1 St Davids Cathedral, Wales


Last updated:
20 Oct 1998


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St Andrew and St David

St Davids, Pembrokeshire, is Britain's smallest city, with a population of 1,700. The cathedral will have its own web-site soon. NEW!Own site button

Organist:

Geraint Bowen (1995)   e-mail

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Geraint Bowen was born in London and received his early musical education as a chorister at Hampstead Parish Church under Martindale Sidwell. After studying the organ with Christopher Herrick he became organ scholar at Jesus College, Cambridge in 1982, later studying also with John Scott and Stephen Cleobury.

Whilst at Cambridge a recording of early English church music by the college choir under his direction was selected for Gramophone magazine’s Critics’ Choice. He was also a member of the Cambridge University Chamber Choir, with whom he toured the United States, New Zealand and France.

On leaving Cambridge he was appointed assistant organist at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin and in 1989 he moved to a similar position at Hereford Cathedral, where he played the organ on several broadcasts and recordings featuring the cathedral choir. He was founder and director of the Hereford Bach Choir, and played a prominent part in the Hereford Three Choirs Festivals of 1991 and 1994.

Since 1995 he has held the posts of organist and master of the choristers at St Davids Cathedral, and artistic director of the St Davids Cathedral Festival. Under his direction the cathedral choir has performed with The Parley of Instruments, the Guildhall String Ensemble and Florilegium, and premiered works written for it by Alun Hoddinott and Geraint Lewis. It has made many broadcasts on BBC radio and television, including BBC Radio 3’s Choral Evensong. In the autumn of 1996 the choir made its first tour of the USA and a further tour takes place in October 1998.

In 1996 he founded the St Davids Cathedral Festival Chorus, and has conducted highly acclaimed performances of Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius, Verdi’s Requiem and Mendelssohn’s Elijah.

In 1997 he made two visits to the USA to direct a choral workshop in Washington DC and an RSCM course in Atlanta, Georgia, and in July 1998 he directed another RSCM course in Charlotte, North Carolina. In 1999 he has been invited to return to direct a third RSCM course at Winston-Salem, North
Carolina.


Assistant:

NEW! Simon Pearce (September 1998 - )

Simon Pearce was born in Wakefield, West Yorkshire in 1974 and was Head Chorister at Wakefield Cathedral. After graduating with honours in music from Hull University, where he was awarded the Sir Thomas Beecham Scholarship, he moved to Ripon where he held the organ scholarship at Ripon Cathedral. Whilst studying the organ there with Kerry Beaumont, he gained the Associateship diploma of the Royal College of Organists. He was appointed assistant organist at St Davids Cathedral and assistant conductor of the St Davids Cathedral Festival Chorus in May 1998 and moved to St Davids in September, where he combines his work at the cathedral with freelance performing and teaching work.

Previously Michael Slaney (1991-July 1998).


Organ:

Father Willis 1883, 3 manuals, rebuilt by HNB 1953, Rushworth & Dreaper 1980, and Percy Daniel 1986-1989.

updated.gif (168 bytes) In September 1998 the present instrument was taken down. The Willis pipework (all of which survives) will form the basis of a new 4-manual instrument by Harrison & Harrison and scheduled for completion in 2000. The specification of the new instrument may be viewed at the H&H website. The project will cost a total of 645 000, of which 416 000 has been found so far, including a grant of 397 000 from the National Lottery and 16 000 from the Foundation for Sport and the Arts. This leaves a shortfall of 229 000, and any donations will be gratefully received by the organist at the cathedral, made payable to the St Davids Cathedral Organ Fund. For larger donations, Named Gift Opportunities exist, and the organist will be pleased to provide further details on request. If funds allow, a 32 foot reed will also be added to the specification.


Choir:

The cathedral choir consists, uniquely in the UK, of girls (aged 8-18) and men. There is also a separate boys' choir and an adult voluntary choir. Girls were first introduced in the 1960s, when the then all-male choir was hit by a flu epidemic just before a live broadcast. The top line was then mixed throughout the rest of the 1960s, 70s and 80s, until separate top lines were formed in 1991 by the organist at that time, Kerry Beaumont.

Services:

Monday (girls only), Tuesday (cathedral boys choir), Thursday (girls and men), Friday fortnightly (voluntary choir) all at 6:00.
Sundays: Mattins 11.15 (4th Sunday Choral Eucharist), Evensong 6:00, (both Sunday services girls and men).

updated.gif (168 bytes) Telephone: 01437 720202/720199, fax 01437 721885


Recordings:

The Sound of St Davids (Nimbus NI 1435)

Other
Information:

updated.gif (168 bytes) St Davids Cathedral Music Festival takes place annually in the last week of May and first week of June. 1999 dates: Saturday 29 May – Sunday 6 June. Performers include Bernard Roberts, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Virelai, Brodsky Quartet, St Davids Cathedral Choir, St Davids Cathedral Festival Chorus. Further details from the Administrator, Llywela Harris on 01437 720271, fax 01437 721885.

US Tour

updated.gif (168 bytes) The cathedral choir will be on tour in the USA for the last week of October 1998 and its scheduled appearances are as follows:
Sun
25 Oct
Service at St Paul’s Church, Baltimore MD 1030
Concert at Emmanuel Episcopal Church, Baltimore MD 1500
Tue
27 Oct
Concert at St Paul’s Church, Richmond VA 1900
Wed
28 Oct
Evensong at Christ & St Luke’s Church, Norfolk VA 1800
Thu
29 Oct
Concert at Christ & St Luke’s Church 2000
Sat
31 Oct
Evensong at Washington National Cathedral 1600
Sun
1 Nov
Eucharist at St Paul’s K Street, Washington DC 1115
Welsh-American Society Gymanfa Ganu at St Paul’s 1400
Evensong with St Paul’s K Street Choir 1800

Previous
Organists:

The father of Thomas Tomkins, also called Thomas (c1570-c1586)
H.C Morris 1896-1921
Joseph Soar 1922-54
Peter Boorman 1954-77
Sir Nicholas Jackson, Bt 1977-84
Malcolm Watts 1984-90
Kerry Beaumont (now organist of Ripon Cathedral) 1990-94



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I am indebted to Geraint Bowen (a) for volunteering to start my Welsh collection, and (b) for supplying so much useful and interesting information so quickly.