An interview with John Rutter


This December we're delighted to share the stage with the nation's most prominent choral composer, John Rutter. Of course, there's no better way to get into the Yuletide spirit than attending John Rutter's popular Christmas Celebration, full of festive fanfares and your favoiurite sing-along carols!

We caught up with John between busy rehearsals to ask him some quick questions about the concert and why this is a Christmas tradition that must not be missed!


Rutter John c Nick Rutter

Hi John, thank you so much for taking the time to sit down with us between rehearsals.

Our first question is what can your audience expect from Christmas Celebration?

A wealth of carols old and new, familiar favourites for audience participation, a special 'Royal Wedding Retrospective', seasonal showpieces for orchestra, and the renowned Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Christmas quiz. A delight to have our guest soloist Elin Manahan Thomas with us (as heard at the royal wedding!) and the boy choristers from the wonderful Temple Church Choir in London.

What is the piece that you’re most looking forward to conducting in the concert this year?
Nothing beats the thrill of a full-house audience, backed up by choir, orchestra and the mighty Symphony Hall organ, lifting the roof off right from the start with O come, all ye faithful.

This is the second time that you have brought Christmas Celebration to Birmingham Symphony Hall, why is Birmingham special to you?
Symphony Hall is a magnificent venuel, complete with a warm, lovely audience!

What do you tell your choir just before a concert?
Whatever a football coach tells his team before a match.

Do you have a favourite Christmas memory that inspires your work?
Getting chosen to sing the first-verse solo in Once in royal David's city in my school carol service, aged 10.

John, thank you so much for your time.  We're really looking forward to the Christmas Celebration concerts. For us at the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, it signals the start of the Christmas countdown!

We do hope you can join us for this magical evening including The First Nowell, Sleigh Ride and Frosty the Snowman. The nation’s favourite orchestra will be joined by vocalists Elin Manahan Thomas and Melanie Marshall, and a great choral force, as they perform a selection of John Rutter’s own much-loved works, seasonal choral and orchestral favourites and sing-along carols.

Royal Albert Hall, London - Tuesday, December 4 at 3 pm and 7:30 pm
Symphony Hall, Birmingham - Thursday, December 13 at 7:30 pm

John Rutter Conductor
Elin Manahan Thomas Soprano
Melanie Marshall Mezzo-soprano
Andrew Lucas Organ
The Purcell Singers
The Temple Church Choir 

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