Malcolm Archer

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Malcolm Archer (born 1952) is an English composer, conductor and organist. He combines this work with a recital career. Archer was formerly Organist and Director of Music at Wells Cathedral and at St Paul's Cathedral[1] and Director of Chapel Music at Winchester College. He married Alison (an artist and musician) in 1994, and they have a son (b.1997) and a daughter. (b.1999)

Education and early career[edit]

Malcolm Archer was educated at King Edward VII School, Lytham before studying at the Royal College of Music (as an RCO scholar). He was later organ scholar at Jesus College, Cambridge. His organ teachers include Ralph Downes, Gillian Weir, and Nicolas Kynaston and he studied composition with Herbert Sumsion and Alan Ridout.[1]

Later career[edit]

First posts[edit]

Malcolm Archer's first posts were at Norwich Cathedral as Assistant Organist (1978–1983), and Bristol Cathedral (1983–1990) leaving to spend time living and working in the US.

Wells Cathedral (1996–2004)[edit]

Archer was appointed Organist and Master of the Choristers at Wells Cathedral in 1996 where he directed and trained the Cathedral choir for its daily services in the Cathedral, as well as being the Musical Director for Wells Cathedral Oratorio Society. In April 2000 he and choir members participated in a tour to North America, which included concerts in Ottawa, Ontario; Albany, New York; Richmond, Virginia; Lancaster, Pennsylvania; Washington, DC; Lancaster, Ohio; Chicago, Illinois; St. Paul, Minnesota; Chattanooga, Tennessee and Augusta, Georgia. He has made several recordings with the choir to critical acclaim, recording with the labels Hyperion and Lammas.

St Paul's Cathedral (2004–2007)[edit]

Malcolm Archer took over as organist and Director of Music at St Paul's from John Scott in 2004. He directed the choir for several important state services, including the service to celebrate the 80th birthday of HM the Queen, for which he composed a special anthem.

Winchester College (2007–2018)[edit]

In August 2007 he took up a position as Director of Chapel Music and Organist at Winchester College, where he was in charge of the Winchester College Chapel Choir and the College Quiristers as well as teaching composition and the organ. Important recordings with the choir include Stanford's choral music, Britten's A Ceremony of Carols, Three Wings (Warner Classics) and Mozart's Requiem, accompanied by the London Mozart Players. Malcolm Archer moved from Winchester College in 2018 to pursue his career as a choral and orchestral conductor and composer. Asked in a recent interview about his College choir, he commented that: “They are equally as good as any of the choirs I’ve worked with, and one of the great privileges for me is to be able to work with talented young musicians and see them achieve fantastic standards of choral singing. Most of our older boys in the choir, our altos, tenors and basses, are in the sixth form and a good number of them will go on to choral scholarships at Oxford and Cambridge, in choirs such as King’s College Cambridge, St John’s College Cambridge and the fine Oxford choirs’’.[2]


'Malcolm Archer's talent for writing for voices is legendary. His are marvellously singable melodies with a fine sense of rhythm and an organ part which really helps the singers.'[3] He has 'a fine ear for choral sonority, an admirable sensitivity to words, and a genuine and distinctive melodic voice. His harmonic language is accessible and traditional (in the best sense of the word) but it is never bland. Above all, I think, his music conveys a genuine atmosphere and uplifts the listener.'[4]

Archer's major works include ‘Requiem’, ‘Vespers’, ‘Three Psalms of David’, ‘The Coming of the Kingdom’, the musical, ‘Walter and the Pigeons’, the one-act opera, ‘George and the Dragon’, ‘Sinfonietta’ for orchestra, ‘Concerto for Trumpet and Strings’ and ‘Sonata for Cello and Piano’.

He has over 250 published compositions, and he is published by Oxford University Press and RSCM Publications amongst other companies. His choral works include:[1]

  • A Hymn to the Virgin
  • A Hymn to St Cecilia
  • Alleluia, Who Is This Who Comes in Triumph?
  • A New Commandment
  • At the Round Earth's Imagined Corners
  • Ave Verum Corpus
  • Before the End of the Day
  • Bless the Lord
  • Blessed Are the Pure in Heart
  • Bread of Heaven On thee We Feed
  • Brightest and Best
  • Christ Be Beside Me
  • Christ Is Our Cornerstone
  • Christ Who Knows
  • Christ Whose Glory Fills the Skies
  • Come My Way
  • Creator of the Stars of Night
  • Dance My Heart
  • Exsultet
  • Give Us the Wings
  • God Be in My Head
  • God Who Made the Earth
  • Holy Is the True Light
  • How Like an Angel
  • Hymn to the Holy Spirit
  • Jesu My Truth My Way
  • Jubilate Deo
  • Judge Eternal
  • Lead Kindly Light
  • Let All the World
  • Light's Abode Celestial Salem
  • Little Lamb Who Made thee
  • Lord of All
  • Lord of All Hopefulness
  • Love Bade Me Welcome
  • Love Is Not Feeling
  • Love's Redeeming Work Is Done
  • Missa Omnes Sancti
  • O Breath of God
  • O Clap Your Hands
  • O Praise God in His Holiness
  • O Sacrum Convivium
  • O Salutaris
  • Pie Jesu
  • Praise to the Lord the Almighty
  • Rejoice the Lord Is King
  • Set Me as a Seal
  • Sing Praise and Thanksgiving
  • Sweet Music Sweeter Far
  • Tantum Ergo
  • The Lord's My Shepherd
  • There Is No Rose
  • Thou God of Truth
  • When I Survey
  • Who Is This Who Comes?
  • Ye Choirs of New Jerusalem


  1. ^ a b c Matthews, Anya. "St. Pauls Cathedral – New Organist and Director of Music". Archived from the original on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 18 April 2007.
  2. ^ "News. The Organ magazine". Retrieved 5 October 2018.
  3. ^ "Anthems of Malcolm Archer (SATB Singer's Edi | J.W. Pepper Sheet Music". Retrieved 20 July 2019.
  4. ^ "Malcolm ARCHER: Cathedral Music LAMM 165D [JQ]: Classical CD Reviews- March 2004 MusicWeb(UK)". Retrieved 20 July 2019.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
John Scott
Organist and Director of Music, St Paul's Cathedral
Succeeded by
Andrew Carwood