“My time as a chorister at Ely (1956-61) and subsequent period at King’s Ely Senior (1961-66) shaped my whole life.

“As a small boy, the sound of the choir and the organ in that magnificent cathedral exerted an immensely powerful influence. I became fascinated by the little dots on the page and how, as if by magic, they were transformed into glorious sound.

“This extraordinary miracle of music lives with me to this day. My professional career in music began as a chorister at Ely, for which I am profoundly grateful.”

Dr Bill Ives has spent his life in choral music – as a singer, conductor, teacher and composer (writing as Grayston Ives). He was a chorister at Ely Cathedral and then studied music at Cambridge, taking composition lessons with Richard Rodney Bennett.

After Cambridge, he sang in Guildford Cathedral Choir before joining The King’s Singers, with whom he recorded and performed worldwide. For eighteen years, Bill directed Magdalen College Choir, Oxford. During his tenure, the choir earned a Grammy nomination for a disc of music by Orlando Gibbons, gave the première of Paul McCartney’s Ecce Cor Meum, and recorded backing tracks for Josh Groban’s platinum Christmas album, Noël.

Listen Sweet Dove, on the Harmonia Mundi label, features a selection of Bill’s compositions, performed by Magdalen College Choir under his own direction. In 2008, he was awarded a Lambeth DMus and a Fellowship of the Royal School of Church Music.

Back to all Case Studies