueri 1987
Meridian CDE84138 Vivaldi: Salve Regina 1987
Hyperion CDA66253 Blow/Purcell: Countertenor duets 1987
Hyperion CDA66267 Bach/Telemann: Oboe Concertos 1988
Hyperion CDA66294 Pergolesi: Stabat Mater 1988
Hyperion CDA66314 Purcell: Complete Odes, Vol. 1 - Royal & Ceremonial Odes 1988
Hyperion CDA66278 Telemann: Musique de Table 1989
Hyperion CDA66288 Purcell: Mr Henry Purcell's Most Admirable Composures 1989
IMP PCD894 Great Baroque Arias 1989
Hyperion CDA66315 Handel: Music for Royal Occasions 1989
Hyperion CDA66326 Bach: Cantatas 53, 169 & 170 1989
Hyperion CDA66339 Vivaldi: The Four Seasons 1989
Hyperion CDA66349 Purcell: Complete Odes, Vol. 2 - Hail, bright Cecilia! 1989
Hyperion CDA66350 Handel: Fireworks Music & Coronation Anthems 1989
Hyperion CDA66380 Bach: Violin Concertos 1989
Hyperion CDA66361/2 Handel: Acis & Galatea 1990
Hyperion CDA66377 Mozart: Epistle Sonatas 1990
Erato 245 014-2 De Lalande: Sacred Music 1990
Hyperion CDA66398 Schütz: The Christmas Story 1990
Hyperion CDA66412 Purcell: Complete Odes, Vol. 3 - Fly, bold rebellion 1990
Hyperion CDA66440 Handel: Italian Duets 1990
Hyperion CDA66383 Albinoni/Vivaldi: Oboe Concertos 1991
Hyperion CDA66447 Awake Sweet Love 1991
Hyperion CDA66456 Purcell: Complete Odes, Vol. 4 - Ye tuneful Muses 1991
Hyperion CDA66461/2 Handel: Joshua 1991
Hyperion CDA66474 Couperin: Leçons de Ténèbres 1991
Hyperion CDA66476 Purcell: Complete Odes, Vol. 5 - Welcome glorious morn 1991
Hyperion CDA66483 Handel: James Bowman sings Heroic Arias 1991
Hyperion CDA66494 Purcell: Complete Odes, Vol. 6 - Love's goddess sure 1992
Hyperion CDA66585 Purcell: Complete Anthems & Services, Vol. 1 1992
Hyperion CDA66587 Purcell: Complete Odes, Vol. 7 - Yorkshire Feast Song 1992
Hyperion CDA66598 Purcell: Complete Odes, Vol. 8 - Come ye sons of Art 1992
Hyperion CDA66609 Purcell: Complete Anthems & Services, Vol. 2 1992
Hyperion CDA66623 Purcell: Complete Anthems & Services, Vol. 3 1993
Hyperion CDA66641/2 Handel: Judas Maccabaeus 1993
Hyperion CDA66644 Purcell: Complete Anthems & Services, Vol. 4 1993
Hyperion CDA66656 Purcell: Complete Anthems & Services, Vol. 5 1993
Hyperion CDA66663 Purcell: Complete Services & Anthems, Vol. 6 1993
Hyperion CDA66841/2 Handel: Deborah 1993
United 88002 Music from the Courts of Europe: London 1993
Hyperion CDA66751/3 Handel: Ottone 1993
Hyperion CDA66677 Purcell: Complete Anthems & Services, Vol. 7 1994
Hyperion CDA66686 Purcell: Complete Anthems & Services, Vol. 8 1994
Hyperion CDA66693 Purcell: Complete Anthems & Services, Vol. 9 1994
Hyperion CDA66707 Purcell: Complete Anthems & Services, Vol. 10 1994
Hyperion CDA66710 Purcell: Complete Secular solo songs, Vol. 1 1994
Hyperion CDA66716 Purcell: Complete Anthems & Services, Vol. 11 1994
Hyperion CDA66720 Purcell: Complete Secular solo songs, Vol. 2 1994
Hyperion CDA66730 Purcell: Complete Secular solo songs, Vol. 3 1994
Hyperion CDA66769 Vivaldi: Sacred Music Vol. 1 1995
Hyperion CDA66797 Handel: James Bowman sings English Arias 1995
Hyperion CDA66881/2 Vivaldi: Complete Cello Sonatas 1995
Hyperion CDA66961/2 Handel: The Occasional Oratorio 1995
Hyperion CDA66779 Vivaldi: Sacred Music Vol. 2 1996
Hyperion CDA66843 Bach: Six Trio Sonatas 1996
Hyperion CDA66875 Scarlatti/Hasse: Salve Regina 1996
Hyperion CDA67171/3 Handel: Joseph & his Brethren 1996
Hyperion CDA66789 Vivaldi: Sacred Music Vol. 3 1997
Hyperion CDA66967 Handel/Telemann: Water Music 1997
Hyperion CDA67201/2 Bach: Mass in B minor 1997
Hyperion CDA67241/2 Handel: Alexander Balus 1997
Hyperion CDA67281/2 Vivaldi: Sacred Music, Vol. 4 - Juditha Triumphans 1998
Hyperion CDA67048 Lo Sposalizio 1998
Hyperion CDA67059 Kuhnau: Sacred Music 1998
Hyperion CDA67073 Vivaldi: Concerti con molti istromenti 1998
Accenture CONS1001 The Bright Seraphim 1998
Hyperion CDA66799 Vivaldi: Sacred Music Vol. 5 1999
Hyperion CDA67108 Boccherini, Astorga: Stabat Mater 1999
Hyperion CDA67283/4 Handel: L'Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato 1999
Accenture CONS1002 The Grand Tour 1999
Hyperion CDA67160 Knüpfer: Sacred Music 2000
Hyperion CDA66809 Vivaldi: Sacred Music, Vol. 6 2000
Hyperion CDA66819 Vivaldi: Sacred Music, Vol. 7 2001
Hyperion CDA67260 Schelle: Sacred Music 2001
Hyperion CDA67266 Haydn, Hummel, Hertel Trumpet Concertos 2001
Hyperion CDA67286 The Coronation of King George, 1727 2001
Hyperion CDA67298 Handel: The Choice of Hercules 2002
Hyperion CDA67361/2 Vivaldi: La Senna Festeggiante 2002
Hyperion CDA66829 Vivaldi: Sacred Music, Vol. 8 2002
Hyperion CDA66839 Vivaldi: Sacred Music, Vol. 9 2003
Hyperion CDA67350 Zelenka: Sacred Music 2003
Hyperion CDA67428 Monteverdi: Sacred Music, Vol. 1 2003
Hyperion CDA67438 Monteverdi: Sacred Music, Vol. 2 2004
Hyperion CDA67463 Handel: Ode for St Cecilia's Day 2004
Hyperion CDA67487 Monteverdi: Sacred Music, Vol. 3 2004
Hyperion CDA66849 Vivaldi: Sacred Music, Vol. 10 2004
Hyperion CDA67510 Haydn, Michael: Requiem 2005
Hyperion CDA 67519 Monteverdi: Sacred Music, Vol. 4 2005
Hyperion CDA67553 Vivaldi: Cello Concertos 2006
Hyperion CDA67560 Mozart: Exsultate jubilate 2006
Hyperion CDA67531/2 Monteverdi: Vespers, 1610 2006
Hyperion CDA67570 Rossini: Petite Messe solennelle 2006
Hyperion CDA67627 Handel: German Arias 2007
Vivat Vivat101 I was glad: Sacred Music of Stanford & Parry 2013
Vivat Vivat102 Couperin: Trois Leçons de Ténèbres 2013
Vivat Vivat104 Monteverdi: Heaven and Earth 2013
Vivat Vivat105 Handel: Your tuneful voice 2014
Vivat Vivat106 Purcell: Ten Sonatas in Four Parts 2014
Vivat Vivat110 Purcell: Twelve Sonatas of Three Parts 2015
Vivat Vivat111 Handel-Mendelssohn: Israel in Ägypten 2016
Vivat Vivat112 Decades: a century of song – volume 1 (1810-1820) 2017
Vivat Vivat113 A Voice from Heaven 2017
Vivat Vivat114 Decades: a century of song – volume 2 (1820-1830) 2017
Vivat Vivat115 Fantasy – Alissa Firsova 2017
Vivat Vivat116 Decades: a century of song – volume 3 (1830-1840) 2018
Vivat Vivat117 Abbandonata – Handel Italian cantatas 2018


Label Catalogue No Title Year
Hyperion KING1 The Music of The King's Consort 1991
Hyperion KING2 Essential Purcell 1994
Hyperion KING3 The James Bowman Collection 1996
Hyperion KING4 The King's Consort Baroque Collection 1997
Hyperion KING5 Essential Bach 1999
Hyperion KING6 Essential Handel 2005
Hyperion KING7 The King's Consort Collection 2005
Hyperion KING2017 The King's Consort Collection 2017 2017


  1. ^ The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music, Oxford University Press, 1996/
  2. ^ "The King's Consort, direction Robert King". Satirino. Archived from the original on 18 April 2014. Retrieved 31 August 2012.
  3. ^ a b "Robert King (organ)". Hyperion Records.
  4. ^ a b "Robert King". Lucerne Festival. Archived from the original on 6 September 2015.
  5. ^ "Choir of the King's Consort [gb]".
  6. ^ a b c d Fenton, James. "Facing the music". The Guardian. Retrieved 31 August 2016.
  7. ^ Amy Bourke, Conductor jailed for abusing boys can still teach, Pink News, 6 June 2007 (accessed 2 February 2019)
  8. ^ Robert King unveils recording studio in Suffolk, Rhinegold
  9. ^ "I was Glad – Sacred Music of Stanford and Parry – The Lady Organist".
  10. ^ "The King's Consort's "I was glad" rockets to Nr 1 of Charts!".
  11. ^ "Gramophone - Gramophone Awards 2013 Shortlist".
  12. ^[dead link]
  13. ^ a b BBC News website,
  14. ^ Westphal, Matthew. "Conductor Robert King Convicted of Abusing Teenage Boys". Playbill Arts. Retrieved 21 February 2015.
  15. ^ a b Yarwood, Tom (1 February 2019). "'I couldn't deal with it, it tore me apart': surviving child sexual abuse". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 1 February 2019.
  16. ^ Alleyne, Richard. "Conductor jailed for sexually abusing choir boys to star in concert hosted by Prince Charles' charity". Daily Mail. Retrieved 21 February 2015.
  17. ^ Widdecombe, Ann (10 July 2013). "People are entitled to start again after serving a prison sentence".
  18. ^ "I have served my time, says sex offender".

External links

  • Official website
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