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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.

This page is still a work in progress

A - B - C - D - E - F - G - H - I - J - K - L - M - N - O - P - Q - R - S - T - U - V - W   *
Thomas Rolfe
Thomas Rolfe No names are available in the Rolls of St. George's Chapel, Windsor, from 1442 until Thomas Rolfe was paid that year 26s. 8d. as a Clerk, 20s. as Master of the Choristers, 13s. 4d. for playing the organ during the whole year, and a further 3s. 4d. for playing ad Missam Beatae Mariae Virginis. This last is an interesting detail, for it shows that the daily Mass of the Virgin was celebrated with music as well as the daily High Mass, and that independent remuneration was given to the Organist for the two Services. The Statutes of 1352 order that our Lady's Mass is to be said "cum nota" (with note) and the precise meaning of this has been the subject of different opinions. But this entry in the Windsor Rolls provides clear evidence that the phrase does denote a musical rendering, though of a less elaborate character than that employed at the High Mass.
In the 1463 Rolfe received 13s. 4d. for playing the organ in choro, meaning at High Mass, and 3s. 4d. for playing ad missam Beatae Mariae Virginis. Rolfe probably held office as Organist continuously till the year 1468-9.
Extract:- Organists And Masters Of The Choristers Of St. George's Chapel by E.H. Fellowes

Organist of
1461-69 & 1470-84
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George Robertson Sinclair
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Born at Croydon, October 28, 1862. Student at the Royal Irish Academy of Music. Chorister in, and afterwards Assistant-Organist at, St. Michael's College, Tenbury, Pupil of Dr. C. Harford Lloyd, and Assistant Organist of Gloucester Cathedral. Organist of St. Mary-le-Crypt, Gloucester, 1879; Truro Cathedral, 1881; Hereford Cathedral, 1889.
Conductor of the Hereford Festivals, Hereford Choral Society, Hereford Orchestral Society, Birmingham Festival Choral Society, Etc.
Died suddenly at Birmingham, February 7, 1917.
Composer of Church Music. Etc.
The new organ in Truro Cathedral, by Willis. was built under Dr. Sinclair's direction; and during his appointment at Hereford the sum of £2,300 was raised through his energy, and the Cathedral organ rebuilt (also by Willis) from his specification.
Organist of
John Silvester
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Organist of
Robert Stewart
16th Dec 1825 - 24th Mar 1894
Sir Robert Presscott Stewart was born in Dublin, December 16th 1825.
He was a Chorister in Christ Church Cathedral.
Organist of Christ Church Cathedral and Trinity College Chapel, 1844.
Organist of St. Patrick's Cathedral, 1852. Resigned the post of Organist, St. Patrick's Cathedral, 1861, in order to obtain a Vicar Choralship there, but the latter office was divided, and he only succeeded to one half. He still, however, played the Sunday afternoon services, by arrangement with his successor, Mr. Murphy, who on these occasions sang for Sir Robert in the choir.
Half Vicar Choral of St. Patrick's Cathedral, 1861. Professor of Music in Dublin University, 1862
Knighted 1872.
Died in Dublin, Easter Eve, March 24, 1894.
Composer of Odes, Cantatas, Church Music, Organ pieces, Songs, Glees, Etc.
Editor of and lecturer on music.
Organist of
Robert Presscott Stewart
Robert Stewart

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Edward Thompson
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Was previously a Chorister in Magdalen College, Oxford. and probably an articled pupil to his cousin, Thomas Hecht, the Organist there.
Organist of

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John Tomkins

Organist of
1606 - 1619 (21?)
1622 - 1638

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John Travers
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To be updated.
Organist of
James Turle
5th Mar 1802 - 28th Jun 1882
James Turle was born at Taunton, March 5, 1802.
Chorister in Wells Cathedral. Pupil of J. J. Goss and G. E. Williams.
Appointed Deputy-Organist at Westminster Abbey, 1819.
Music Master to the School for the Indigent Blind, 1829.
Succeeded
Greatorex
Thomas Greatorex
1758 - 18th Jul 1831
as Organist of Westminster Abbey, 1831.
Retired from active duties of the post. 1875.
Died in London, June 28, 1882. Buried in Norwood Cemetery.
Composer of Church Music, Glees, Etc.
Joint-Author, with E. Taylor, of "The Art of Singing at Sight. "
Editor of Willbye's First Set of Madrigals; Single and Double Chants, composed for the use of the Choral Service of Westminster Abbey.
Joint Editor, with Dr. J. F. (now Sir Frederick)
Bridge
Sir Frederick Bridge
5th Dec 1844 – 18th Mar 1924
, of the Westminster Abbey Chant Book, Etc. Compiler of Hymn and Chant Books, Etc.
On the day of Tune's retirement, September 19, 1875, his Service in D was sung at Westminster Abbey.
There is a memorial tablet to him in the West Cloister, and a window in the North Aisle of the Choir.

Organist of
Christ Church, Southwark, 1819;
St. James's, Bermondsey, 1829.
1831 - 1882

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Robert Turle
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Organist of
George Waterhouse
- Feb 1602

Organist of
? - ?
1588 - 1602

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Thomas Attwood Walmisley
21th Jan 1814 - 17th Jan 1856
Thomas Attwood Walmisley was born January 21st 1814 at Westminster.
Pupil of his father, Thomas Forbes Walmkley, and of his godfather, Thomas Attwood.
University Professor of Music, 1836, while he was still in residence for his B.A. degree. It is said that about this time he was playing the organ at as many as eight services every Sunday—twice at each of the following places: King's College, Trinity College, St. John's College, and the University Church.
Died at Caroline Place, Hastings, January 1st 1856.
Buried in Fairlight Churchyard.
Composer of Odes, Church Music, Organ pieces, Songs, Duets for Pianoforte and Oboe, Etc.
His Cathedral music was edited by his father, T. Forbes Walmisley.
Organist of
Croydon Parish Church ,1830
1821 - 1832
1833 - 1856
Thomas Attwood Walmisley
Thomas Attwood Walmisley

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Thomas Forbes Walmisley

Organist of
Thomas Forbes Walmisley
Thomas Forbes Walmisley

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John Wederby
between 1441 and 1442 John Wederby recieved full pay as a Clerk, and also 20s. pro modulatione in organis (for playing on the organ) at St. George's Chapel, Windsor. It is not possible to conjecture how long he may have held office, because both before and after this date the Rolls are silent as to names. But it is clear that, like Whitby and Dreweryn, he was definitely Organist of the Chapel.
Extract:- Organists And Masters Of The Choristers Of St. George's Chapel by E.H. Fellowes

Organist of
c.1441 - 1442
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S. S. Wesley
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Organist of
Walter Whitby
Walter Whitby The St. George's Chapel, Windsor, roll for 1406-7 is important as recording a new feature in the development of the Musical Services. For the first time in the history of the College an Organist is mentioned. Walter Whitby was not a Vicar, as were the Masters of the Choristers at this date, but was one of the Clerks. He received payment of 13s. 4d. in reward for playing on the organ at Divine Service (pro divinis in organis exequendis) at the instance of the Dean. The phraseology suggests that this payment was for some special work apart from the ordinary routine of the statutory Chapel Services.
Extract:- Organists And Masters Of The Choristers Of St. George's Chapel by E.H. Fellowes

Organist of
1406 - 1407

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Daniel Joseph Wood
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Organist of
Richard Wood
In 1496 Richard Wood received 20s. "Pro modulatione in organis", and a further sum of 13s. 4d. "in reward" from the Chapter of St. George's Chapel, Windsor, for playing the organ.
Extract:- Organists And Masters Of The Choristers Of St. George's Chapel by E.H. Fellowes

Organist of
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