Brian Kay – Conductor & Compère
Brian Kay divides his working life between the broadcasting studio and the concert platform. His many presentations for BBC radio have included Brian Kay’s Sunday Morning, Brian Kay’s Light Programme, the weekly listeners’ request programme 3 for all and Choirworks – all on Radio 3 – on Radio 2 the popular programmes Melodies for You and Friday Night is Music Night, and for Radio 4, Comparing Notes and Music in Mind.
His former BBC World Service programme Classics with Kay reached an audience of millions all over the world. Brian’s television presentations have included the competitions to find the Cardiff Singer of the World and the Choir of the Year, and for fifteen years the New Year’s Day Concert from Vienna. He has twice won a Sony Award as Music Presenter of the Year, including the coveted Gold Award in 1996.
On the concert platform, he presents and narrates concerts with many of the leading orchestras. His narrations include Peter and the Wolf, Paddington Bear’s First Concert, Tubby the Tuba, Babar the Elephant, The Snowman, The Musicians of Bremen, Walton’s Facade, Honegger’s King David and Bliss’s Morning Heroes.
Brian Kay is conductor of Vaughan Williams’s Leith Hill Musical Festival in Surrey, and of the Burford Singers, near to his home in the Cotswolds. He is also Principal Conductor of The Really Big Chorus, with which he regularly conducts massed voices in London’s Royal Albert Hall, together with recent concerts in Salzburg, Seville, Prague and Venice, and a performance of Handel’s Messiah in China, in Beijing’s Forbidden City Concert Hall. He was, for ten years, Chorus Master of the Huddersfield Choral Society, and Conductor of the Cheltenham Bach Choir, the Bradford Festival Choral Society, the Cecilian Singers of Leicester, and the Kendal-based Mary Wakefield Westmorland Festival. He frequently Guest-Conducts choirs and orchestras in many parts of the country. Further afield, in New Zealand he has conducted the Orpheus Choir of Wellington and the Auckland Choral Society, and in Sheffield, Massachusetts, the Berkshire Choral Festival. He is a Vice President of the ABCD (the Association of British Choral Directors) and of the RSCM (Royal School of Church Music).
Brian Kay has twice appeared at the Royal Variety Show – in 1978 as a member of the King’s Singers (he was a founder member, and as the bass voice in the group performed over 2000 concerts world-wide) and in 1987 conducting the Huddersfield Choral Society. He sang the voice of Papageno in the Hollywood movie Amadeus (his wife, the soprano Gillian Fisher sang Papagena). He has also been the lowest frog on a Paul McCartney single, one of the six wives to Harry Secombe’s Henry VIIIth and a member of the backing group for The Pink Floyd!