Organ and organists of Chester Cathedral

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The organ of Chester Cathedral

The organ of Chester Cathedral is the major source of instrumental music at the cathedral, being played for daily services and accompanying the choir, as well as being used for concerts and recitals. The choral tradition at Chester is 900 years old, dating from the foundation of the Bendedictine monastery.

The organists of Chester Cathedral have included the composers Robert White and Malcolm Boyle. The present Organist and Director of Music is Philip Rushforth and the Assistant Director of Music and Sub Organist is Andrew Wyatt; they are assisted by an Assistant Organist, Rachel Mahon.[1] There are lunchtime organ recitals weekly on Thursday.[2] The monthly program of music is available on the cathedral's website.[3]

Organ[edit]

In 1844, an organ by Gray & Davison of London was installed in the cathedral, replacing an instrument with parts dating back to 1626, possibly by Father Smith. The organ was rebuilt and enlarged by Whiteley Bros. of Chester in 1876, to include harmonic flutes and reeds by Cavaillé-Coll. It was later moved to its present position at the front of the north transept. In 1910 William Hill and Son of London extensively rebuilt and revoiced the organ, replacing the Cavaillé-Coll reeds with new pipes of their own. The choir division of the organ was enlarged and moved behind the choirstalls on the south side. The instrument was again overhauled by Rushworth and Dreaper of Liverpool in 1969, when a new mechanism and some new pipework made to a design by the organist, Roger Fisher, was installed. Since 1991 the organ has been in the care of David Wells of Liverpool.[4] The organ case is by Sir Gilbert Scott.[5]

Organists[edit]

Assistant organists[edit]

  • Mr. Munns 1857
  • Herbert Stephen Irons 1872 - 1876[7]
  • Joseph Cox Bridge 1876 - 1877 (then organist)
  • John Gumi ???? - 1890
  • John Thomas Hughes 1893 - 1925 (then organist)
  • Guillaume Ormond 1925 - 1926 (later organist of Truro Cathedral)[7]
  • James Roland Middleton 1934 - 1944 (later organist of Chelmsford Cathedral)[7]
  • George Guest 1944 - 1947
  • Brian Runnett 1955 - 1960
  • Peter Gilbert White 1960 - 1962
  • Harold Hullah 1962 - 1967
  • John Belcher 1967 - 1971
  • John Cooper Green 1971 - 1975
  • John Keys 1975 - 1978
  • Simon Russell 1978 - ????
  • Lee Ward ???? - 1989
  • Graham Eccles 1989 - 1998
  • Philip Stopford 2000 - 2003
  • Ian Roberts 2003-2011
  • Benjamin Chewter 2011 - 2016
  • Andrew Wyatt 2016-

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Music Staff". Chester Cathedral. Retrieved 28 February 2008.
  2. ^ "Organ Recitals". Chester Cathedral. Retrieved 28 February 2008.
  3. ^ "Music Scheme". Chester Cathedral. Retrieved 17 July 2008.
  4. ^ "The Organ". Chester Cathedral. Archived from the original on 16 January 2012. Retrieved 28 February 2008.
  5. ^ National Pipe Organ Register
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z Cathedral Organists. John E West. 1899
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i The Succession of Organists. Watkins Shaw. 1991