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Sir Philip Ledger CBE (born December 12, 1937) is a British classical musician and academic.

Sir Philip was born in Bexhill-on-Sea in 1937 and educated at King's College, Cambridgemarker. When appointed Master of the Music at Chelmsford Cathedralmarker in 1961, he became the youngest Cathedral Organist in the country. In 1965 he took up the post of Director of Music at the University of East Angliamarker where he was also Dean of the School of Fine Arts and Music and responsible for the establishment of an award-winning building for the University’s Music Centre, opened in 1973.In 1968 he became an Artistic Director of the Aldeburgh Festival with Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears, conducting at the Snape Maltings on many occasions including the opening concert after its rebuilding, and playing in first performances of works by Britten.

He was Director of Music at King’s College, Cambridgemarker from 1974-1982 and Conductor of the Cambridge University Musical Society from 1973-1982. During his years in Cambridge, he directed the Choir of King’s College in the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, made an extensive range of recordings and took the Choir to the USA, Australia, and Japan for the first time.

He was subsequently Principal of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama from 1982-2001 where in 1988 new premises for the Academy were opened by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother. Since that time Ledger has appeared as a conductor throughout the United Kingdom, North America, and Asia.

He is a noted organist and keyboard player. He has also composed, arranged and edited music, particularly for choir.

Philip Ledger has conducted many leading orchestras and is widely respected as a pianist, harpsichordist and organist. He has made numerous successful recordings with artists such as Benjamin Britten, Dame Janet Baker, Paul Tortelier, Pinchas Zukerman and Robert Tear.


Many of his compositions and editions have been published by Oxford University Press, Encore Publications, The Lorenz Corporation (USA), and The Royal School of Church Music. His Requiem (A Thanksgiving for Life) is written for soprano and tenor soloists with mixed choir and may be performed with either orchestra, or with chamber ensemble or with organ.

The first recording devoted entirely to his choral compositions, including his Requiem - A thanksgiving for life was recorded on 7th and 8th December 2008 by Christ's College Chapel Choir, Cambridge, directed by both David Rowland and Sir Philip Ledger. The album (Regent Records) was released 16th November 2009.


In 1985 Philip Ledger was appointed a CBE in the New Year Honours List and he was knighted in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 1999 for Services to Music. He has received Honorary Doctorates from the Universities of Strathclyde, Central England, Glasgow, and St Andrews, and from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. He was President of the Royal College of Organists from 1992-94 and President of the Incorporated Society of Musicians from 1994-95.

External links


  1. Stanley Webb "Philip (Stevens) Ledger" in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (London: Macmillan, 1980)

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