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Directory of Past Classical Organists


Extract from Cathedral Organists Past and Present
By John E. West
Published in 1921
Additional information from the British Newspaper Archive.

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Thomas Greatorex
1758 - 18th Jul 1831
Thomas Greatorex was born at North Wingfield, Derbyshire, 1758. Son of Anthony Greatorex, Riber Hall, Matlock.
Pupil of Dr. B. Cooke.
Lived for some time with his patron, the Earl of Sandwich, at Hinchinbrook House, near Huntingdon.
Organist of Carlisle Cathedral, 1781. Resigned, 1784, and lived at Newcastle. Afterwards travelled in Italy. On his return to England was appointed Conductor of the Concerts of Ancient Music, in succession to Joah Bates.
For some years Conductor of the Birmingham and York Festivals.
He was also an eminent Mathematician and Astronomer. Fellow of the Royal and Linnæn Societies.
Died 1831. Buried in the West Cloister. Westminster Abbey.
At the time of his death (July, 1831), Westminster Abbey was being prepared for the Coronation of William IV. but, out of respect for Greatorex's memory, the Dean caused the coverings placed over the organ to be temporarily removed.
George IV., when Prince Regent, once said to Greatorex: "My Father is Rex, but you are a Greater Rex."

Organist of
1781 - 1784
1819 - 1831
Thomas Greatorex
Thomas Greatorex

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Maurice Greene
1696 - 1st Dec 1755
Maurice Greene was born in London, 1696.
Son of the Rev. Thomas Greene, Rector of St. Olave's Jewry.
Chorister in St. Paul's, and pupil of Richard Brind.
Professor of Music in the University of Cambridge, 1730.
Composer to the Chapel Royal, 1727.
Master of the King's Band, 1735.
Associated with
Michael Festing Michael Festing
29 November 1705 – 24 July 1752
English violinist and composer. His reputation lies mostly on his work as a violin virtuoso.
in the foundation of the Royal Society of Musicians.
For some time a friend of
George Frideric Handel,
George Frideric Handel
23 February 1685 – 14 April 1759
German, later British, Baroque composer who spent the bulk of his career in London, becoming well-known for his operas, oratorios, anthems, and organ concertos.
the latter frequently playing on the organ in St. Paul's, which instrument, it is said, greatly pleased him.
Greene is supposed to have acted as blower on some of these occasions.
Died December 1, 1755. Buried in St. Olave's, Old Jewry, London, of which his father was formerly Rector.
On the demolition of St. Olave's, Greene's remains were removed to St. Paul's and placed in the grave of Boyce, May 18, 1888.
Composer of Oratorios, Cantatas, an Opera, Odes, Songs, Catches, Organ and Harpsichord Music, a Service in C, and " Forty Select Anthems," 2 vols, (1743).
Commenced a collection of Church Music by various composers, which he gave to Dr. Boyce for completion just before his death.
Greene seems to have been a man of attractive and courteous manners, and a great favourite in society, notwithstanding the fact that he was physically deformed. Upon the death of an uncle-Sergeant Greene-he became possessed of a large estate in Essex, called
Bois Hall,
Bois Hall
Grade II listed


On Tuefday died at his Seat called Boys, near Ongar, in Effex, John Greene, Efq; Barrifter at Law. He died a Batchelor, and his Eftate defcends to Mr. Maurice Greene, Mafter of his Majefty's Band of Muficians, as Heir at Law.
Derby Mercury - Friday 17 January 1752
where it is said that he spent the greater part of his later years.
Organist of
St. Dunstan in the West, 1716;
St. Andrew's, Holborn, 1717.
1718 - 1755, and afterwards Vicar Choral of the same. 1727
organist Maurice Greene
Maurice Greene

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