alt-J star and former Ely Cathedral boy chorister Gus returns to King’s Ely to speak at annual lecture

PUBLISHED: 09:20 16 October 2018

Gus Unger-Hamilton (right) pictured at King’s Ely with one of his former music teachers, Neil Porter-Thaw (left).

Gus Unger-Hamilton (right) pictured at King’s Ely with one of his former music teachers, Neil Porter-Thaw (left).


A former Ely Cathedral boy chorister who went on to become one third of the indie rock band alt-J returned to King’s Ely to give a talk.

Old Elean, Gus Unger-Hamilton spoke about his time at the school and his life and career so far at the annual James Bowman Lecture.

Gus is the keyboardist in the band, which was formed in 2007 whilst he was studying English at the University of Leeds.

Gus started his singing career at King’s Ely when he joined the school as an Ely Cathedral boy chorister.

The band’s debut album, An Awesome Wave, was released in 2012 and won the British Mercury Prize that year.

Their second album, This Is All Yours, was released two years later and went straight to UK number one.

In 2017, the band, currently playing as a trio, released their third studio album, Relaxer.

Sue Freestone, principal of King’s Ely, said: “It was great to welcome Gus back to his old school.

“It was lovely to see that fame has not gone to his head.”

The James Bowman Lecture was founded by King’s Ely four years ago to promote creative arts at the school, and is supported by the Old Eleans’ Club.

James Bowman, CBE, is a world-renowned counter-tenor, whose career spans opera, oratorio and solo recitals.

He was educated at King’s Ely between 1951 and 1960, singing as a boy chorister at Ely Cathedral, before going on to study at New College, Oxford, where he was a member of New College and Christ Church choirs.

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