Musicians ready to hit the high notes

Thursday 10 September

The start of the Autumn Term in the Cathedral Music Department is always a breath of fresh air and although things are very different now, due to COVID-19, this year is no exception.

There are four newcomers, recruited before lockdown for a September start, who have joined the team. We are delighted to introduce them to you here.

Chris Strange, Organist

You may have already heard Chris playing during services since taking up the full-time role as Cathedral Organist on 1st September. Born and raised in Cheshire, Chris studied at Chetham’s School of Music before moving to London to study at the Royal College of Music with Margaret Phillips and Sophie-Véronique Cauchefer-Choplin. 

Chris Strange, Cathedral OrganistIn 2018 he obtained the Fellowship of the Royal College of Organists winning all the available prizes and later in the same year graduated with a first class honours degree. He has held posts at Manchester Cathedral, Grosvenor Chapel, London and Chelmsford Cathedral. Most recently before moving to Peterborough, Chris was Assisting Organist at York Minster.

‘I am thrilled to be joining the team at Peterborough at a pivotal time as we start to re-introduce choral music into the worship of the Cathedral', he says. 'I hope to be able to highlight the organ alongside the choral music both in services and in other events. This term I am particularly looking forward to the build-up as we move towards the full choral offering for which Peterborough is renowned.’

Adam Hope, Head of Choral Development

Adam Hope, Head of Choral DevelopmentAdam brings a great deal of experience as a choral conductor, accompanist and music educator to this new, part-time post at the Cathedral. Alongside his Cathedral role, hHe is an Assistant Conductor and Musicianship coach for the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain, Visiting Head of Choral Music at St John’s Beaumont in Old Windsor, and organist at Dartford Parish Church. His other work includes choral training and singing lessons at the Junior Department of the Royal Academy of Music, and conductor of the London-based Hanover Choir. As an educator, Adam is a passionate advocate and practitioner of the Kodály method, and was awarded the British Kodály Academy’s Cecilia Vajda Memorial Scholarship in 2018.

He looks forward to getting started in his new role with ‘tremendous excitement’ and says:

‘This is a fantastic opportunity to contribute to the ongoing tradition of choral music at the Cathedral, and help shape the musical tradition to meet the challenges of today. I am really looking forward to meeting the choristers and hearing them sing – I’ve missed singing so much over the past months! To be a chorister is such an incredible opportunity for young people as they experience the music, art, and architecture of English cathedrals, and it will be a privilege to help guide them in their musical education.’

Imogen Morgan, Organ Scholar

Imogen Morgan, Organ ScholarImogen joins Peterborough Cathedral in the full-time role as Organ Scholar having completed her undergraduate degree in Music at Durham University. During this time, she was Senior Organ Scholar of Durham Cathedral, where she regularly accompanied and directed the Choir and led chorister rehearsals every day. She was also Senior Organ Scholar at University College, with whom she recorded Duruflé’s Requiem on their album ‘In Memoriam’, released by Priory Records in July 2020.

Imogen started learning the organ at the age of 10 while she was a chorister at Ripon Cathedral. She accompanied her first Evensong at the age of 14 before spending four years at St Catherine’s School, Bramley, as the Jennifer Bate Organ Scholar. She is an Associate of the Royal College of Organists and hopes to be a cathedral organist in the future; she is planning to begin postgraduate study in organ performance next year. During her time in Peterborough, she is looking forward to sharing music again and introducing a new group of probationers (children joining the choir) to church music. 

On Wednesday 16th September, at 7.30pm, on the  Durham Cathedral Facebook page, will be the première of a recital Imogen recorded there in August. The programme features music by Bach, Franck, Rheinberger and Howells. Don't miss it!

Andrew Hannaford, Bass Choral Scholar

Andrew Hannaford, Choral ScholarAndrew joins us as one of three Choral Scholars. He was first introduced to choral music at The Royal Grammar School, High Wycombe’s, where he sang in the school choir throughout his seven years their. He has just finished is A Level studies there, and is hugely excited to be spending a Gap Year at Peterborough Cathedral as a Bass Choral Scholar. After this he plans to move on and study Biochemistry at University. As well as singing, he also plays the clarinet and piano, and is a keen composer and arranger. He is also a dedicated swimmer and hopes to join the Peterborough City Swim Club whilst he’s here.

He says: ‘I am very grateful that I have still been able to join Peterborough Cathedral despite being in the midst of a global pandemic, and I believe that by working in the Cathedral Music Department during these unique circumstances I will gain invaluable skills in planning, preparation, and problem solving. I hope that my time at Peterborough will give me a good foundation to tackle choral singing at university, and further experience required to gain a cathedral Lay Clerkship once I graduate. I just love singing as part of a choir, and, this term, I’m really looking forward to participating in the Advent and Christmas services as part of such a talented choir.’

Director of Music, Tansy Castledine says:

‘This is a hugely exciting time for the Cathedral as we embark on a new academic year and welcome Chris, Adam, Imogen and Andrew to the Music team. The gradual re-instatement of our programme of choral worship has already begun, and I know that each of our new colleagues will bring distinction and character to their roles, helping us retain and build on our position as a centre of excellence for choral and organ music.

Chris, Adam, Imogen and Andrew will all be read-in to their new roles during the morning worship on Sunday 27th September, and as the term progresses, so we look forward to welcoming worshippers back to enjoy our programme of choral services, sung by the choristers, Choral Scholars, and Lay Clerk team.’

Find out more about the Cathedral Music Department.

In accordance with current Government guidelines, congregations may not sing yet, but a small choir may sing provided that adequate distancing is maintained. Please see paragraph 17 of the Church of England's guidance on public worship for more information.

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