Choir of St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle

The Choir of St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle exists to sing services in St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle.

It has been in existence since 1348 and, with the exception of the Commonwealth period (1649–1660), has sung services in the Chapel continuously ever since.

Windsor Castle, Quire of St George's, by Charles Wild, 1818 - royal coll 922115 257036 ORI 0
The Quire of St George's Chapel, by Charles Wild, from W.H. Pyne's Royal Residences, 1818.

The choir today

The choir comprises up to 23 boy choristers (5 of whom are probationers or training choristers) and 12 professional Lay Clerks, singing Countertenor, tenor and bass.. The Choir sings at Evensong each day (except Wednesdays) and twice on Sunday mornings during the three terms of the College year. The choristers are educated at St George's School, Windsor Castle which is situated in the Castle grounds. The Lay Clerks live in the Horseshoe Cloister and on Denton's Commons.

The choir sings regularly in the presence of the Queen and other members of the Royal Family. Significant recent events have included:

Concerts are also given from time to time, some collaborating with ensembles such as the London Concert Orchestra, the London Handel Orchestra, Southbank Sinfonia and the London Mozart Players. The choir also broadcasts regularly on BBC Radio 3 and BBC Radio 4.

The choir is directed by the Director of Music and accompanied an Assistant Organist, plus an organ scholar who is selected by audition on an annual basis.


  • 2017 – Netherlands (the Choir sang at Sint Bavo's Cathedral)
  • 2015 – Germany (the Choir sang in the Theatinerkirche)
  • 2013 – Germany and Austria (the Lay Clerks sang in Nuremberg, Munich and Salzburg)
  • 2007 – United States (the Choir sang in Boston and Washington DC)
  • 2006 – United States (the Choir sang in New York City at The British Memorial Garden on the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. The Choir also sang at a Gala Dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel to raise money for the New York Downtown Hospital, where many of the casualties were taken following 9/11 as well as singing Evensong at St. Thomas Episcopal Church, New York. This was the first appearance of the Choir in the US for over 20 years.)

Other overseas appearances include Norway, France, Holland, Poland, Spain and Switzerland


Recent recordings include:

  • 2011 – Celebrate Christmas
  • 2006 – O How Glorious is the Kingdom
  • 2006 – W H Harris Anthems
  • 2005 – Music for a Royal Celebration
  • 2005 – Abide with Me
  • 2003 – Carols from Windsor Castle
  • 2002 – Carols from Windsor Castle
  • 2001 – Tomkins Cathedral Music
  • 2001 – Carols from Windsor Castle
  • 2000 – Magnificat & Nunc Dimittis Vol 21
  • 2000 – The Glory of St George's
  • 1999 – Mathias: Lux Aeterna
  • 1996 – David Fanshawe: African Sanctus (with Bournemouth Symphony Chorus)
  • 1994 – Parry Cathedral Music
  • 1994 – Tavener Sacred Works
  • 1993 – Saint Nicolas & Hymn to Saint Cecilia (with Corydon Singers)
  • 1984 – 20 Christmas Carols from Saint George's Chapel, Windsor Castle

List of Organists and Masters of Choristers (known as 'Director of Music' from 2004)

  • Walter Whitby 1406–1415
  • Laurence Dreweryn 1415–1441
  • John Wederby 1441–1461
  • Thomas Rolfe 1461–1469
  • Robert Cotyngham 1469–1473
  • William Browne 1473–1476
  • Thomas Rolfe 1476–1489
  • Tuke, Bell, Bowyer, Bednall and Rede (acted jointly)
  • Richard Wood 1496–1531
  • John Marbeck, 1531–1547
  • George Thaxton 1547–1559
  • Preston 1559–1563
  • Robert Golder 1563–1564
  • Richard Farrant, 1564–1580
  • John Mundy 1581–1585
  • Nathaniel Giles 1585–1632
  • William Child 1632–1697
  • John Golding 1697–1719

Sub organists

  • Richard Frank Martin Akerman 1908 – 1924
  • Malcolm Boyle 1925 – 1932
  • Reginald Alwyn Surplice 1932 – 1945[1][2]
  • John Morehen 1968 – 1972

Assistant Organists

Assistant Directors of Music

Organ Scholars

  • Peter J Williams 1965–1966[3]
  • John Porter 1965–1967 (later Assistant Organist here)
  • John Taylor 1965–1967 (then Assistant Organist of St Mary's Cathedral, Edinburgh)
  • George Watson 1967-1967
  • Terence Atkins 1967–1969 (now Organist and Choirmaster at St John the Baptist Parish Church, Chipping Barnet)
  • Jason Smart 1969–1972
  • Francis Grier 1972–1973 (afterwards Organ Scholar of King's College, Cambridge; later Organist and Master of the Choristers at Christ Church, Oxford)
  • Colin Walsh 1973–1974 (afterwards Organ Scholar of Christ Church Oxford; later Assistant Organist Salisbury Cathedral, Organist St Albans Cathedral, now Organist Laureate Lincoln Cathedral)
  • Christopher Brayne 1974–1975 (later Organist and Master of the Choristers of Bristol Cathedral; now Director of Music at Christ Church, Charlotte, North Carolina)
  • Thomas Trotter 1975–1976 (afterwards Organ Scholar of King's College, Cambridge, later Organist of St Margaret's Church, Westminster and Birmingham City Organist)
  • Adrian Partington 1977–1978 (afterwards Organ Scholar of King's College, Cambridge; currently Director of Music Gloucester Cathedral)
  • Harry Bicket 1978–1980 (Director, The English Concert)
  • Wayne Marshall 1980–1983
  • Iain Simcock 1983–1984
  • Neil Kelly 1984–1986
  • Andrew Nethsingha 1986–1987 (afterwards Organ Scholar of St John's College, Cambridge; currently Director of Music at St John's College, Cambridge)
  • Roger Muttitt 1987–1988 (currently Director of Music at Durham School)
  • Philip Scriven 1988–1990 (afterwards Organ Scholar of St John's College, Cambridge; then Sub-Organist of Winchester Cathedral; later Organist and Master of the Choristers at Lichfield Cathedral)
  • Mark Wardell 1990–1991 (later Assistant Organist of Chichester Cathedral)
  • Jonathan Lilley 1991–1992 (later Sub-Organist at Leeds Parish Church; then Assistant Organist at Ely Cathedral; currently Organist of Waltham Abbey Church)
  • Christopher Allsop 1992–1993 (afterwards Trinity College, Cambridge; assistant at St. Philip's Cathedral, Birmingham; currently Assistant Organist of Worcester Cathedral)
  • Matthew Raisbeck 1993–1994
  • Greg Morris 1994–1995 (currently Associate Organist Temple Church, London)
  • Iain Farrington 1995–1996 (then Organ Scholar of St John's College, Cambridge)
  • Myles Hartley 1996–1997
  • Teilhard Scott 1997–1999
  • Jonathan Vaughn 1999–2000 (afterwards Organ Scholar of St John's College, Cambridge; then Assistant Organist of Wells Cathedral)
  • Robert Kwan 2000–2001 (Assistant to the Organist-Choirmaster, Christ & Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, Westport, CT; currently Director of Music, Trinity Episcopal Church, Southport, CT, USA)
  • Francesca Massey 2001–2002 (Acting Assistant Organist September–December 2001; afterwards Organ Scholar of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge; currently Sub-Organist of Durham Cathedral)
  • Tom Winpenny 2002–2003 (Acting Assistant Organist; then Organ Scholar of King's College, Cambridge; then Sub-Organist, St Paul's Cathedral; currently Assistant Master of the Music, St Albans Cathedral)
  • Henry Parkes 2003–2004 (Acting Assistant Organist September–December 2003; then Organ Scholar of Christ Church, Oxford; later Associate Director of Music All Saints, Margaret Street, London)
  • Ben Giddens 2004–2005 (afterwards Organ Scholar Norwich Cathedral; subsequently Acting Assistant Organist at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle; later Assistant Organist Magdalen College, Oxford)
  • Peter Stevens 2005–2006 (afterwards Organ Scholar of King's College, Cambridge; currently Assistant Master of Music, Westminster Cathedral)
  • John Challenger 2006–2008 (afterwards Organ Scholar of St John's College, Cambridge; currently Assistant Director of Music at Salisbury Cathedral)
  • Laurence Williams 2008–2009 (afterwards Choral Scholar at Trinity College, Cambridge; currently Assistant Organist at Waltham Abbey Church)
  • Alexander Binns 2009–2010 (afterwards studied organ at the Royal Academy of Music, London whilst Organ Scholar at Marylebone Parish Church, the Royal Hospital Chelsea, and Southwark Cathedral, currently Assistant Director of Music at St Edmundsbury Cathedral)
  • Ben Bloor 2010–2011 (afterwards Organ Scholar of New College, Oxford; later Organ Scholar of Westminster Cathedral; currently Organist of the London Oratory, Brompton)
  • Adam Mathias 2011–2012 (afterwards Organ Scholar of Emmanuel College, Cambridge)
  • Joseph Beech 2012–2013 (afterwards studied organ at the Royal Academy of Music, London, whilst Organ scholar of Brompton Oratory and then St Paul's Cathedral; currently Assistant Master of the Music, St Mary's Cathedral, Edinburgh)
  • Glen Dempsey 2013–2014 (currently Organ Scholar of St John's College, Cambridge)
  • Alexander Hamilton 2014–2015 (afterwards Organ Scholar of Trinity College, Cambridge; currently Organ Scholar of Westminster Abbey)
  • Asher Oliver 2015–2016 (currently Organ Scholar of Trinity College, Cambridge)
  • Benjamin Newlove 2016–2017 (undergraduate organ studies at the Royal Academy of Music, London, whilst Organ Scholar of St Michael's Church, Cornhill and St. Paul’s Church, Knightsbridge)
  • Jason Richards 2017–2018 (currently Organ Scholar of Jesus College, Cambridge)
  • Lucy Morrell 2018-present

Notable alumni

See also


  1. ^ Organists and Masters of the Choristers of St. George's Chapel in Windsor Castle. Historical monographs relating to St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle Volume 3. Edmund Fellowes (1939)
  2. ^ Who's who in Music. Fourth Edition. 1962. p.205
  3. ^ An entry for Graham Elliott which formerly appeared here has been removed in the light of the following statement which was inserted by Peter J Williams: "Graham Elliott was NOT an Organ Scholar but a private pupil of Dr Sidney Campbell. I went in 1964 as a private PA to Dr. Campbell and then became the first Organ Scholar, along with John Porter who stayed on when I went to be Assistant Organist at York Minster 1966. Many of these dates are wrong!"

External links

2018 in British music

This is a summary of the year 2018 in British music.

Charles Villiers Stanford

Sir Charles Villiers Stanford (30 September 1852 – 29 March 1924) was an Irish composer, music teacher, and conductor. Born to a well-off and highly musical family in Dublin, Stanford was educated at the University of Cambridge before studying music in Leipzig and Berlin. He was instrumental in raising the status of the Cambridge University Musical Society, attracting international stars to perform with it.

While still an undergraduate, Stanford was appointed organist of Trinity College, Cambridge. In 1882, aged 29, he was one of the founding professors of the Royal College of Music, where he taught composition for the rest of his life. From 1887 he was also Professor of Music at Cambridge. As a teacher, Stanford was sceptical about modernism, and based his instruction chiefly on classical principles as exemplified in the music of Brahms. Among his pupils were rising composers whose fame went on to surpass his own, such as Gustav Holst and Ralph Vaughan Williams. As a conductor, Stanford held posts with the Bach Choir and the Leeds triennial music festival.

Stanford composed a substantial number of concert works, including seven symphonies, but his best-remembered pieces are his choral works for church performance, chiefly composed in the Anglican tradition. He was a dedicated composer of opera, but none of his nine completed operas has endured in the general repertory. Some critics regarded Stanford, together with Hubert Parry and Alexander Mackenzie, as responsible for a renaissance in music from the British Isles. However, after his conspicuous success as a composer in the last two decades of the 19th century, his music was eclipsed in the 20th century by that of Edward Elgar as well as former pupils.

Gordon Lorenz

Gordon Lorenz (4 March 1943 – 5 June 2011) was an English songwriter and record producer, who made his fame by writing the UK Christmas number one hit "There's No-one Quite Like Grandma" for St Winifred's School Choir. Since the song's release, Lorenz became one of the most prolific record producers in the music industry, producing over 800 albums selling eight million records, and earning seventeen platinum, gold and silver discs.

Jeremy Filsell

Jeremy Filsell (born 10 April 1964) is an English pianist, organist, and composer.

Nathaniel Giles

Nathaniel Giles (1558 – 1633 or 1634) was an English Renaissance organist and composer. He was the organist for Worcester Cathedral and wrote Anglican anthems.

While Master of the Children of the Chapel Royal he took over Blackfriars Theatre in a business arrangement with producer Henry Evans and there he worked with Ben Jonson on a children's company. Giles had the power under a royal warrant to impress children for service in the Chapel Royal. He allowed Evans and others to use the warrant to legally abduct children not for service as choir boys, but to work in the their theatre. When in 1600 they abducted the son of a nobleman, this led to the Clifton Star Chamber Case.He was also a master of the Choir of St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle and an organist at Westminster Abbey.

His Te Deum (Durham Cathedral manuscript A2, folio 56) has instructions for the organist to play an octave lower than written, and one assumes this is to give the 'dark' sonority of a 10 ft organ stop rather than the everyday colour of the standard 5 ft Principal stop of the Tudor organ. His Vestigia mea dirige was included in the manuscript collection known as the Dow Partbooks.

His son, Nathaniel Giles became a Canon of Windsor.

Nathaniel Giles (priest)

Nathaniel GIles DD (b. 1591) was a Canon of Windsor from 1624 to 1644.

Songs of Farewell

Songs of Farewell is a set of six choral motets by the British composer Hubert Parry. The pieces were composed between 1916 and 1918 and were among his last compositions before his death.

St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle

St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle in England, is a chapel designed in the high-medieval Gothic style. It is both a Royal Peculiar, a church under the direct jurisdiction of the monarch, and the Chapel of the Order of the Garter. Seating approximately 800, it is located in the Lower Ward of the castle.

St. George's castle chapel was established in the 14th century by King Edward III and began extensive enlargement in the late 15th century. It has been the location of many royal ceremonies, weddings and burials. Windsor Castle is a principal residence for Queen Elizabeth II.

The day-to-day running of the Chapel is the responsibility of the Dean and Canons of Windsor who make up the religious College of St George, which is directed by a Chapter of the Dean and four Canons, assisted by a Clerk, Virger (traditional spelling of verger) and other staff. The Society of the Friends of St George's and Descendants of the Knights of the Garter, a registered charity, was established in 1931 to assist the College in maintaining the Chapel.

St George's School, Windsor Castle

St George's School, Windsor Castle is a coeducational independent preparatory school in Windsor, near London, England. Founded to provide choirboys for the Choir of St George's Chapel, it now educates over 400 boys and girls.

The Lord bless you and keep you

"The Lord bless you and keep you" is a classical sacred choral composition by John Rutter. It is a setting of a biblical benediction, followed by an extended "Amen". Rutter scored the piece for four vocal parts (SATB) and organ. He composed it in 1981 for the memorial service of Edward T. Chapman, the director of music at Highgate School, London, with whom he had studied when he attended the school.It was published by Oxford University Press in 1981, in the anthology Oxford Easy Anthems, edited by David Willcocks.

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