News & Editorial

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UK News

Durham Cathedral to admit day Choristers for the first time since 1906

Durham Cathedral Choristers

Durham Cathedral Choir offers a unique opportunity for children in school years 4 to 8 to immerse themselves fully in music making at a professional level within the context of a worshipping Christian community, whilst receiving a full-time all round education at The Chorister School. At present, all choristers are full boarders, but from September 2018, Durham Cathedral will admit girls and boys as day choristers for the first time since 1906 – enabling them to live at home whilst being a member of the Cathedral’s Choir.

Ian Wicks, Headmaster of The Chorister School says, “There are many benefits to choristership beyond the purely musical. Choristers work closely as a team alongside professional adult colleagues and many former choristers have gone on to be leaders in their chosen fields. Choirs also reinforce social tolerance and inclusion, and the health and cognitive benefits of singing and learning music are well known. This unique musical experience is gained alongside an education of the highest standard at The Chorister School, rated as excellent by the Independent Schools Inspectorate.”

Daniel Cook, Master of the Choristers and Organist of Durham Cathedral commented, “Durham Cathedral’s Choristers come from the North East region and from all over the UK. We take pride in being able to offer a unique and unparalleled musical education to children from near and far. Before 1906, local families were able to be part of the Cathedral Choir without boarding, and, building on our aspirations to offer choristerships to all, we are now delighted to be able to complement our current team of boarding choristers by opening up this opportunity of day choristerships to families who live close enough, enabling children to sing in the Cathedral Choir whilst continuing to live at home.”

Anyone interested in exploring this new initiative is encouraged to attend a forthcoming Chorister Experience event. Children in school years 2 to 5 will sing alongside Cathedral Choristers and find out about their life at Durham Cathedral and The Chorister School. The first event, held on Saturday February 24 is followed by Chorister Auditions on Saturday March 3 for girls and Saturday March 17 for boys. For more details, please contact Rebecca Dodd by emailing

Daniel Cook, Master of the Choristers and Organist of Durham Cathedral, is available throughout the year to meet prospective choristers and their families, to hold informal auditions and to give advice on the possibilities of choristership. Durham Cathedral Choir can be heard singing every day, except Monday, during school term-time and regularly gives . The Choir’s next solo concert will be a performance of Bach’s St John Passion on Sunday March 25 at 7pm in Durham Cathedral accompanied by the Avison Ensemble. On Saturday March 10, the Cathedral Choir joinS forces with students from Durham University for a concert of the music of Hubert Parry, the centenary of whose death falls this year.


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Steven Grahl appointed to Christ Church, Oxford

Steven Grahl, Director of Music at Peterborough Cathedral since 2014, will take up a new post at Christ Church, Oxford in September. Whilst at Peterborough he has helped cement the Cathedral’s music department as one of the country’s most respected training grounds for church musicians. He presided over the re-pitching of the Cathedral’s 5286-pipe Hill organ in 2015-16 and has collaborated on numerous music education projects in the city and diocese.

Steven’s new post as Organist at Christ Church, Oxford, is unique. As well as being Director of Music for the Cathedral and overseeing the Cathedral Choir, the post has significant academic roles in the Faculty of Music in the University, and for the College.

The Dean of Christ Church, The Very Revd Professor Martyn Percy, said: “I have worked with Steven for only the short time I have been at Peterborough, but I know from colleagues what a tremendous contribution he has made to the Cathedral. His skill as a musician and educator is evident in all he does and there is no doubt music in Peterborough has flourished under his tenure. We wish him all the very best in his new role.”

Steven Grahl said: “I am delighted and honoured to be appointed to Christ Church and to the Faculty of Music. The opportunity to continue Prof. Stephen Darlington's excellent work and to contribute as a scholar and teacher to the vibrant life of the university is a most exciting prospect. In many ways I am sorry to be leaving Peterborough Cathedral after four richly fulfilling years. My work here has been invigorating and formative, and I am immensely proud of the Cathedral Choir.”


Second annual Organ Marketplace at Royal Festival Hall

Southbank Centre is hosting the second annual Organ Marketplace on Monday, February 26, accompanying Daniel Cook’s evening recital in the Royal Festival Hall. The Marketplace will be located on the Level 2 Proms.

The timetable is:

  • 17.00 Event begins
  • 18.15 – 18-50 Pre-concert Talk in Royal Festival Hall with Daniel Cook (free)
  • 19.30 Recital.

It is hoped to repeat this event at the start of each recital season, in September each year, and there is to be an additional organ recital on Tuesday April 24 at 7.30pm by William Whitehead


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Guildford Triumphs at National Organ Competition

National Organ Competition juniors

Two students of the Royal Grammar School in Guildford won first prize and joint second prize at the London Organ Competition for teenagers organised by The Organ Club, held in December at St. Clement Danes Church in the Strand.

Nicholas Edwards from RGS Guildford obtained first prize in the Senior Section (ages 17-19). Joint second prize was awarded to Sam Jones of RGS Guildford and William Fielding of St Mary’s Cathedral Edinburgh.

The Junior Section was won by Daniel Baker of Harrow School with Jed Hughes from Hochschule Mendelssohn Leipzig, a Gloucestershire resident, in second place.

The Adjudicators were Simon Over, Music Director, St. Clement Danes, and Michael Butterfield, Organist and Assistant Director of Music at St. Mary’s Cathedral, Sydney. Sixteen candidates took part in the competition with an average age of 17; the performance standard was extremely high. The Third London Organ Competition at St Clement Danes is on December 27/28, 2018


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