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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 click here.
Choral Scholarships for all voice parts
Worth up to £2,000 a year, university students in Leeds have the opportunity to sing with one of the country’s finest cathedral choirs and broadcast regularly on BBC Radio and Television. For more information click here.
Diocese of Leeds Music comprises nine full time and nine part time members of staff.
There are 30 parental volunteer chaperones and a Management Board comprising 12 members.
Administrator and Fundraiser
Jessica Shears graduated in 2016 from Leeds College of Music with a First-Class Degree in Classical Music. During her studies, becoming passionate about the benefits of the arts within education, she specialised in Community Music. Jessica has worked as a full time Music and Arts Practitioner; working as a woodwind tutor for Bradford Music and Arts Service, as a Performing Arts Specialist for Artis Education, and as the Classical Tutor for Leeds College of Music’s Saturday Music School. Jessica is now thrilled to work for The Diocese of Leeds Music Department and looks forward to bringing her experience as an arts educator into the role.
Diocesan Director of Music
Benjamin Saunders was organ scholar of Downing College, Cambridge University and Assistant Director of Music at the cathedrals of St Giles’ Edinburgh, Blackburn and Chester. Since 2002 he has been Director of Music for the Diocese of Leeds, carrying overall responsibility for the music programme. Benjamin has been engaged by many external organisations as a consultant in the management and development of music departments. He was appointed a Director of Leeds College of Music 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. Further details can be found on his website.
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 2500 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 and the choral soundtrack for the film London Fields. 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.
Director of the Organists Training Programme and Cathedral Organist
David Pipe heads the new Organ School, a partnership between the Diocese of Leeds Music Department and The Royal College of Organists from May 2016. David was Assistant Director of Music at York Minster since 2008 and prior to this held posts at Guildford and Southwark Cathedrals. He became Principal Conductor of York Musical Society in March 2012. Born in London in 1983, David read Music at Cambridge University, later studying organ at the Royal Academy of Music, having gained a postgraduate entrance scholarship. Under his leadership it is hoped that the new organ school can mirror the success of the Singing Programme by creating the largest and highest quality schools organ teaching programme in the country.
Cathedral Choral Director
Lucy Haigh has been directing high-quality children’s choirs since the age of sixteen. She founded and directed The Hildegard Choir for girls in Oxford in 1991, reaching the televised semi-finals of the BBC Choir of the Year competition in 1998 and 2000 and winning the International Choir Festival of Jersey in 2004. Lucy worked in Perth, Western Australia from 2006-2010, where she held the post of Head of Choral Music at St Hilda’s Anglican School for Girls. She has also founded a number of boys’ choirs during her career, including the Palestrina Boys’ Choir in Oxford and The Dragon Singers in Perth. Lucy joined the Diocese of Leeds music staff since September 2010. She established the two Cathedral Junior Choirs in 2011, the Cathedral Children’s Choir in 2014 and the Leeds Trinity Cathedral Choirs in September 2016. In addition to her work at the Cathedral, Lucy visits eleven primary schools each week to lead sessions as part of the Diocese of Leeds Schools Singing Programme.
Lucy was born in North Yorkshire and sang as a church chorister from the age of seven. She went on to study music at degree and masters levels at Leeds College of Music, and was awarded a Choral Scholarship at Leeds Cathedral. Lucy has worked for Scottish Opera and is a regular at the Buxton International Gilbert and Sullivan Festival. Particular distinction has been recognised in her solo performances of Bach and Handel oratorio with Sheffield Bach Choir, Bradford Festival Chorus and St Peter’s Singers amongst others. Lucy has established and worked with numerous children’s choirs at schools across the North of England and was previously the choral director for St Aidan’s Church Choir in Leeds.
A passionate advocate for choral singing, Alex Kyle began conducting choirs in 2011, and joined Diocese of Leeds Music as Choral Director in 2014. He is co-director of Bradford Catholic Youth Choir, with responsibility for the Senior Boys Choir and Junior Choir, who he has conducted on national television (BBC One, Christmas Day mass broadcast from St Joseph’s Church 2019) and BBC Radio 3. Alex is also Musical Director of Vocalis Chamber Choir and the Leeds Methodist Choir. An experienced conductor of choral-orchestral music, he has collaborated with Leeds Haydn Players, Harrogate Philharmonic Orchestra and Ad Hoc Baroque of Leeds. In September 2018, as part of a partnership between Diocese of Leeds Music and Leeds Trinity University, Alex set up a new pop choir for university students, Trinity Voices.
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.
Wil Jones first began singing in his local church choir, aged five and has since developed a career singing and conducting around the country. Graduating in 2015 from Leeds College of Music, Wil studied classical voice and conducting with a variety of different teachers, most notably Leeds-based Jane Anthony. During his time at university William was very fortunate to collaborate with a range of different musicians; including international tours throughout Europe. Being a chorister for as long as he can remember, becoming a choral director was always an aspiration for Wil and since leaving university, his work includes a variety of different musical engagements both chorally and musical theatre.
Sally Egan was born in Leeds and educated at Notre Dame High School. She read music at Cambridge University and studied singing in Paris with Maria-Grazia Dilluvio and in London with Lillian Watson. She has sung opera and oratorio all over the world under the baton of many leading conductors including Claudio Abbado, Daniel Harding, William Christie and Pierre Boulez. Sally also specialises in training treble voices. Prior to her appointment in Leeds, she worked as a vocal coach with the choristers of Westminster Cathedral and taught singing to the choristers of Westminster Abbey. Sally works for Opera North as a workshop leader, choral director and animateur and she also works with choirs all over the country alongside her role as Choral Director of Holy Rosary and St Anne’s Primary School in Chapeltown.
Originally from Northumberland, Tom studied music at Huddersfield University, specialising in Piano Performance, and gained BMus and PGCE qualifications. Settling in Yorkshire, he was a school music teacher for several years before embarking on a more varied musical career. He now combines individual tuition with performing and accompanying, and has played in a range of venues across the North of England, including The Sage, Gateshead, Harewood House, Bradford Cathedral and Leeds College of Music. Concerto appearances have included works by Poulenc and Beethoven. In addition, Tom has played for conducting workshops and opera rehearsals both in Higher Education institutions and at a professional level. Tom is Organist and Director of Music at St Anne’s Catholic Church in Keighley and on the examiner panel of the ABRSM, working across the UK, Ireland and Hong Kong.
Jake is a composer, producer, performer and educator based in Leeds city centre. Jake has been practising music for the majority of his life and has recently finished his formal musical education, graduating with a masters at Leeds College of Music in 2019, studying composition and performance with Matthew Bourne and Ben Lamdin (Nostalgia 77). He currently work as a live/studio session musician playing keyboards for Tom Williams and also for the Invisible Orchestra. Jake creates his own music, producing and writing with his band Space Dolphin and also creates solo piano/ambient records. Having spent his entire musical career collaborating with other musicians and creatives, Jake wants to teach students how to play and interact with other musicians, how to be successful in the 21st century music industry and teach students how to find many years of happiness within musical performance.
William Dore read Music at Jesus College, Oxford where, as Organ Scholar he studied organ with Nicolas Kynaston and John Wellingham. He spent one year as a post-graduate organ scholar at Norwich Cathedral, gaining the Fellowship diploma of the Royal College of Organists before taking up teaching posts at Ipswich School and Ampleforth College. He was appointed as Abbey Organist at Ampleforth in September 2005 and has performed as accompanist and organ recitalist throughout the UK, Europe and in South East Asia, and continues to work as a freelance accompanist and teacher (piano and organ) in the North of England. He has recorded a disc for Priory records at Ampleforth entitled The Influence of Plainsong which includes works by Tournemire, Demessieux and Philip Moore. He also founded and has directed the Ampleforth and Ryedale Concert Choir, an important part of the Ampleforth College Music Department’s Outreach Programme. He is an accredited teacher of the Royal College of Organists and a number of his students have won organ scholarships to top universities and cathedrals.
Dr Jane Flynn is Director of Music at St Edward, King and Confessor, Clifford, and teaches on the Organists Training 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 (forthcoming).
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.
Philip Meaden studied at the Royal Academy of Music and Goldsmiths’ College, winning prizes for organ, conducting and musicology, and gaining several degrees and diplomas. He has performed in numerous Cathedrals, Churches and concert halls, both as an organist and a conductor, and he also has extensive experience as a senior leader, consultant, examiner, adjudicator and teacher. Philip holds professorships at the University of Bradford and Leeds College of Music, and fellowships of the Royal College of Organists and Trinity College, London. He has a particular interest in the performance practice of Bach and Mendelssohn, having been awarded a distinction for his Master’s study of articulation and motivic structure in Bach’s organ sonatas, and conducted research into Mendelssohn’s performances in England, but his repertoire is very wide and his musical tastes are eclectic. Chief Executive of the Royal College of Organists from 1 October 2014, Philip is committed to promoting both high quality educational opportunities for organists and the profile of organ playing and choral training more generally.
Christopher Hughes, comes from Nantwich, Cheshire. Chris has played the piano ever since he was 5 years old, and attended Chetham’s School of Music, where he was taught by Mr John Gough. It is also here he began learning to play the Organ, taught by Mr Christopher Stokes. He now attends Leeds University studying Physics.
Junior Organ Scholar
Notable former members of staff
2018 Caius Lee (Organ Scholar) appointed as Organ Scholar at St Catharine’s College, Cambridge
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 Anglican Cathedral
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