English choir director John Alldis dies at 81

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LONDON (AP) - John Alldis, whose choir ranged from working with opera to collaborating with Duke Ellington and Pink Floyd, has died of pneumonia. He was 81.

He founded the professional, 16-voice John Alldis Choir in 1962 and made an early mark with the world premiere performance of Alexander Goehr’s “A Little Cantata for Proverbs.” Alldis died Monday, his family said.

Subsequent recordings, mainly for Argo, tackled modern composers including Malcolm Williams, Harrison Birtwistle and Richard Rodney Bennett, but the choir repertoire reached back as far as the Renaissance.

Choir members who later established solo careers including Philip Langridge, John Shirley-Quirk and Ian Partridge.

The Alldis Choir worked with Pink Floyd on the “Atom Heart Mother” album in 1970, and in 1973 on a recording of Ellington’s “Third Sacred Concert.”

Alldis worked with choral ensembles for the London Symphony Orchestra and the London Philnarmonic, and taught at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama from 1966 to 1977.

He conducted the American Choral Symposium in Manhattan, Kansas, from 1978 to 1987, and was permanent guest conductor of the Netherlands Chamber Choir from 1985 to 1998.

Alldis is survived by his wife Ursula and two sons.

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