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North of England

Durham Cathedral appoint new Master of the Choristers and Organist

todayMay 19, 2017 91

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He will succeed James Lancelot who retires in the summer, following a 32 year tenure in the position.  Daniel leaves Westminster Abbey where he is currently Sub-Organist and principal organist to the Abbey Choir and Assistant Director of Music to James O’Donnell.

Daniel has had a long association with Durham Cathedral having been taught the organ by former Durham Cathedral Sub-Organist Keith Wright in 1996 and 1997.   At this time he was a student at English Martyrs School and Sixth Form College Hartlepool, and sang in the Cathedral Consort of Singers, Durham Cathedral’s adult voluntary choir. 

The Very Reverend Andrew Tremlett, Dean of Durham says, “We are looking forward to Daniel taking up his appointment in the autumn and are delighted that a native North East musician of international standing is ‘coming home’.  The next few months will be poignant as the retirement of James Lancelot comes ever closer, but it is good to know that an outstanding successor has been found who will continue and build on the legacy of James.”

Daniel Cook says, “Having learnt to play the organ on the wonderful Harrison and Harrison organ of Durham Cathedral, it is a huge privilege and honour to come back as Master of the Choristers and Organist to Durham.  James Lancelot is a legendry musician with a huge reputation.  Succeeding him will be daunting but a challenge I am excited to take on.  I very much look forward to getting to know and working with the Cathedral musicians, clergy, staff and volunteers as well as returning to my native North East England.”

The Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr John Hall, says, “Although his time as Sub-Organist has been relatively brief, Daniel Cook has made a significant impact at the Abbey. He has been an exceptional accompanist for the Abbey Choir and recitalist and also a very fine conductor. We wish him well as he moves back to Durham and its wonderful cathedral and for him and Miriam and their family every joy and blessing.”

James Lancelot officially retires in August, with his final service leading Durham Cathedral Choir being Evensong on Sunday 16th July at 3.30pm.  The Cathedral Choir then takes a well-deserved break for the summer.   James will be joined by a number of the senior choristers, one of the choral scholars, that is a Durham University student who has sung with the Cathedral Choir whilst at Durham, and the Cathedral’s Organ Scholar Jonathan Allsop, also graduating from Durham University.  As they move to new horizons, a large congregation is expected with people coming from around the world, to bid farewell to James and wish him well.   Daniel takes up his position in the autumn.

Written by: Miriam Emenike

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