Horace Hawkins (musician)

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Hawkins with the Choir of Chichester Cathedral, shortly before his retirement in 1958.

Horace Hawkins was appointed as organist and Master of the Choristers after Harvey Grace had left Chichester Cathedral. The Cathedral Chapter tried to entice the noted musical educator Geoffrey Shaw into the organist's seat, but it was not to be; after a long interregnum, they appointed Hawkins on his retirement from Hurstpierpoint College, where he had been organist for 22 years.

Hawkins held his position at Chichester for twenty years, before being succeeded by John Birch. One of Hawkins' Assistant Organists during this time was Anne Maddocks, whose appointment in 1942 marked the first time a woman held such a post in an English cathedral. (But see Winchester Cathedral: 1919, Hilda Bird.)

Hawkins had been a chorister at King Charles the Martyr Church, Tunbridge Wells, and articled to W. H. Sangster at St. Saviour's, Eastbourne. He was for a time, assistant organist at Winchester Cathedral; eight years at St Andrew's Church, Worthing, were followed by a spell in Paris. Hawkins studied with the Solesmes monks and took lessons with Widor (whose Ave verum, still sung by the Cathedral Choir, is dedicated to Hawkins), as well as being organist of St. George's Anglican Church.

Hawkins totally encompassed the French symphonic style of organ-playing and was noted for his improvisation and liturgical use of the organ. His compositions, which were never published, include a setting of the Te Deum for massed men's voices, four-part choir, brass and organ.[1]


Cultural offices
Preceded by
Harvey Grace
Organist and Master of the Choristers
of Chichester Cathedral

Succeeded by
John Birch