Stephen Darlington is one of England's leading choral conductors. His links with Christ Church began in the early 1970s, as Organ Scholar under Simon Preston. After four years as Assistant Organist at Canterbury Cathedral, he was appointed Master of the Music at St. Albans Abbey, and a year later, became Artistic Director of the world-famous International Organ Festival in succession to Peter Hurford. In 1985 he returned to Christ Church as Organist and Tutor in Music. Since then he has divided his time between establishing the college as an acknowledged centre of academic musical excellence, and maintaining the highest choral traditions of the Church of England in Christ Church Cathedral. His outstanding strength is in his performances of choral music of the 16th century, and of modern sacred music. An extensive discography comprising over 50 CD's, includes several award-winning recordings such as: Ralph Vaughan Williams's An Oxford Elegy (nominated for a Grammy Award), Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina's Missa Dum Complerentur and William Walton's Choral Works. Recent releases, Haydn's Stabat Mater and De Monte's Masses and Motets have received Gramophone magazine recommendations.
Stephen Darlington has travelled worldwide both with the choir and as an organist and conductor. He has directed many well-known orchestras including Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, London Mozart Players, English Chamber Orchestra, Northern Sinfonia, The Hanover Band, English String Orchestra and London Musici. Under his direction, the choir have sung with many great artists including, Plácido Domingo, José Carreras, James Bowman, Paul Whelan and John Mark Ainsley. Also, he has collaborated with some of the most distinguished contemporary composers such as Judith Weir, John Tavener, Robert Saxton and Howard Goodall.
Stephen Darlington is in increasing demand as a guest conductor. He has made two visits to the University of Cincinnati, has been visiting Artist in Residence at the University of Western Australia, and spent a sabbatical term in 1997 conducting in Sydney, Perth and Christchurch, New Zealand.
In addition to his busy schedule as a performer, Stephen Darlington is active in academic circles. He has been external examiner at Edinburgh University and has been Chairman of the Board of the Faculty of Music at Oxford. He is currently Choragus of the University of Oxford, the holder of a Lambeth Doctorate of Music, and from 1999-2001 he was President of the Royal College of Organists.
Stephen Darlington has just finished co-editing a book Composing Music for Worship (Canterbury Press).