There are four pipe organs currently in York Minster. The Grand Organ which stands magnificently on the Quire screen is joined by three moveable instruments. The "Lincoln" Organ was built in 1810 and has four stops and is blown by foot. It usually stands at the east end of the south quire aisle. The Nave chamber organ also has four stops and was built in 1991 by Principal Pipe Organs. The Harrison & Harrison chamber organ was built in 2010 with three stops and stands in the Quire.
The main organ as it is seen today was completed in 1903 by the distinguished firm of J.W. Walker & Son incorporating some ranks from the earlier Hill instrument. In 1917, Harrison and Harrison partly renewed the Great organ chorus and added the famous Tuba Mirabilis stop facing into the Nave enhancing the bigger effects of the instrument. The organ was altered in 1960 and again in 1993 and is highly regarded for the quality of tone it produces in the acoustic of the Minster.
The organ is used daily for services and accompanying the choir. Visit the What's On for a complete listing of services and upcoming concerts.
Robert Sharpe, Director of Music
Robert Sharpe has been Director of Music at York Minster since September 2008 in succession to Philip Moore. He previously held positions at Truro Cathedral, Lichfield Cathedral, St Albans Abbey and Exeter College Oxford.
At the Minster, his work centres around the daily choral tradition and the two treble lines, one of boys the other of girls, both of which he directs and the famous Minster organ. He is responsible for organizing and directing all aspects of the Minster's music, as well as arranging its programme of concerts, broadcasts and tours.
In addition, he is a frequent and well-known organ recitalist and has performed in many of the major venues both in this country and abroad as well as enjoying more intimate surroundings. For further information, please visit his website.
Robert Sharpe has made many recordings as choral director and organist, which have been well-received by the critics. Robert Sharpe has conducted many of the major choral works with Three Spires Singers and Orchestra in Truro, and was Musical Director of York Musical Society.
In 2008, Sharpe was made an Honorary Fellow of the Guild of Church Musicians and awarded the 2008 Cornwhylen Cross by the Cornish Gorsedd for an "outstanding contribution to Church Music". He is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and the Royal College of Organists.
David Pipe, Assistant Director of Music
Born in London in 1983, David Pipe read Music at Cambridge University, later studying organ at the Royal Academy of Music having gained a postgraduate entrance scholarship. His organ teachers have included David Titterington, Susan Landale and Lionel Rogg. As Organ Scholar of Downing College, Cambridge, he directed and accompanied the Chapel Choir for services and concerts at home and abroad, passing the examination for Fellowship of the Royal College of Organists whilst still an undergraduate.
Whilst studying for a Master’s at the Royal Academy of Music, David Pipe was Organ Scholar and Director of the Merbecke Choir at Southwark Cathedral; he conducted the Merbecke Choir in front of a worldwide audience at the end of the Queen’s Christmas Message in 2006, and later led the first performance of a piece written for the group.
He performs regularly as an organ recitalist, accompanist and conductor. Recent recitals have been at the Cambridge Summer Music Festival and Westminster Abbey, as well as two tours to the USA. Since 2012, he has been Musical Director of York Musical Society.
Benjamin Morris is Organ Scholar at York Minster. In this role, he plays for services and accompanies the choir in the Minster’s daily cycle of music, and assists in the training of the boy and girl choristers. Prior to this, Ben was Organ Scholar and then Assistant Organist at Jesus College, Cambridge, where he read Music. During his time in Cambridge he appeared in services and concerts throughout the world, on national radio and on several CD recordings, and directed the College’s two choirs while the Director of Music was on sabbatical leave. Before starting university, Ben spent a year as Organ Scholar at Gloucester Cathedral.
With recent venues including Ely Cathedral, Huddersfield Town Hall, Kristiansand Cathedral (Norway) and the Buxton Festival, Ben is increasingly engaged as a soloist for recitals and other performances. He has performed as organ soloist under Sir Roger Norrington, Howard Shelley, and Stephen Cleobury, and has played organ and harpsichord continuo alongside His Majestys Sagbutts and Cornetts, The Saraband Consort and Britten Sinfonia. While at University, Ben conducted the College orchestra in works including Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor, and he conducted sell-out performances of Milhaud’s chamber opera, Le Pauvre Matelot.
He has studied organ with Gordon Stewart, David Briggs, Robert Houssart and Richard Pinel, and harpsichord at the Royal Academy of Music with Terence Charlston. He is a prizewinning Fellow of the Royal College of Organists.