An Interview with King's Singer Christopher Gabbitas
- THE HERALD, SCOTLAND:
I first met Christopher Gabbitas eight years ago as a student at Oxford, when he joined the choir of Christ Church as a lay clerk. Most of us music-related people in college were pretty vague about our future plans but not Chris, who was a lot more focused. Not for him struggling to make ends meet as a freelance singer in London. Instead he'd done a law degree at Cambridge (where he'd sung in the choir of St John's College) and was in Oxford doing a post-graduate diploma in legal practice with a traineeship lined up in London.
Fast-forward a couple of years and the next I heard of Chris on the grapevine of Oxford friends was that he'd ditched the law and become a member of the venerable King's Singers. It's a plum position. The group is not like most of the London choral groups which operate on a more or less ad hoc basis and have an ever-changing freelance personnel.
Instead, the King's Singers is a tight-knit group with a fixed line-up of six singers - of which there has been a remarkably slow turnover during the group's 40-year history. "In some ways we're the group everyone in the singing world loves to hate," says Gabbitas on the phone from Finland, where the sextet was performing over the weekend in advance of its appearance at Perth Festival tomorrow. "We're seen as being very cliquey since it's a full-time job and we're always on the road, but then a vacancy comes along and everyone jumps at the chance to join the group."