David Fisher


David Fisher was a chorister at Leicester Cathedral where he started composing at the age of 11. He later studied music at Durham University, where he trained as a teacher, and he was for thirty-six years a Head of Performing Arts at a Leicestershire college. He holds a Master of Music degree, is a member of the Ivors Academy [formerly British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors], Chairman of both Central Composers’ Alliance and the Leicester Music Society, founder-conductor of Kingfisher Chorale and he conducted Derby Choral Union for many years. He won the Young Composer of the Year for the Northern Sinfonia Chorus in 1977. His compositions are mainly choral and several of his pieces have been released on commercial CDs. He has written for the Vienna Boys’ Choir & English cathedral choirs as well as being the only modern composer to write a cantata for Dame Emma Kirkby using authentic C18th instruments. His largest work is a 55-minute requiem for choral society, eight brass players and four percussionists. He has appeared on BBC 1 & 2, ITV, Radio 4 and several local radio stations as well as writing and presenting a documentary for BBC Radio Leicester. He is yet to feature on Radio 3 although one of his pieces (with him singing) appeared on Nick Grimshaw’s Radio 1 programme.


David Fisher was born in Northumberland and educated in Leicester. A chorister at Leicester Cathedral under George Gray, he had his first composition lessons with Dr Gray at the age of eleven. After leaving Alderman Newton´s Boys´ Grammar School, he studied music at Durham University [College of the Venerable Bede], where he trained as a teacher, and he was for more than thirty-six years Head of Music and then Head of the Performing Arts Faculty in Leicestershire. He also has a Master of Music degree in composition and research from the University of Sheffield and holds an LTCL diploma from Trinity College of Music, London. 

A member of the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors and Chairman of Central Composers Alliance, his output is mainly choral and includes Mary Laid Her Child which was premiered and performed worldwide by the Vienna Boys Choir and released on CD in 1999. Ave Regina caelorum was released on disc by Lincoln Cathedral Choir (which has since been remastered and re-released by Priory Records in 2007) and The Litanie won David Fisher the Northern Sinfonia Young Composer Award and it was subsequently recorded for the British Council by the Burrow´s Choir. His Mass to the Trinity has had many performances following its successful premiere of the Gloria with the Leicestershire Chorale under Paul McCreesh at Southwell Minster. Laudate Dominum, a major cantata for one of the world´s leading sopranos, commissioned by East Midlands Arts for Dame Emma Kirkby, Derby Choral Union and an authentic classical orchestra has had three performances at Derby and two in Leicester by the Leicester Bach Choir.

His three Farnham Festival commissions, Aspects of Time, All is well & Let us build for ever (all originally directed by Richard Stevens) are substantial works for children, some of which have been performed at the Three Choirs´  Festival and by groups such as the Leicester Bach Choir and Kingfisher Chorale. Instrumental works include Congissima for Desford Youth Band [National Champions in 1987 and 1988], commissioned by and performed on Central TV, Trialogue for violin, clarinet and piano and The Four Seasons for solo piano, both of which were released on CD in 2002, were performed by Julian Hellaby and others. His largest work to date is Requiem, commissioned by Daventry Choral Society and performed to great acclaim by them in 2001 with a subsequent performance by Derby Choral Union.

Two other works include Augsburg Elegy for Joachim Diessner which was premiered in Bavaria in 2004 and The Tiffany Anthem which was commissioned to commemorate the rebuild of Leicester Cathedral s organ and was first performed by the cathedral choirs of Leicester, Derby and Coventry. There have been subsequent performances in those cathedrals and in Germany too with projected performances America. The anthem was performed at St Paul´s Cathedral, London, in May 2007, and was also performed to the Archbishop of Canterbury in June 2009. It was released on CD in December 2009 by the Girl Choristers of Derby Cathedral, conducted by their Master of Music, Peter Gould and organist, Tom Corfield. An early work had its world première recording in 2011 in its full version with the optional organ accompaniment by the Roder Jongenskoor in Holland. Details may be found under Mary laid her child in the list of works. This work has also been recorded by the the Wiener Sängerknaben and was performed by the Vienna Boys’ Choir at the Konzertsaal der Wiener Sängerknaben [MuTh] on the 5th, 6th & 7th December 2013. It was also performed by one of the choirs on their tour of USA in 2012 in many venues around the States including the Symphony Hall, Chicago. 

Three works composed for the superb and popular concert series in Köln under the title "A Countertenor´s Christmas" are The Christ-child written for Dame Emma Kirkby and Joachim Diessner von Isensee, first performed at the Evangelische Versöhnungskirche, Köln, December 2012 with Angels sing with pious mirth! in 2013 and Nunc Gaudet Maria in 2014.  Recent pieces are The Legacy (October 2013) and De Profundis (September 2014) .

As a conductor, David Fisher founded Kingfisher Chorale in 1992 and it has become a leading chamber choir in the country, winning through to the Finals Weekend of the Sainsbury´s Choir of the Year Competition and appearing on BBC TV and radio. Many works have been written for the choir and concerts have been given at Musical Festivals, National Trust venues, at many of the University Concert series in Leicester and at the annual popular Christmas concerts given in Leicester´s medieval Guildhall before Christmas. In 2006, David Fisher directed the world premiere recording of Malcolm Arnold´s John Clare Cantata with Kingfisher Chorale and the pianists Peter Noke and Julian Hellaby. David Fisher also conducted Derby Choral Union for ten seasons and took the choir to its pre-eminent position as one of the leading choirs of the region with a wide repertoire of mainstream choral works and rare performances of little known pieces such as Rossini´s Messa di Gloria and Puccini´s Requiem as well as performing world premieres such as the magnificent oratorio Song of Creation by Will Todd (for two orchestras, three choirs, three soloists & organ) and the brass band version with choir of Ring out wild bells by Robert Ramskill. As well as the Leicester Bach Choir, David Fisher has conducted other choirs and orchestras on the Continent including directing Emma Kirkby, James Gilchrist and Alan Ewing in Augsburg with the Batzdorfer Hofkapelle Orchester and the Michaelsteiner Kammerchor. When he retired, David Fisher took on the Musical Directorship of the Leicester Operatic Players for two seasons, conducting Camelot at the Little Theatre, Leicester, in March 2013 and Kiss me, Kate in 2014.

In other media work, David Fisher has appeared on BBC 1 & BBC 2, ITV, Radio 4 and several local radio stations as well as writing and presenting a documentary for BBC Radio Leicester. Despite being a classical composer he is yet to feature on Radio 3 although one of his pieces (with him singing on the track) appeared on Nick Grimshaw’s programme on Radio 1 and he has been a regular vox pop contributor on Radio 5 Live as well appearing on VH1 in New York City, USA. He was also interviewed by Fox News (appearing coast to coast in the States) and newspapers too for his unexpected and unplanned appearance in the sesquicentennial commemoration of Pickett´s Charge at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on July 3rd 2013. See the feature below for more information.

Neil Crutchley, Leicester Mercury, November 14th 2002 previewing his 50th birthday concert:

To some he is best known as a composer, to others he is an inspiring conductor and hundreds of his pupils he is a great teacher. However you know him, David Fisher is undoubtedly one of most accomplished and versatile musicians. He has been the Head of Performing Arts at King Edward VII College, Coalville, for many years, he was the conductor of the Derby Choral Union for eleven years and he is the founder and Musical Director [now the Conductor Emeritus] of Leicester-based Kingfisher Chorale. But it is as a composer that David Fisher is better known to the wider public. His compositions have been performed across the length and breadth of the country. He is in great demand because he knows how to connect with his audience and produces music people can relate to. This was recognised early in his career when he was commissioned to write a piece for the world-renowned Vienna Boys Choir. Since then, he has received many other commissions and has consolidated his reputation as a composer who produces music that is both challenging and of immediate appeal.

Will Todd [composer] writing in 2002:

David Fisher´s music combines a love of text with the desire to present the text in a dramatic way. His music flows out of the English choral mould but that is not to say he does not possess a distinctive and recognisable style of his own. His music is cleverly layered, allowing the music to move from areas of complex and dissonant harmony through to tranquil and beautiful passages of lush, romantic consonance, and it is this quality which makes his music enjoyable and memorable.

The late Peter Crump [composer & teacher] writing in 2002:

Music is an expression of feeling or it is nothing, and David has never been afraid to show his feelings in music. He wears his heart on his sleeve in that his effect is always calculated and always comes off. What cannot be denied is that his music always has style.



Here is a list of CDs which are conducted by David Fisher or which feature his music.

GETTYSBURG - a sesquicentennial commemoration

On July 3rd 2013, David Fisher was present at the exact commemoration of Pickett's Charge at the culmination of the Battle of Gettysburg. Read on...

CCA Composer of the Month – SEPTEMBER 2013

I should say that as editor of this Central Composers’ Alliance site, I have been amazed and delighted by my colleagues’ responses to the Composer of the Month feature. I hope that, you, if you are a...


"If you know when you have enough, you are wealthy; If you carry your intentions to completion, you are resolute; If you live a long & creative life, you will leave an eternal legacy" - Lao Tzu.


This is the detail from the programme of the Leicestershire Composers' Concert 23rd March 2002


Almost to the day ten years after this piece was written for Leicester, Derby and Coventry Cathedral Girls' Choir, the same choirs with the addition of the girls' choir of Southwell Minster performed...


1998 was Kingfisher Chorale's successful year in winning the Choir of the Day at the Royal Northern College of Music and singing on BBC2 in the semi-final of the hard-fought competition.