John Rutter was born in London in 1945 and studied music at Clare College, Cambridge. His compositions embrace choral, orchestral, and instrumental music, and he has co-edited various choral anthologies including four Carols for Choirs volumes with Sir David Willcocks and the Oxford Choral Classics series. From 1975-9 he was Director of Music at Clare College, and in 1981 formed his own choir, the Cambridge Singers, a professional chamber choir primarily dedicated to recording.
He now divides his time between composition and conducting, and has guest-conducted or lectured at many concert halls, universities, churches, music festivals, and conferences in Europe, Scandinavia, and North America. He is an honorary Fellow of Westminster Choir College, Princeton, a Fellow of the Guild of Church Musicians, and in 1996 was awarded a Lambeth Doctorate of Music. In 2002 his setting of Psalm 150, commissioned for the Queen's Golden Jubilee, was performed at the Service of Thanksgiving in St Paul's Cathedral, London.
Rutter's choral works, including his Requiem and Gloria, are frequently performed around the world. In 2003 Mass of the Children, a major work for adult and children's choir, soloists, and orchestra, was premièred in New York's Carnegie Hall conducted by the composer.
John Rutter's music has been widely recorded and is available on many record labels including Universal, Naxos, and Hyperion. The Cambridge Singers have recorded many of John Rutter's works on the Collegium Records label.
John Rutter was awarded a CBE in the 2007 New Year’s Honours List, in recognition of his outstanding services to music.