John Milford Rutter CBE (b. 24 September 1945, London) is a British composer, conductor, editor, arranger and record producer, mainly of choral music.
The son of an industrial chemist and his wife, Rutter grew up living over the Globe pub on London's Marylebone Road. He was educated at Highgate School, after which he read music at Clare College, Cambridge, where he was a member of the choir. He served as director of music at Clare College from 1975 to 1979 and led the choir to international prominence.
In 1981, Rutter founded his own choir, the Cambridge Singers, which he conducts and with which he has made many recordings of sacred choral repertoire (including his own works), particularly under his own label Collegium Records. He resides at Duxford in Cambridgeshire and frequently conducts many choirs and orchestras around the world.
Rutter's compositions are chiefly choral, and include Christmas carols, anthems and extended works such as a Gloria, the Requiem and the Magnificat. Rutter also works as an arranger and editor. As a young man he collaborated with Sir David Willcocks on four volumes of the extraordinarily successful Carols for Choirs anthology series.
Rutter's music is eclectic, showing the influences of the French and English choral traditions of the early 20th century as well as of light music and American classic songwriting. Almost every choral anthem and hymn that he writes has a subsequent orchestral accompaniment in addition to the standard piano/organ accompaniment, using various different instrumentations such as strings only, strings and woodwinds or full orchestra with brass and percussion.
Rutter's music is very popular, particularly in the USA. In the UK it receives a more mixed reception, most holding him in high regard, but some observers believe that his sheer technical facility or versatility leads to a superficial, unstable crossover style which tends towards mawkish sentimentality.
In 1980, Rutter was made an honorary Fellow of Westminster Choir College, Princeton, and in 1988 a Fellow of the Guild of Church Musicians. In 1996, the Archbishop of Canterbury conferred a Lambeth Doctorate of Music upon him in recognition of his contribution to church music. In 2008, he was made an honorary Bencher of the Middle Temple while playing a significant role in the 2008 Temple Festival.
Works for Winds
- All Things Bright and Beautiful (arr. Vertrommen) (2009)
- As the Bridegroom to His Chosen (arr. Vertrommen) (2008)
- Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella (as arranger) (1981)
- Candlelight Carol (arr. Dawson) (1984)
- Distant Land (arr. Noble) (1991/2002/2012)
- Feel the Spirit (arr. Noble) (2001/2015)
- For the Beauty of the Earth (arr. Vertrommen) (2010)
- For the Beauty of the Earth (arr. Dawson) (2009)
- Gloria (arr. Sylvester) (1976)
- Gloria (arr. Noble) (1976/2015)
- Magic Kingdom
- Nativity Carol (arr. Musgrave) (1963/1967/2013)
- Shepherd's Pipe Carol (arr. Noble) (1966/2012)
- Star Carol (arr. Noble) (1972/2012)
- Three American Miniatures
- We Wish You a Merry Christmas (as arranger) (1981)
- What Sweeter Music (arr. Vertrommen) (1988/2010)
- What Sweeter Music (arr. Noble) (1988/2012)