The tenor who, after cancer, sang bass

The tenor who, after cancer, sang bass


norman lebrecht

January 07, 2014

We have been informed of the death of Clifford Hughes, a popular and adventurous artist who as once described as ‘Scotland’s foremost lyric tenor’.

Clifford Hughes-Skye-LP front sml


After singing with the Choir of King’s College Cambridge, he worked in both opera and oratorio until a long battle with cancer forced him to consider other options. He became a teacher, and a preacher – Minister of St Mary’s Parish Church, Haddington, from 1993. After surgery to remove his larynx in 2001, he retrained his voice with a valve implant and took to singing bass.

He lived a full life, against formidable odds.

Profile here.



  • Rob Cowan says:

    Same (or similar) with the great Danish tenor Aksel Schiøtz, who after throat surgery, became a (very good) baritone. There’s a CD of his singing An die ferne Geliebte – much better than I expected. Best. Rob Cowan.