Clifford Lister commenced his musical education as a chorister at Winchester Cathedral, later winning a Choral Scholarship to The King’s School, Canterbury, and subsequently studying singing with Kenneth Bowen and the late Clara Taylor at The Royal Academy of Music.
Whilst at the Royal Academy, he moved from the post of ‘Lay-clerk’ at Canterbury Cathedral, to a similar post at Westminster Cathedral, where he remained for the next 20 years. In November 2007, he decided that he would concentrate on teaching, concert work, and consort work with groups such as Cappella Nova (Scotland) and Opus Anglicanum.
Clifford continues to enjoy a varied career as a Soloist, Recitalist, as an ‘ad hoc’ member Opus Anglicanum and Cappella Nova, and as a part time member of the Cathedral Choirs of Rochester, Canterbury and Westminster, with whom he continues regularly to tour, broadcast and record. Recent tours with various groups have included trips to Rome and Scotland, a debut concert in the Cadogan Hall, and a recital of Brahms lieder, and also ‘On Wenlock Edge’ by Vaughan Williams. Nearer home, he is a regular soloist with many Choral Societies in the South East, and has sung all the mainstream solo roles in Oratorio. Forthcoming engagements include Mozart C minor Mass, in Rochester and Dyson’s Nebuchadnezzar for Sutton Valence. When not performing, Clifford is actively engaged as a singing teacher at Kent College in Canterbury, and Canterbury Christ Church University.
Some 20 years ago the Thanet Festival Choir approached him to take over as their Music Director. The prospect of coaching a large group of singers on a weekly basis was a rather appealing (daunting?) challenge, especially since the only group he’d ever directed before was a Junior Choir in a primary school! On the basis that nothing could be more demanding than a primary school choir of seven- and eight year-olds, he accepted the offer, and has overseen our progress ever since. Though he will often remark that even after so many years ‘It seems like we’ve only just begun!’
Whether teaching individuals or groups, Clifford demands the highest possible standards from his singers; after all, he does know, and can explain to us (and demonstrate) exactly how we should be singing, whilst keeping in perspective that we are not professional singers. He DOES insist on us working extremely diligently at the rehearsals and usually manages to bear our intermittent rehearsal lapses with good humour and a positive outlook. It is a source of great pride to him (and us) that our concerts are often sold-out, and that our reputation as a choral group is on the increase.