The Cambridge Singers are a general-repertoire mixed-voice choir, one of the best known in the compact disc era.
They are particularly associated with the wildly popular choral compositions of their founder, John Rutter
, who established the group in 1981 expressly as a professional chamber choir for recording sessions. The initial nucleus of the group comprised seven former members of the Clare College Choir, which Rutter
directed between 1975 and 1979. All additional members had also been choral scholars in British colleges. In 1984 Rutter
created the Collegium Records label in order to record the Cambridge Singers. This was at the very beginning of the compact disc era, and the Cambridge Singers had one of the first major successes for a small independent label in their recording of the original orchestration of Gabriel Fauré
's Requiem, and other music by Fauré
. The choir's beauty of tone and the exemplary recording of the album established both the label and the choir as top representatives of their type. Soon Collegium released the Singers in a recording of Rutter
's own Requiem, a work much in the vein of the Fauré
work, consolidating the reputation of the choir and the label, and arousing worldwide interest in Rutter
's choral compositions, many of which are now frequently performed by choirs around the world. While Rutter
's music is central to the group, they have also recorded a range of music from the Baroque through the Contemporary. The Cambridge Singers are still primarily a recording ensemble, but they do make concert and church appearances. Baritone Gerald Finley and tenor Mark Padmore are among the notable alumni of the group.