Brian Kay’s working life has been divided 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, The Tingle Factor 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.
Brian is Conductor and Musical Director 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, with performances including Verdi’s Requiem, Carmina Burana, The Armed Man, Mozart’s Requiem, The Dream of Gerontius, the annual 4000-voice Messiah, and in 2010 the world premier performance of Karl Jenkins’s Gloria.
Internationally Brian has directed The Really Big Chorus in Salzburg, Prague, Venice, Dubrovnik, Madeira, Malta, Riga, St. Petersburg, Hong Kong, Cape Town, New York, and a performance of Handel’s Messiah in China in Beijing’s Forbidden City Concert Hall. He also directs an annual summer school and singing cruises to such destinations as the Baltic, the Aegean, the Black Sea, the Mediterranean, the Rhone, the Danube, the Duoro and the Nile.
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, the Kendal-based Mary Wakefield Westmorland Festival and for twenty one years, Vaughan Williams’ Surrey-based Leith Hill Musical Festival.
He frequently Guest-Conducts choirs and orchestras in many parts of the country and has directed choral courses at the summer schools of Dartington, Warwick, Ardingly and Eastbourne. 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 was a founder member of the renowned male vocal harmony ensemble the King’s Singers, and as the bass voice in the group performed over 2000 concerts world-wide. He has twice appeared at the Royal Variety Show first in 1978 as a member of the King’s Singers, and then in 1987 conducting the Huddersfield Choral Society. He sang the voice of Papageno in the Hollywood movie Amadeus with his wife, the soprano Gillian Fisher, singing the role of 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 Pink Floyd!