The Master of the Choristers
The Master of the Choristers is David Stevens. He trains and rehearses the choir, and is its principal conductor.
David is a prize-winning graduate of the Choral Conducting course at the Royal Academy of Music in London. He studied with Patrick Russill and Paul Brough, and graduated with an MA with Distinction in 2009. Before that, David read Music and was Organ Scholar at Oriel College, Oxford.
David has been Organ Scholar and Acting Sub-Organist at Guildford Cathedral, and immediately before coming to Belfast, Director of the Girls Choir and Sub-Organist at Newcastle Cathedral.
He teaches Choral Conducting to students at Oxford and Durham Universities, and continues his own organ studies with Dame Gillian Weir.
The Organist is Ian Barber FRCO (CHM) GRSM ARCM LST. A son of The Ven. Eric S. Barber, Vicar of Holywood, Ian Barber was educated at Campbell College, Belfast, The Royal School of Church Music and The Royal College of Music, London, and Bishop’s University, Lennoxville, Quebec, Canada. He gained the Fellowship of the Royal College of Organists with Choirmaster’s Diploma and graduated with distinction from the Royal Schools of Music; he is an Associate of the Royal College of Music in both organ performing and piano accompaniment. Mr Barber also underwent training for ordination, for which he was awarded the Licentiate in Sacred Theology from Bishop’s University.
Before his appointment at Belfast Cathedral Mr Barber was organist in two churches in Canada: St Mark’s in Ottawa and St Thomas’s in St Catharine’s, Ontario. On his return to Northern Ireland he held the same position, firstly, at St Columb’s Cathedral, Londonderry, and then at Ballywalter Parish Church, during which time he was also director of the Balligan Consort.
Mr Barber taught music at Niagara Secondary School in Canada and was Head of Music at Cabin Hill Prep School, Glengormley High School, Victoria College and Strathearn School, Belfast. As an accompanist he has worked with the Killinchy Singers, the Anderson Singers, the Ormiston (later Phoenix) Choir, the Ards Choral Society (also conductor) and Queen’s Island Victoria Male Voice Choir; he has performed in the same role at the Belfast and Holywood Music Festivals. Mr Barber accompanied the Donaghadee Male Voice Choir at the Eidsteddfod in Wales when it sang a piece which the choir had commissioned from him. He has been organ soloist and accompanist at many charity occasions in the Ulster Hall and other venues.
Mr Barber took up the position of Assistant Organist at Belfast Cathedral in September 1983. Between January and April 1984 he was also acting Master of the Choristers and again from January 1988 to September 1988. Mr Barber began his third period in charge of music at the Cathedral in July 2010, being officially recognised as Organist and Choirmaster. He resumed his role as Organist in April 2012.
The Organ Scholar
The Organ Scholar assists with all musical activities in the cathedral, to gain experience of working within a busy cathedral music department. He or she might be a gap-year student, or a university student or graduate. This post is currently vacant.
Previous musicians are listed below and a much fuller history can be found in the Past Organists section of the website.
|Previous Masters of the Choristers |
William Ware, 1776 - 1825
John Willis, 1825 - 1847
James Thompson May, 1847 - 1862
Henry Wood, 1863 - 1873
Isaac Waugh Nicholl, 1874 - 1903
Charles Brennan, 1904 - 1964
Harry Grindle, 1964 - 1976
Jonathan Gregory, 1976 - 1984
Andrew Padmore, 1984 - 1988
David Drinkell, 1988 - 2002
Brian Hunter (acting), 2002 - 2003
Philip Stopford, 2003 - 2010
|Previous Organists |
Edward Bunting, 1784 - 1843
Joseph MacBratney, 1913 - 1917
Jack McKeown, 1917 - ?
Samuel Croft, 1936 - 1939
Christopher Boodle, 1977 - 1983