Vacancies

Interested in joining our award-winning team? Visit our Vacancies page to find out more about our latest opportunities.

Scholarships

Choral Scholarships

Worth up to £3,500 a year, university students in Leeds, Huddersfield and York have the opportunity to sing with one of the country’s finest cathedral choirs, broadcast regularly on BBC radio and television, and gain experience in our award-winning Schools Singing Programme. For more information, visit the scholarships page.

Organ Scholarships 

Worth up to £1,500 a year, university students in Leeds have the opportunity to work with one of the country’s finest cathedral choirs with expert tuition and mentoring, invaluable contacts and regular performances. For more information, visit the scholarships page.

For more information or to apply for our scholarships, contact office@dioceseofleedsmusic.org.uk or 0113 244 8634.

Staff

Diocese of Leeds Music comprises 14 full-time and five part-time members of staff, alongside 30 volunteer parent chaperones and a Management Committee comprising 16 members.

Benjamin Saunders

Diocesan Director of Music

Benjamin Saunders is Director of Music for the Diocese of Leeds, carrying overall responsibility for the largest church music programme in the UK. Ben has been engaged by many external bodies as a consultant in the management and development of music programmes with particular expertise in fundraising and organisational structure, especially addressing access issues in marginalised or deprived communities. He was appointed a Director of Leeds Conservatoire in 2013 and Visiting Professor of Music at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana in 2015. As an organist, he has performed to HM the Queen, Princess Anne and US President Carter and worked with conductor Carl Davis and jazz virtuoso Dick Hyman. He has given solo organ concerts in France, Italy, Holland, Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Russia and the United States and records as a soloist for Brilliant Classics and Herald AV. Ben has also been a drummer in two rock bands, keyboardist in the Edinburgh International Jazz Festival and is now studying the classical accordion. From January 2021 he is leading the National Schools Singing Programme across the UK.

Thomas Leech

Director of the Schools Singing Programme

Thomas Leech enjoys a reputation as an outstanding and inspirational choral director and organist. As the Director of our internationally acclaimed Schools Singing Programme he manages one of the most innovative and successful choral programmes in the country, involving some 50 schools and over 4500 children weekly, with its choirs broadcasting regularly on BBC radio and enjoying international competition and concert success. Tom combines this with his role as Musical Director of Bradford Festival Choral Society and frequent appearances as a guest conductor and workshop leader, with recent projects as diverse as Paco Peña’s flamenco Requiem por la Tierra, Britten War Requiem Elgar Dream of Gerontius and Mahler Symphonies 2 and 8. Recording credits include the complete choral works of Duruflé and complete organ works of Arvo Pärt for Brilliant Classics and he has broadcast on BBC1, Radio 2, Radio 3, Radio 4, Classic FM and Radio France. His educational work has most recently been recognised by the Worshipful Company of Educators’ Masters’ Award. For more information follow him on twitter @thomas_leech.

Laura Steelyard

Assistant Director of the Schools Singing Programme

Laura has joined the Diocese as Assistant Director of the Schools Singing Programme. After graduating with a BA Hons in Music from the University of Sheffield in 2014, she previously worked for Sheffield Music Hub developing their singing programme.

Laura brings a wealth of experience in music curriculum design, in-school delivery, teacher training and choral directing to her new role. A passionate performer throughout childhood and university, Laura will work to ensure every child has access to a wide range of musical opportunities regardless of their circumstance.

Callum Tempest

Music Programme Manager

Callum Tempest grew up in Leeds and has been involved with the Diocese of Leeds Music Department since he joined the Leeds Cathedral Boys’ Choir at the age of ten. He began organ lessons three years later and was organ scholar at the Cathedral during his time in sixth form. Having attained a first-class degree in Economics and Econometrics from the University of Bristol, Callum has returned to the department as Music Programme Manager, with responsibility for the day-to-day administration of its Schools Singing Programme, Keyboard Studies Programme and fundraising strategy.

Callum is particularly excited to return as the roll-out of the National Schools Singing Programme continues. Drawing on his first-hand experience of the Leeds model, knowledge of economics and passion for technology, he hopes to facilitate the delivery of sustainable opportunities for music-making for children and young people, continuing to promote social mobility and reduce deprivation across both the Diocese and the country.

Louise Wayman

Administrator and Fundraiser

Louise Wayman grew up in Dorset and studied singing at Birmingham Conservatoire and the Wales International Academy of Voice. After a varied path through opera singing, administration, singing teaching and choral work, she has found her niche as the Administrator and Fundraiser for Diocese of Leeds Music, assisting in the day-to-day running of the programme and raising money to ensure its continuation. She now lives near Keighley with her husband and two daughters.

William Campbell

Cathedral Organist

William Campbell is Cathedral Organist at Leeds Cathedral and teaches in our Keyboard Studies Programme. Prior to joining the team, William was Organ Scholar at Canterbury Cathedral and previously held posts at St Helen’s Church, Stonegate in York and Leeds Minster, where he accompanied the choir in two BBC broadcasts. He graduated in 2023 with first-class honours in Music from the University of York.

Charlotte Woodhead

Choral Director and Curriculum Lead

Charlotte Kitson graduated in 2011 from the University of Birmingham with a First Class Honours degree in Music, and was shortly after appointed as Choral Director for Bradford in the Schools Singing Programme. She left the Music Department in 2014 to pursue a PGCE in Secondary Music at Leeds Trinity University, and then worked as a Teacher of Music and RE at St. Bede’s and St. Joseph’s Catholic College in Bradford, completing her NQT induction and Catholic Certificate in Religious Studies (CCRS) in July 2015. Charlotte first became involved with the Music Department when she joined the Cathedral Girls’ Choir at the age of 16, later becoming a Choral Scholar at Leeds and then at St. Chad’s Cathedral in Birmingham. In 2019 she completed a Postgraduate Certificate in Vocal Pedagogy with the University of Wales and Voice Workshop, specialising in breathing methodology for singing.

Lizzie Leather

Choral Director

Lizzie Leather is a Choral Director with a passion for working with young musicians to inspire a love of music and to encourage them to reach their full potential and thrive in a safe, supportive environment. Lizzie has worked as a conductor and choral animateur with organisations including Hackney Choral, the Oxford Bach Choir and the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain. Lizzie has taught music to classes of children in London and Berlin, where she also ran social singing groups for adults in the community. Lizzie co-founded Hesperos, a chamber choir in 2018, and has studied Music, Migration Policy and Choral Conducting at the Universities of Oxford and Birmingham.

Roland Mander

Choral Director

Roland graduated from the University of Huddersfield in 2014, where he specialised in piano performance and accompaniment, studying with Sally Anne Macleod. In 2016 Roland was awarded a Sing for Pleasure Young Conductors’ Scholarship, which has since led to a varied career as a choral director, workshop leader and accompanist. 

He is passionate about the importance of music education and has previously enjoyed working with leading providers such as Musica Kirklees and Opera North Education. Roland’s first experience of choral singing was in his school choir and he is now delighted to provide similar life-changing opportunities to school children across the Diocese of Leeds.

Daniel Rodriguez

Choral Director

Born in Bogotá, Colombia, Daniel earned his Bachelor of Music and Choral Conducting degree with Order of Academic Merit from the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana of Bogotá. Subsequently, he was awarded the College of Arts and Law Master Scholarship to study an MA in Choral conducting with Simon Halsey CBE and Julian Wilkins at the University of Birmingham. During his studies, Daniel developed his skills under internationally acclaimed choral conductors, including Anthony Trecek-King, Bob Chilcott, Daniel Hyde and Simon Carrington. He has also studied accompanying piano with professor Oxana Viritch, and voice studies with the Colombian soprano Beatriz Mora and Alison Chamberlain.

Before joining the Diocese of Leeds, Daniel has enjoyed many posts as a musical director, including as the former assistant conductor of the Children’s Cantoría under the direction of Eunice Prada Nagay; musical director of the San Bartolomé Chorus, choral director at Batuta National Foundation and musical director and main organist of the Immaculate Concepción of Chicó Parish of Bogotá.

Joseph Tilling

Choral Director

Joseph Tilling graduated from Leeds Conservatoire in 2023 with a first-class honours degree in Music, specialising in vocal performance and conducting. His passion for choral music started at the age of eight when he joined his local church choir, and, during his gap year, he held a Choral Scholarship at Liverpool Anglican Cathedral and sang with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Choir.

Joseph discovered his passion for choral direction relatively recently, directing the University of Leeds Chamber Choir during his studies and has recently worked with the National Children’s Choir of Great Britain as a Conducting Scholar. He is delighted to be working as a Choral Director for the Diocese of Leeds and looks forward to inspiring children from all backgrounds to make music.

Amy Howe

Choral Director

Amy Howe recently graduated with a BA in Music from the University of Leeds, where she specialised in vocal performance, early music, and exploring connections in musicology and sociology. During her studies, Amy was a Choral Scholar at Leeds Cathedral and played an active role in Leeds University Union Music Society. In her second year, Amy co-managed Leeds University Chamber Choir and, in her third, conducted the unauditioned Symphonic Choir.

Amy’s musical journey began on the violin aged seven and she went on to play with many ensembles including the CBSO Youth Orchestra. She discovered her love for singing after joining the CBSO Children’s and Youth choirs and has since been involved in many exciting choral projects including the BBC Proms, European tours and concerts with a variety of renowned conductors and orchestras. Amy’s ultimate goal is to encourage young singers to love the choral scene as much as she does by providing a safe, nurturing and exciting environment in which they can thrive.

Craig Perkinton

Choral Director

Craig Perkinton studied Music at the University of York before gaining first a postgraduate qualification in Theology and then a PGCE from York St John University. After working as a classroom teacher in UK, he went on to teach music internationally.

Craig has always been involved with music, having grown up in the church and sung in choirs since the age of four. He has led several children’s and adult choirs and is an accomplished pianist and organist in both sacred and secular settings. Now returning to Yorkshire, Craig will share his knowledge and experience to ensure that any and all children receive world-class music education and performance opportunities.

Valerie Barr

Accordion Tutor

Valerie Barr is an accordionist from Wishaw, Scotland. She graduated with a Masters in Music Performance from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in 2020, where she studied with Djordje Gajic. Throughout her studies, she enjoyed collaborating and learning from other musicians through multidisciplinary practices and was chosen to perform in many internal showcase concerts and external events.

As a soloist and chamber musician, Valerie works in a wide variety of settings including recitals in major venues, workshops in ASN schools and early years sessions. With violinist Eddy Betancourt, she has regularly worked with Live Music Now since January 2019. From 2019, Valerie attended the Italian Accordion Academy with Claudio Jacomucci where she received masterclasses in performance, improvisation, transcription and composition. She has performed in concerts and festivals in Italy, Lithuania, Germany and the Netherlands, and has attended masterclasses by James Crabb, Milos Milovojevic and Bjarke Mogensen.

Valerie’s ultimate goal is to promote the accordion as a classical instrument in the UK.

Anthony Beckwith

Keyboard Tutor

Anthony has been part of the Diocese of Leeds Schools Singing Programme since 2008 when he joined the Bradford Catholic Youth Choir. Whilst studying music at the University of Huddersfield, Anthony was the organ scholar at Leeds Cathedral and is now a full-time Keyboard Tutor on the Keyboard Studies Programme.

David Pipe

Keyboard Tutor

​David Pipe read Music at Downing College, Cambridge as Organ Scholar, later studying organ at the Royal Academy of Music. He held roles at Southwark and Guildford Cathedrals and was Assistant Director of Music at York Minster before coming to Leeds in 2016 as Cathedral Organist and founding Director of the Keyboard Studies Programme.

David has appeared as organist and conductor on national television and radio, and has made numerous recordings as organ soloist, accompanist, and continuo player, and in 2018, was elected Associate of the Royal Academy of Music. As Organist of Huddersfield Town Hall, he now combines his teaching with a career as a recitalist and conductor.

Mason Hirst

Piano Tutor

Mason is a pianist, trombonist, accompanist and conductor working in West Yorkshire. He completed his undergraduate degree at Leeds Conservatoire in 2021, where highlights included competing as a finalist in the Besbrode Piano Competition and performing a Mozart piano concerto during his final recital.

Mason has been teaching the piano since 2020 and has a holistic approach to piano studies, ensuring it is relevant and enjoyable for all his students.

Jane Flynn

Organ Tutor

Dr Jane Flynn is an organist, harpsichordist and pianist who teaches in the Keyboard Studies Programme. She is a Visiting Fellow in the School of History, University of Leeds, and a freelance music teacher. She holds degrees in organ performance from Westminster Choir College, Princeton, and Duke University, Durham (USA), and specialises in early music. Her research focuses on music education during the early modern period, especially on keyboard improvisation techniques. Publications include ‘Tudor organ versets: echoes of an improvised tradition’, Journal of the Royal College of Organists 3 (2009); ‘To play upon the organs any manner playnsong’, BIOS 34 (2010); ‘The Education of Choristers in England during the Sixteenth Century’, in Institutions and Patronage in Renaissance Music, ed. T. Schmidt-Beste (Ashgate, 2012); ‘Sum liber thomae mullineri iohanne heywoode teste: The Mulliner Book, the early In nomine, and the Prayerbook of 1559’, RCO (2019).

Anthony Gray

Organ Tutor

Anthony is an organist, choir director and composer based in Yorkshire where he is the Director of Music at St Wilfrid’s Church, Harrogate; Musical Director of the Fairfax Singers and an organ tutor for the Diocese of Leeds. He was previously Organ Scholar at Southwell Minster where he accompanied and directed the Cathedral’s three choirs. In 2018, he graduated from Robinson College, Cambridge where he held the Basil Shone Organ Scholarship. He was also the organist for St. John’s Voices, accompanist for the Cambridgeshire Choral Society, and founded and directed the Robinson Consort, a group of 16 singers focussing on contemporary repertoire. Anthony has also been the Musical Director for a variety of theatre productions and in December 2019, Anthony was shortlisted in the final of the BBC Radio 3 Carol Competition with his setting of ‘Go To The Child’. His music is widely performed across the country, including most recently his setting of the Preces and Responses.

Frankie Tempest

Organ Scholar

Frankie Tempest joined Leeds Cathedral Choir in 2014, and began learning the organ with David Pipe shortly after. He is currently studying for A levels at Leeds Mathematics School. Since 2022, he has served as Cathedral Organ Scholar, accompanying the Cathedral Choirs in rehearsals and liturgies. As a soloist, Frankie has performed in Leeds International Concert Season and Leeds International Organ Festival. He is also an accomplished classical accordionist and is studying with Valerie Barr.

Grace Middleton

Organ Scholar

Grace Middleton grew up in Leeds, attending Guiseley School and achieving three A Levels including an A* in Music. During her studies, she was a chorister and later the organ scholar at St Oswald’s Church in Guiseley, where she gained invaluable experience accompanying and directing the choir and performing repertoire. She has also played at Bradford Cathedral.

In December 2021, Grace was awarded a distinction for her ABRSM Grade 8 Organ examination. She is currently studying for an undergraduate degree in Music Performance at Huddersfield University.

Notable former members of staff

2023 David Grealy (Assistant Cathedral Organist) appointed as Director of Music for the Diocese of East Anglia

2023 William Bruce (Choral Director) appointed as Artistic Director of Choral Partnerships at St Paul’s Cathedral, London

2023 Caius Lee (Choral Director) appointed as Director of College Music at Worcester College, Oxford

2023 Christopher Hughes (Organ Scholar) pursuing further studies at the Royal College of Music

2022 Christopher Davis (Organ Scholar) appointed as a Choral Director for the Diocese of Nottingham

2016 George Ford (Organ Scholar) appointed as Director of Music for the Parish of Boston

2015 Daniel Justin (Cathedral Organist and Choral Director for Harrogate) appointed as Director of Music for the Diocese of East Anglia

2013 Keith Roberts (Choral Director for Huddersfield) appointed as Director of Choral Music at St Aloysius’ College, Glasgow

2012 Christopher McElroy (Assistant Diocesan Director of Music) appointed as Director of Music at Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral

2011 Claudine Tat (Music Department Administrator) retired to Headingley and Tuscany

2010 Christopher Johns (Choral Director for Bradford) appointed as Director of Music at Leicester Cathedral

 

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Facebook Posts

Applications now open for Choral and Organ Scholarships at Leeds Cathedral 2024–25Our scholarships offer superb opportunities for ambitious students looking to develop a range of professional-level musical skills. The Cathedral Choir – acknowledged as one of the finest in the country – sings daily services, with the Choral Scholars singing on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons and Sunday mornings.For more information or to arrange an audition, contact office@dioceseofleedsmusic.org.uk. ... See MoreSee Less
‘I am delighted to become a Patron of the National Schools Singing Programme. It is a truly groundbreaking initiative bringing the benefits and joys of singing and learning together to primary schools while also rapidly broadening the foundations of the UK’s world-leading choral tradition. As a composer who has always enjoyed writing music for young choirs to sing, I have witnessed at first hand the thrill of children learning to read music and exploring the potential of their voices in schools, churches and cathedrals. What a marvellous gift the NSSP is giving to our future choral community!’John Rutter CBE16 May 2024 ... See MoreSee Less
The coming week's sung liturgies at Leeds Cathedral - we are delighted to welcome students from Vanderbilt University Music to our programme this week!On Sunday our choirs are also singing Masses at St Joseph's, Bradford, St Patrick's, Huddersfield, and St Robert's, Harrogate.Leeds International Organ Festival continues with the Monday lunchtime recital given by Kamil Mika. ... See MoreSee Less