The Dean of St. Albans, The Very Reverend Dr Jeffrey John
Dr. Jeffrey John was born in Tonyrefail in South Wales in 1953. He studied at Hertford College, Oxford, where he gained a first in classics and modern languages in 1975. After reading Theology at St. Stephen’s House, Oxford, he served his first Curacy at Penarth, in the Diocese of Llandaff.
He returned to Oxford in 1980 to read for a doctorate in Pauline theology. In 1984 he was appointed to a Fellowship as Dean of Divinity at Magdalen. In 1991 he became Vicar of Holy Trinity, Eltham in Southwark Diocese. Dean John’s previous post was as Canon Chancellor and Bishop’s Adviser for Ministry in the Diocese of Southwark.
Dr. John’s interests include learning and reading European languages.
Dr Peter Hurford OBE
Born on St. Cecilia’s Day 1930, Peter Hurford studied at the Royal College of Music before moving to Jesus’ College Cambridge in 1949 where he was organ scholar until 1953 and from where he graduated in music and law. Peter undertook National Service as an officer in the Royal Signals from 1954 to 1956 after which he became Organist at Holy Trinity Church, Leamington Spa.
In 1955 he married Patricia Matthews. Their two sons Michael and Richard were both Woollam’s Scholars in the Cathedral Choir; Michael also became Head Chorister. Heather, their daughter, was unable to sing at the Cathedral as there was no Abbey Girls’ choir at the time.
While Master of the Music at St. Alban’s Cathedral, from which he retired in 1978 after 21 years’ service, he raised the standard of the Choir to be comparable with the best Cathedral and Collegiate choirs in the UK. Peter also initiated the famous “Choir Camp” at Luccombe and in 1958 he brought together many parish church choirs from Herts and Beds for the first Biennial Diocesan Choirs’ Festival.
In 1963, Peter founded the International Organ Festival and was Artistic Director until 1978. He had been President ever since. Peter Hurford’s recital career spanned 41 years and he was one of the most recorded instrumentalists of the past twenty years. As a freelance organist from 1978 until 1998 he became particularly well known for his interpretation of Bach’s complete organ music and in 1988 he published his book ‘Making music on the organ’.
In 1997 his career culminated with 15 concerts of Bach Organ Works at the 50th Edinburgh Festival.
From 1980 to 1982 Peter was President of the Royal College of Organists and Visiting Artist-in-Residence to Sydney Opera House. He was an Honorary Member of the Royal Academy of Music, an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Music and of the Royal School of Church Music.
In 1984, Peter was honoured with the OBE and in November 2007 he was conferred with an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Hertfordshire, his third.
Peter sadly passed away on 3rd March 2019.
Andrew Lucas has been the Master of the Music at the Cathedral and Abbey Church of St Alban since 1998. His career began St Paul’s Cathedral in 1980 as organ student and he became subsequently Assistant Sub-Organist (1985) and Sub-Organist and Assistant Director of Music (1990–1998).
Born in Wellington, Shropshire in 1958, Andrew studied organ at the Royal College of Music with John Birch, and composition with Herbert Howells. He graduated with a BMus from the University of London and continued his organ studies after college with Peter Hurford. The award of the W T Best Scholarship from the Worshipful Company of Musicians then enabled him to study with Piet Kee at the Sweelinck Conservatoire, Amsterdam.
As an organ soloist he plays concerts throughout the UK and has given recitals in Norway, Sweden, Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Australia, Bermuda and the USA. In 1997 he spent three months on sabbatical as Organist and Master of the Choristers at St Andrew’s Cathedral in Sydney, Australia.
As conductor, Andrew has been Chorus Master of the London Concert Choir, Assistant Conductor of the City of London Choir and deputy chorus master with the Royal Choral Society, the Brighton Festival Chorus, the Academy of St Martin’s-in-the-Fields Chorus and the Philharmonia Chorus. In 2007, he directed the annual Choir Directors’ Course at St Thomas Church, Fifth Avenue, New York.
Since Andrew took up his position as Master of the Music the Cathedral Choir has toured Sweden, France, The Netherlands, Rome and the Eastern seaboard of the USA, made several broadcasts (including Choral Evensong on Radio 3 and morning service on ITV) and sung at the late Queen Mother’s 100th birthday celebrations.
Andrew was made an Honorary Fellow of the Guild of Church Musicians in 2006.
Dr Barry Rose OBE
Born in Chingford, East London, Barry Rose grew up playing hymns on the piano at his local Sunday school and later accompanying the choir on the harmonium at the mission church of St Anne’s Chingford Hatch. Leaving the Sir George Monoux Grammar School, Walthamstow, at the age of 16, he set out on a career in commerce, working in the insurance departments of W.H.Smith and Joseph Rank Ltd.
In 1956 he joined Martindale Sidwell’s choir at Hampstead Parish Church as a bass, going on from there two years later to become organist and choirmaster at St Andrew’s Church, Kingsbury, North West London. It was while he was at Kingsbury that he decided to leave the world of commerce, and despite not having any of the required qualifications for entry, the principal (Sir Thomas Armstrong) offered him a place at the Royal Academy of Music to study organ with C. H. Trevor. In April 1960, whilst still an unqualified academy student, at the age of 25 he became the then youngest cathedral organist in the country when he was appointed as the first Organist & Master of the Choristers at the new Guildford Cathedral. At Guildford he founded a choir to sing the daily services, their first public appearance being the service of consecration on 17 May 1961 in the presence of the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and other members of the Royal family. Just four years later, his new choir was ‘discovered’ by EMI, and through the enthusiasm and commitment of producer Brian Culverhouse, they made several best-selling recordings in the Cathedral.
In 1974, Barry was invited to move to St Paul’s Cathedral, initially as sub-organist, and in 1977 was appointed to the specially created post of Master of the Choir. He took over those duties at the Silver Jubilee Service for HM Queen Elizabeth on 3 June 1977, for which he wrote a setting of Psalm 121 and from then on directed the choir in their daily Worship Services, several State occasions, as well as a highly successful visit to USA & Canada in June, 1980.
After leaving St Paul’s in 1984, he became Master of the Choirs at the King’s School, Canterbury before being appointed as Master of the Music at St Albans Cathedral in 1988 from which he retired on 25 December 1997.
From 1971 to 1990, he was Religious Music Adviser to the BBC’s Head of Religious Broadcasting in succession to George Thalben Ball.
He was appointed OBE in 1998 for his services to cathedral music.
Dr Colin Walsh
During his career, Colin Walsh has always been associated with long established choral foundations. He has been Assistant Organist at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, and Salisbury Cathedral, and was Master of the Music at St. Albans before being appointed Organist of Lincoln Cathedral. Since January 2003 he has been Organist Laureate at Lincoln (where he presides over the fine Father Willis organ) and plays regularly for the Cathedral’s services. He has served as a Council Member of the Royal College of Organists and is a visiting organ teacher at the University of Cambridge.
His teachers have included Simon Preston, Nicholas Danby and Jean Langlais. His three year studies in France with Jean Langlais at St Clotilde inspired him to specialise in French symphonic and modern music, in particular the works of Franck, Vierne and Langlais. This has brought him wide acclaim throughout the world. In 1988 he played Messiaen in front of the composer himself.
He has played many recitals in the UK including two at the Royal Festival Hall and widely around the world. In 2006 he toured New Zealand as European artist of the Organists’ Congress and has recently given concerts in the Svetlanov Hall, Moscow, Cologne Cathedral, Notre Dame de Paris, Saint Sulpice and the Hong Kong Cultural Centre. He recently appeared as organ soloist in the BBC Radio 3 ‘Live in Concert’ series. His many recordings on the Priory label include two early recitals of modern French music from Salisbury, Vierne and Duruflé from St Albans and Vierne from Lincoln.
He holds an honorary doctorate from Lincoln University.
Dr Stephen Darlington
After attending King’s School, Worcester, Stephen Darlington became Organ Scholar at Christ Church, Oxford, studying under Simon Preston. In 1974, he was appointed Assistant Organist at Canterbury Cathedral, where he stayed for four years before being appointed as Master of the Music at St Albans Cathedral in 1978, where he was also music director of the International Organ Festival.
In 1985, Darlington returned to Christ Church as organist and tutor in music, holding the post for 33 years until September 2018.
He has travelled worldwide both with the choir and as an organist and conductor, directing, among others, the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, London Mozart Players, English Chamber Orchestra, Northern Sinfonia, Hanover Band, English String Orchestra and London Musici. Christ Church choir have sung under his direction with Plácido Domingo, José Carreras, James Bowman and others. He has also collaborated with contemporary composers including John Tavener and Howard Goodall and was featured in Goodall’s ChoirWorks and OrganWorks series.
Darlington was Choragus of the University of Oxford and is the holder of a Lambeth Doctorate.
He was appointed a MBE in 2019 for services to Music.
Honorary Life Members
Anthony & Rosalind de Rivaz
Dr Simon Lindley
Simon Preston CBE