President: Dr Stephen Cleobury CBE
Dr Stephen Cleobury took up the position of President of the Friends of Cathedral Music on 25th June 2016 and he is our sixth President, following Martin Shaw, Herbert Howells, Edward Kemp (Bishop of Chichester), George Guest and Christopher Robinson.
He first became involved in cathedral muisc as a chorister at Worcester Cathedral in 1958 and has worked in this field, and others, ever since. He became Organ Scholar at St John's College, Cambridge under George Guest and was then organist at St Matthew's, Northampton and Sub-Organist at Westminster Abbey before becoming Master of Music at Westminster Cathedral. He was appointed Director of Music at King's College, Cambridge in 1982 and was Conductor of Cambridge University Musical Society from 1983 to 2009. He was President of the Royal College of Organists from 1990 to 1992 and Chief Conductor of the BBC Singers from 1995 to 2007 and has been Conductor Laureate since then. In March 2005 he instigated the first Easter Festival at King's College and this has now become a well established annual festival. He was recently appointed President of the Herbert Howells Society in succession to Sir David Willcocks.
Since he inherited the 500 year old tradition of choral music at King's College, for more than 30 years Stephen has worked to enhance and uphold this unique tradition; he has been untiring in keeping King's at the very pinnacle of choral music by maintaining excellent standards of performance and interpretation. He has ensured that King's College choir has been at the very forefront of every new technological development, from CDs to webcasting and that these ventures should always be undertaken to the highest standards.
On becoming President of the FCM, Stephen said "not the least of my pleasure in accepting this position is to be the successor of Christopher Robinson, an outstanding musician who has done so much for the cause of cathedral music and to whom I, personally, owe so much".
Vice-President: The former Bishop of Brentwood
The Rt Revd Thomas McMahon, former Bishop of Brentwood, was born in Dorking, Surrey in 1936.
He was educated at St Bede’s Grammar School Manchester before training for the priesthood at St Sulpice, Paris, famous for its organists Charles-Marie Widor & Marcel Dupré.
He was ordained in 1959 at Wonersh, Surrey, moving to Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex, then becoming parish priest at Stock, Essex where he continues to live today.
From 1972 –1980 he served as Chaplain to Essex University and was a member of the National Ecumenical Commission.
He was consecrated as Bishop of Brentwood in 1980. He was Chairman of the Church Music Committee from 1997 to 2001 and founded a Cathedral and Choral Trust and extended the Choir School in 2000. He retired in 2014
He became a Vice-President of Friends of Cathedral Music in 2003.
Vice President: Dr Francis Jackson
Dr Francis Jackson CBE was born in Malton, Yorkshire in 1917 and was a chorister at York Minster from 1929 - 1933 and a pupil of Sir Edward Bairstow. He studied music at Durham University and became assistant organist of York Minster before succeeding Bairstow there in 1946.
During the second World War he was a cavalryman in the 9th Lancers.
He remained at York Minster until his retirement in 1982 when he became Organist Emeritus.
He is the Friends of Cathedral Music’s longest serving Vice-President known for his many wonderful compositions including the hymn-tune East Acklam, the name of the village in Yorkshire where he lives.
He is a Past President of the Incorporated Association of Organists and a Vice President of the Royal College of Organists.
He continues to give organ recitals throughout Britain and performed abroad including six tours of America as well as Australia.
Vice-President: Dr Alan Thurlow
Dr Alan Thurlow was born in Essex in 1947 and gained his love of church music from his early days as a choirboy at his parish church in Woodford Green.
He read music at Sheffield University before going to Emmanuel College, Cambridge for a period of research into pre-reformation English Church music.
In 1973 he was appointed Sub-Organist at Durham Cathedral. In 1980 he was appointed Organist and Master of the Choristers at Chichester Cathedral from which he retired in 2008.
He is an Organ Adviser for the Diocese of Chichester and an area representative for the Royal School of Church Music.
He has travelled abroad widely with the Cathedral Choir and the RSCM and has served as Chairman of the Organs Advisory Committee of the Council for the Care of Churches.
In 1995/6 he served as the President of the Cathedral Organists’ Association.
In 2005, the Archbishop of Canterbury conferred a Lambeth Doctorate on Alan in recognition of his service to the world of church music, especially in Chichester Cathedral.
He was Chairman of the Friends of Cathedral Music from 1990 to 2002 and appointed a Vice-Chairman on his retirement as Chairman.
Vice-President: Ian Hislop
Vice President: Dame Emma Kirkby
Vice President: Sir James MacMillan
James MacMillan, the Scottish composer and conductor, read music at Edinburgh University and then studied composition at Durham. He lectured at Manchester University before returning to Scotland and settled in Glasgow, becoming Associate Composer with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. The première of The Confession of Isobel Dowdie at the Proms in 1990 with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra brought his work to public and critical acclaim. He has written a percussion concerto for Evelyn Glennie in 1992 and a cello concerto for Rostropovich in 1997. Catholicism has inspired many of his works including many sacred works for choirs. His use of familiar themes, coupled with colourful orchestrations, has made his music more accesible than the more academic style of more avant garde composers. His Mass of 2000 commissioned for Westminster Cathedral and his Galloway Mass and St Anne's Mass have parts for the congregation to join in. His style has been established as basically melodic, yet still totally modern, and above all, written in a very personal style that is listener-friendly. Appointed KBE in 2015