Cathedral Organist and Director of Music:
David Poulter was born in Kent and educated at King's School, Rochester and at The Royal College of Music, London where he was a Foundation Scholar and Walford Davies prize winner. He was also awarded the coveted Limpus and Frederick Shinn prizes at the Royal College of Organists. He is a Graduate of the Royal Schools of Music and he holds the diplomas of The Royal College of Organists, The Royal College of Music and Trinity College of Music.
After five years as Assistant Organist at Rochester Cathedral, further study at London University, and some years teaching at Cranbrook School and Tunbridge Wells Grammar School as Head of Music, he went to Coventry Cathedral in 1990, first as Assistant Organist and ultimately as Director of Music. During his time in Coventry, he founded the Cathedral Girls' Choir consisting of 45 singers aged 8 – 16 years.
David Poulter was appointed Organist and Director of Music at Chester Cathedral in April 1997. He follows a succession of distinguished organists dating from Robert Whyte in the 16th century to Charles Hylton Stewart, George Guest, John Sanders and Roger Fisher in the 20th century. Under his direction, the Cathedral Choir has undertaken six CD recordings, broadcast live on BBC Radio and TV and Granada TV, and premiered many new works written especially for Chester Cathedral, including one by John Tavener. In recent years the choir has undertaken tours to France, Holland and Ireland. There are plans for a choir tour to the USA in 2007.
David has travelled extensively, as an organist and as a conductor to France, Germany, Holland, Italy, Norway, Jamaica and the United States. His solo organ CD recordings include Fanfare for Organ (Mayhew 1995), Toccatas from Coventry (Lammus 1998) and Organ Music from Chester (English Cathedral Series, volume 5, Regent Records 2002). He is a frequent conductor of the BBC Daily Service, and he has appeared as a soloist with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra under Jan Pascal Tortelier.
Assistant Director of Music:
Philip Rushforth started his musical training as a chorister at Chester Cathedral where he began learning the organ with Cathedral Organist, Roger Fisher. In 1991 he went up to Trinity College, Cambridge as Organ Scholar. At Trinity he broadcast frequently with the world famous college choir, toured with them extensively in Europe, Canada and the USA and accompanied on many recordings. Organ studies continued with David Sanger.
Graduating in 1994, Philip took up the post of Assistant Organist at Southwell Minster and became the first director of the Minster Chorale. For eight years he directed the choir in Southwell and further afield. In 2001 the Chorale performed J S Bach’s St Mark Passion - the first performance of the work heard in Nottinghamshire.
In September 2000 he was a prizewinner in the prestigious Royal College of Organists’ Performer of the year Award, performing the Poulenc Organ Concerto with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, which was broadcast on BBC Radio 3. He won many recital awards, including performing at St John’s, Smith Square, King’s College, Cambridge and at the Dublin International Organ and Choral Festival.
In September 2002 Philip returned to Chester Cathedral as Assistant Director of Music. He works closely with the Cathedral choirs and regularly directs them on CD, Radio 3 and Radio 4’s Daily Service. In June 2003 he was accompanist to the International Church Music Festival, hosted by Chester Cathedral, working with Sir David Willcocks. Philip also organises the weekly organ recital series at the Cathedral and performs regularly as a recitalist. In April 2005 he opened the International Organ Season of Concerts in Cantu, Italy, and in July 2006 will be returning to Italy to perform in Senigallia’s International Music Festival.
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Second Assistant Organist:
Ian Roberts started musical life as a chorister here at Chester Cathedral and then as a lay clerk before leaving to read music at the University of East Anglia. As a student, Ian held a choral scholarship at Norwich Cathedral and directed the UEA Music Society Singers.
In September 2001, Ian embarked on a year's organ scholarship at Blackburn Cathedral and in September 2002, he moved to Chichester Cathedral for a further year's scholarship.
In September 2003, Ian returned to Chester Cathedral as 2nd Assistant Organist. Besides directing the Nave choir, he plays for services and gives regular Thursday lunchtime organ recitals.
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