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Cathedral organ scholar lands top job

by Michael Ford last modified 28 Feb, 2020 07:24 PM

Salisbury Cathedral organ scholar Sam Bristow has landed a prestigious position at St Paul’s Cathedral, as the William and Irene Miller Organ Scholar.

He will take up his new post in September 2020, becoming one of 4 organists at the cathedral.

Prior to joining Salisbury Cathedral, Sam was Organ Scholar at Birmingham and Coventry Cathedrals. He graduated with first class honours from the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire in 2019.

Speaking about his appointment Sam said:

“It is an immense honour to have been appointed to the Organ Scholarship at St Paul’s Cathedral, and it will be a special opportunity to join the exceptional Music Department. I will relish the chance to play a part in the highly esteemed musical tradition at St Paul’s and will view every day as a unique opportunity to learn my craft to the very highest standard.”

Sam joined Salisbury Cathedral last September and follows in the footsteps of other organ scholars from Salisbury Cathedral, who have all gone on to secure prestigious posts in other cathedrals.

The Music department here has a particularly strong record. Last year, Alexander Palotai became Assistant Organist at Chester Cathedral. Dan Mathieson is currently Graduate Organ Assistant at Worcester College Oxford, Claudia Grinnell has been assistant organist at Winchester Cathedral since 2017, and Kris Thomsett is Assistant Director of Music at Newcastle Cathedral.

Assistant Director of Music and Salisbury Cathedral Organist John Challenger said:

“I am delighted that Sam has been appointed to such a prestigious role. Sam joins a long line of Salisbury organ scholars who have become highly distinguished cathedral musicians. Whilst it will be sad to say farewell to Sam at the end of this year, I am hugely pleased that he will be going to work in a place of such musical excellence.”

In welcoming Sam as the next Organ Scholar, Simon Johnson, Organist and Assistant Director of Music at St Paul’s Cathedral, said:

“Sam’s organ playing at audition was very impressive indeed and we are looking forward to welcoming him to the Music Department in September. He will join a long line of exceptional musicians who have held organ positions at the Cathedral.”

Sam will also get the opportunity to play the Cathedral’s famous Father Willis organ, which is to be returned to full service in April. The organ will be rededicated at Evensong on Easter Day, after a year of restoration and repair.

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