Conductor Stephen Layton was born 1966, the son of a church organist.
As a child, he was a chorister at Winchester Cathedral, and received scholarships to Eton College and later King's College, Cambridge as an organ scholar. In 1986, while still a student, Layton founded the mixed-voice choir Polyphony and in 1993 he was appointed the musical director of the Holst Singers. Layton’s subsequent appointments include principal guest conductor of the Danish National Choir (1999), chief conductor of the Netherlands Chamber Choir (2002), Fellow and Director of Music of Trinity College, Cambridge (2006) and Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the City of London Sinfonia (2010).
Layton guest conducts widely and has worked with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Minnesota Orchestra, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the Academy of Ancient Music, the English Chamber Orchestra, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, the Irish Chamber Orchestra and the Australian Chamber Orchestra. A champion of new music, Layton has premiered new repertoire by many composers, including Arvo Pärt, Thomas Ades, James Macmillan, John Tavener, Colin Matthews, Morten Lauridsen and Uģis Prauliņš.
Stephen Layton’s eclectic discography encompasses a vast range of repertoire, composers and genres, and has received numerous awards, including Gramophone Award and the Diapason d’Or in France for best choral disc, three Grammy nominations and the Spanish CD Compact Award.