Andrew Gant

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Andrew John Gant (born 6 August 1963)[1] is a British composer, singer, author, teacher and Liberal Democrat politician. He was organist, choirmaster and composer at Her Majesty's Chapel Royal from 2000 to 2013, and has published several books on musical subjects.[2]

Gant is leader of the Liberal Democrat group on Oxford City Council and a member of Oxfordshire County Council. He was the party's parliamentary candidate for The Cotswolds constituency at the 2017 general election and for the Staffordshire Moorlands constituency at the 2019 general election.


Gant attended Radley College before going on to read music and English at St John's College, Cambridge. He was a choral scholar and sang in the college choir under George Guest. He subsequently studied composition with Paul Patterson at the Royal Academy of Music and completed his PhD at Goldsmiths College, University of London.[2]

Musical career[edit]

Gant is Stipendiary Lecturer in Music at St Peter's College, Oxford,[2] and held the same position at St Edmund Hall, Oxford, until 2014. He is an experienced singer, having sung with most of the United Kingdom's leading choirs and vocal ensembles, including The Sixteen, the Monteverdi Choir, the Cambridge Singers and the Tallis Scholars. He was first tenor and one of the principal arrangers for the six-man vocal sextet The Light Blues, with whom he toured and performed in the US, Africa, Israel and across Europe. He has held posts as a church musician at Westminster Abbey, Selwyn College, Cambridge, the Royal Military Chapel (the Guards' Chapel) and Worcester College, Oxford. In September 2000 he was appointed Organist, Choirmaster and Composer at Her Majesty's Chapels Royal and held the post until August 2013.[2] He led the Chapel Royal choir at, among many other events, the funeral of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, the Golden Jubilee service at St Paul's Cathedral in 2002, the Diamond Jubiliee service in 2012 (also at St Paul's Cathedral), the tenth anniversary service for the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton in 2011, the annual Remembrance Day parade at the Cenotaph and the annual Royal Maundy service, in addition to the regular services held in the chapels of St James's Palace and Kensington Palace. The annual tradition of Christmas carols performed for the royal household in the ballroom of Buckingham Palace and broadcast on Classic FM began during his tenure. During the summer of 2002 he was featured in a BBC Radio 4 documentary.

Gant set the text of the Poet Laureate Andrew Motion to music, creating A Hymn for the Golden Jubilee as part of the 2002 jubilee celebrations, at the request of the Lord Chamberlain's Office at Buckingham Palace. The piece was sung in many places across the world, including at the National Cathedral of Canada, by the Royal School of Church Music in Australia, and to Queen Elizabeth II in a concert at Windsor Castle. It was also featured on the official jubilee CD produced by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the Choir of St Paul's Cathedral. This recording was broadcast on BBC Radio 2, 3 and 4, and on Classic FM, where it featured high in the classical music charts.

Other compositions include "The Vision of Piers Plowman", an oratorio for the 2002 Three Choirs Festival, "A British Symphony", premiered by the Philharmonia in 2007, "May we borrow your husband?" an a cappella opera, "Don't go down the Elephant after midnight", an opera for soprano Patricia Rozario, a song-cycle for counter-tenor James Bowman, works for choir including the Christmas carols "What Child is This?" and "The Blessed Son of God", and arrangements such as "Still, Still, Still". His opera for young people, "Tod!", based on the life and work of Beatrix Potter, was commissioned by Cromarty Youth Opera and premiered by them, conducted by Edward Caswell, in August 2018.

Writing career[edit]

Gant has appeared at literary festivals across the United Kingdom and further afield, as well as on national television and radio. His association with Profile Books began in 2013 and he is the author of several books on music:

  • Christmas Carols: From Village Green to Church Choir (2014)[3]
  • O Sing Unto the Lord: A History of English Church Music (2015)[4]
  • Music: Ideas in Profile (2017)
  • Johann Sebastian Bach: A Very Brief History (2018)
  • The Making of Handel's Messiah (2020)
  • Five Straight Lines: A History of Music (2021)

Political career[edit]

At the May 2014 Oxford City Council election, Gant was elected as Liberal Democrat councillor for the Summertown ward.[5] He was re-elected at the May 2016 election[6] and took over as leader of the Lib Dem group and leader of the opposition.[7] He has served on a number of council committees, including as Chair of the Scrutiny Committee from May 2016 to May 2021. He also chaired the Scrutiny Panel of the Future Oxfordshire Partnership, a body comprising councillors from all six councils within Oxfordshire. He stood unsuccessfully for the parliamentary constituency of The Cotswolds at the 2017 general election.[8] In December 2019 he was his party's candidate for the Staffordshire Moorlands constituency in the general election. In May 2021 he was re-elected to Oxford City Council for Cutteslowe and Sunnymead, a new ward following boundary changes, and was elected to Oxfordshire County Council to represent Wolvercote and Summertown division.[9][10]


  1. ^ "Gant, Andrew John". Who's Who. A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. 2019. doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.U43512. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  2. ^ a b c d St Peter’s College, University of Oxford: Dr. Andrew Gant. Retrieved 13 April 2021.
  3. ^ “Christmas Carols by Andrew Gant review – surprising stories of how seasonal songs came to be”, The Guardian (17 December 2014)]. Retrieved 13 April 2021.
  4. ^ “O Sing Unto the Lord by Andrew Gant review – drunken organists and rebellious priests”, The Guardian (4 November 2015)]. Retrieved 13 April 2021.
  5. ^ "Election of city councillors for the wards of Oxford City Council: summary of results" (PDF). Oxford: the Returning Officer. 19 June 2014. Retrieved 5 May 2018.
  6. ^ "Election of city councillors for the wards of [sic]: summary of results" (PDF). Oxford: Elections Office. 28 June 2016. Retrieved 5 May 2018.
  7. ^ Oliver, Matt (10 May 2016). "Lib Dems elect Andrew Gant as new group leader on Oxford City Council". Oxford Mail. Retrieved 5 May 2018.
  8. ^ Tabor, Andrew. "Declaration of result of poll: UK parliamentary election, The Cotswolds constituency, Thursday 8 June 2017". {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |url= (help)
  9. ^ (PDF). Cirencester: the Acting Returning Officer. 24 March 2019 Retrieved 5 May 2018. {{cite news}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  10. ^ Merrifield, Ryan (25 May 2016). "Lib Dem Cotswold parliamentary hopeful Andrew Gant promises to be 'realistic and practical' if elected". Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard. Retrieved 5 May 2018.
Cultural offices
Preceded by Organist, Composer and Master of the Children of the Chapel Royal
Succeeded by