Berkshire Choral International

Brian Kay

Vice President of the Association of British Choral Directors, conductor of the Leith Hill Music Festival

Brian Kay divides his working life between the broadcasting studio and the concert platform. He presents over 100 radio programmes each year, including Brian Kay's Light Programme on BBC Radio 3, and Radio 2's long-running series, Friday Night is Music Night. He has also presented Classics with Kay for BBC World Service, and for the home networks, The Tingle Factor, the Radio 2 Arts Programme, Comparing Notes, Music in mind and Mainly for Pleasure. His television presentations have included the competitions to find the Cardiff Singer of the World and the Choir of the Year. In 1996 he won the Sony Radio Award as Music Presenter of the Year. Brian is much in demand as a conductor, especially of choral music. For ten years he was chorus master of the renowned Huddersfield Choral Society, and conductor of the Cheltenham Bach Choir. He is a frequent guest conductor in England and abroad; current appointments include the vice-presidency of the Association of British Choral Directors, and he is conductor of the Leith Hill Music Festival, which was started by the composer Ralph Vaughan Williams.

As well as appearing as narrator in repertoire as diverse as Peter and the Wolf and Bliss's Morning Heroes, Kay is well remembered as the bass in the King's Singers, with whom he made countless recordings, and live concert appearances all over the world.

He sang the voice of Papageno in the Hollywood movie "Amadeus" (his wife, the soprano Gillian Fisher, sang Papagena); Kay has been the lowest frog on a Paul McCartney single and a member of the backing group for Pink Floyd!

Works conducted at BCI

  • Gounod/Puccini, St. Cecelia Mass/Messa di Gloria, 2018 Newcastle/Durham
  • Mendelssohn, Lobgesang (Hymn of Praise), 2003
  • Mendelssohn, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, 2003
  • Bach, Cantata BWV 79, 2003
  • Haydn, Harmoniemesse, 2000
  • Fauré, Requiem, 2000
  • Haydn, Lord Nelson Mass, 2007 Canterbury
  • Duruflé, Requiem, 2007 Canterbury
  • Bach, Mass in B Minor, 1993 Canterbury