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Records of the Cambridge University Madrigal Society, 1924 - 1970

Reference Code: GBR/0265/UA/SOC.XXII

Scope and Contents

The largest component of the archive is the collection of programmes for society concerts.


  • Creation: 1924 - 1970


Conditions Governing Access

From the Management Group:

The University Archives are generally freely available to the holder of a reader's ticket for the Manuscripts Reading Room at Cambridge University Library, West Road, Cambridge CB3 9DR. Restrictions on access are imposed on certain categories of sensitive record: financial, governmental and personal, by order of the originating body or under data protection legislation. Access information, including opening hours and how to obtain a reader's ticket, appears as part of the Library's web site (

Biographical / Historical

The society was founded in 1920 as the Cambridge University Opera Society by Bernhard (Boris) Ord (1897-1961), then an undergraduate at Corpus Christi College, and a small band of amateurs anxious to preserve the enthusiasm caused by the first performance at Cambridge in that year of Purcell's 'Fairy Queen'. It sang both operas and madrigals for its own amusement and changed its name to the Cambridge University Madrigal Society in 1924. Its first public performance, with Ord by then a Fellow of King's College as its conductor, was of Byrd's 'Great Service' in Little St Mary's church in 1924. From 1928, it sang annually in May Week on the river Cam. It gave concerts in Paris, Leiden, Berlin, Hamburg and London and made recordings. In 1958, when Boris Ord became too ill to conduct, he chose Raymond Leppard (b.1927, Trinity College, MA 1955) as his successor. On the departure from Cambridge of Leppard in 1968, the society was dissolved. The society should not be confused with the Cambridge University Opera Society established in 1966 and formerly known as the Cambridge University Opera Group, whose records 1972-95 are catalogued as UA SOC.XI.


0.5 linear metre(s) (0.5 metre) : paper and photograph

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

The records were transferred as a gift to the University Archives from the Rowe Music Library, King's College, on 18 December 2000 and 27 September 2001 by Dr Rosalind Moad, King's College archivist.

Related Materials

The papers of Boris Ord are in the Rowe Music Library, King's College, Cambridge.


This online catalogue was completed in August 2004 and emended in November 2007.


Cambridge University Madrigal Society

Finding aid date

2004-07-30 16:16:10+00:00

Repository Details

Part of the Cambridge University Library Repository

Cambridge University Library
West Road
Cambridge CB3 9DR United Kingdom