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Summer Organ Recitals

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Join six internationally renowned musicians for a series of summer organ recitals at York Minster.

Last year saw the return of recitals to the cathedral following the Grand Organ’s once-in-a-century refurbishment.

The summer recitals will take place on Thursday evenings in York Minster’s awe-inspiring Nave with world class organists including award-winning performer John Scott Whiteley, Organist Emeritus of York Minster; Katherine Dienes-Williams, the first ever female President of the Cathedral Organists’ Association and the first woman to hold the most senior musical post in a Church of England cathedral; Robert Quinney, Associate Professor, Organist and Tutorial Fellow in Music at the University of Oxford; and experienced cathedral musician Colin Walsh

Accomplished soloists from York Minster’s own acclaimed Music Team – Robert Sharpe, Director of Music, and Benjamin Morris, Assistant Director of Music, ­– complete the line-up.

Tickets for the recitals are available now priced at £12, with a combined season ticket price of £60 for all six recitals. A concession ticket for under-27s priced at £5 is also available. Tickets can also be booked by calling our Box Office on 01904 557200.


Organist and programme details:

Thursday 20 July John Scott Whiteley

John Scott Whiteley is Organist Emeritus of York Minster and Organist of Hull City Hall. During the past twenty years he has become known for his performances on BBC2 and BBC4.

After studying with Ralph Downes, Fernando Germani and Flor Peeters, he won the 1976 National Organ Competition of Great Britain. He has given recitals at the Royal Festival Hall, Symphony Hall, Notre-Dame-de-Paris, St Petersburg Mariinsky and for international festivals in Belgium, Germany, Italy, Poland, Switzerland, Russia and the UK. For over twenty years he toured the USA. Recent recital programmes have included a new Toccata by Sir James MacMillan, commissioned for John to play at the 2019 Three Choirs Festival.

John has made five DVDs and fifty-three CDs, including Great Romantic Organ Music, which appeared for eight years in the Penguin Good CD Guide. He has recently recorded the complete Trio Sonatas of J. S. Bach for Fugue State Films.

John has composed 25 works for organ and 17 church compositions. He has written articles about Bach for The Organ Yearbook, The RCO Journal, the Bach-Jahrbuch and a forthcoming Routledge anthology. He is a contributor to Grove’s Dictionary, an editor of the Journal of the British Institute of Organ Studies and a Consulting Editor for OUP.

John’s programme: 


Thursday 27 July Benjamin Morris

Benjamin Morris is Assistant Director of Music at York Minster. In this role, he plays for services and accompanies the choir in the Minster’s daily cycle of music, in concerts, tours, recordings and broadcasts, and assists in the training of the boy and girl choristers.

Prior to this, he was Organ Scholar and then Assistant Organist at Jesus College, Cambridge, graduating with First-class honours in Music. Before starting university, Ben spent a year as Organ Scholar at Gloucester Cathedral.

With recent venues including Sage Gateshead, Selby Abbey, Leeds Town Hall and Westminster Cathedral, Ben is active as a soloist for recitals and other performances. He has performed as organ soloist under Sir Roger Norrington, Howard Shelley, Paul McCreesh, and Sir Stephen Cleobury, and has played organ and harpsichord continuo alongside His Majestys Sagbutts and Cornetts, The Saraband Consort and Britten Sinfonia. He is a prizewinning Fellow of the Royal College of Organists.

Benjamin’s programme: 


Thursday 3 August Katherine Dienes-Williams

Katherine Dienes-Williams was appointed Organist and Master of the Choristers at Guildford Cathedral in January 2008, the first ever female appointed to such a post in the Church of England, following six years as Director of Music at the Collegiate Church of St. Mary, Warwick. In May 2022 she was voted the first ever female President of the Cathedral Organists’ Association.

Katherine was born and educated in New Zealand and was Organ Scholar at Wellington Cathedral when she was appointed Assistant Organist. In 1991 she took up the post of Organ Scholar at Winchester Cathedral and Assistant Organist at Winchester College. She has also held posts as Organist and Assistant Director of Music at the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King, Liverpool, Assistant Organist and Director of the Cathedral Girls’ Choir at Norwich Cathedral, and Director of Music at the Collegiate Church of St. Mary, Warwick.

She is a Council member of the Royal College of Organists, a trustee of the Organists Charitable trust and the Young Organ Scholars’ Trust and is a regular guest choral workshop leader in the UK, South Africa, the USA, Canada, Australia and several European countries. Katherine has given organ recitals in the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Germany, USA, Bermuda, the Netherlands, South Africa, Australia, Spain, and Singapore. She has performed with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, the Hallé, the City of London Sinfonia, Southern Pro Musica and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. In 2018 she performed the Saint-Saëns Organ Symphony in with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and with Southern Pro Musica. She is an active composer, having received commissions in the UK, the USA, and New Zealand.

Katherine holds a Master of Arts in Music and Liturgy from Leeds University. She features both as organist and choral conductor on several recordings. She has twice directed the St. Thomas’ girl choristers’ course in New York and has co-directed a Rodolfus Foundation junior choral course. She is a Knight of the Grand Order of Vitéz and a Knight of the Order of St. Ladislau.

Katherine’s programme: 


Thursday 10 August Robert Quinney 

Robert Quinney was born in Nottingham, UK, and began his musical life as a chorister, initially in Dundee Cathedral Choir. He began playing the organ at the age of ten, and was subsequently Organ Scholar at King’s College, Cambridge, where he completed his undergraduate and graduate studies.

A performing career took him to London, working first at Westminster Cathedral and for nine years as Sub-Organist at Westminster Abbey, during which time he performed at several national and international events. After a short period as Director of Music at Peterborough Cathedral he moved to Oxford in 2014. He directs the world-famous Choir of New College, Oxford, where he is also a Tutorial Fellow in Music. In the faculty of music he gives lectures for the Techniques of Composition and Choral Performance papers, and has taught on the subject of keyboard music of J. S. Bach.

Alongside his work at Oxford he maintains a busy schedule as a solo organist, and makes frequent appearances as a guest conductor, notably with the BBC Singers. He is also Director of the Edington Festival of Music within the Liturgy.

Robert’s programme: 


Thursday 17 August Colin Walsh

Colin Walsh’s association with cathedral music goes back nearly fifty years. He has served, in various capacities, St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, Christ Church, Oxford (where he studied with Simon Preston and Nicholas Danby), Salisbury Cathedral (as assistant to Richard Seal) and St Albans Cathedral. He went to Lincoln Cathedral in 1988 as Organist and Master of the Choristers, becoming Organist Laureate in 2003 and Organist Emeritus in 2021.

As an organ recitalist he has played across the UK, most European countries, the USA, Australasia, Hong Kong and Russia. His studies in Paris with Jean Langlais inspired him to specialise in 19th and 20th century French organ music. His recordings as a choral conductor, accompanist and soloist number over forty over many years and various labels.

He teaches in Cambridge and elsewhere and is an honorary Doctor of Music from the University of Lincoln.

Colin’s programme:


Thursday 24 August Robert Sharpe

Robert Sharpe has been Director of Music at York Minster since September 2008, having previously held posts at Truro Cathedral, Lichfield Cathedral, St Albans Abbey and Exeter College, Oxford.

His work centres around the daily choral tradition of York Minster with its two treble lines of boys and girls, both of which he trains, and in addition he performs frequently as an organ soloist and accompanist, having played in many parts of Europe and the USA as well as at major venues in the UK.

He has made numerous recordings with the choirs of Truro and York, all of which have received acclaim in the musical press.

Robert’s programme:


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