Duck out of the Christmas Market, and rediscover the true meaning of the season as the choristers of Winchester Cathedral under their director Andrew Lumsden perform an hour of Christmas music at its most sublime. The Winchester choir has been acclaimed by critics for its “superb, radiant, colourful singing”, so expect music of quiet reflection and joyous celebration – and to leave with your spirit refreshed.
Andrew Lumsden, Director of Music
Andrew Lumsden was educated at The Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama before going up to St John's College, Cambridge as Organ Scholar. After three years as Assistant Organist at Southwark Cathedral, he was appointed Sub-Organist at Westminster Abbey, where he played the organ for many important national occasions. In 1992, he was appointed Organist and Master of the Choristers at Lichfield Cathedral.
During his time there, the Cathedral Choir recorded 5 CDs and toured France, Germany, Italy and the USA. The Choir also appeared in concert with Dame Kiri Te Kanawa and Sir Simon Rattle.
Since September 2002, he has been Organist and Director of Music at Winchester Cathedral. Under his directorship, the Choir has made a number of recordings and broadcasts and performed in the Duomo in Florence, at the Gottinghen Handel Festival with the English Concert and the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra of San Francisco, with the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the Henry Wood Proms and with Sir Roger Norrington and the Salzburg Camerata. The choir also toured the USA to great acclaim, performing in six venues including Washington National Cathedral and St Thomas, Fifth Avenue, New York. In 2010, BBC television recorded two programmes of music sung by the Cathedral Choir, broadcast on Easter Day and Christmas Day and, in 2011, during a visit to the Czech Republic, the choir sang in St Vitus Cathedral in Prague and in Brno. The boy and girl choristers have taken part in BBC Proms seasons, singing with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra under Sir Simon Rattle in 2014 and with the Danish National Orchestra in 2015. In 2018, as a major highlight of the worldwide Bernstein centenary celebrations, the boy choristers and lay clerks performed Bernstein's Chichester Psalms, under Marin Alsop with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and cathedral choirs of Salisbury and Chichester. Andrew continues to give organ recitals in this country and abroad, and as conductor of the Waynflete Singers, he works regularly with major orchestras including Florilegium, the English Chamber Orchestra and the London Mozart Players. In 2015, he spent two months in Australia and New Zealand, giving a number of organ recitals and masterclasses and directing choirs, and returned to Auckland in 2018 to conduct an RSCM course. Whilst there, he was the first overseas player to give one of the inaugural recitals on the new organ in Auckland Cathedral.
The Choir of Winchester Cathedral
The Boy Choristers, Lay Clerks and Organists of Winchester Cathedral continue a thousand-year long tradition of leading choral worship. Singing at eight services each week during school term times, as well as at the great festivals in the Christian calendar, they are widely recognised as one of the country's foremost cathedral choirs. Their repertoire spans many centuries from plainsong to works by contemporary composers of sacred music.
The twelve lay clerks are all experienced musicians, who combine their work at the Cathedral with a range of other careers. The boy choristers are all educated at The Pilgrims' School in Winchester Cathedral Close. In addition to their primary role of leading the worship in the Cathedral, the choir gives concerts in the United Kingdom and abroad, as well as broadcasts for radio and television. The Choir has toured around the world, including Australia, South America and the USA. In 2016, under Andrew Lumsden's Direction, the Choir visited Rome and Florence where they sang in a number of major churches and basilicas, including a concert in the Duomo in Florence (which is twinned with Winchester Cathedral) and singing with the Sistine Chapel Choir in the Vatican at two services in the presence of Pope Francis. In the 50th anniversary year of its release, the boy choristers recorded a CD which included a new version of the song, Winchester Cathedral, in a new arrangement by Geoff Stephens and Andrew Lumsden, the Cathedral's Director of Music. The Choir's latest recording, Angels, of the music of John Tavener was released earlier in 2019 and has been described as 'a showroom demonstration of just what boy and girl choristers singing together can achieve''.
The Winchester Cathedral Girl Choristers, founded in 1999, celebrated their 20th anniversary this year. The choir is made up of 20 girls, aged 12-17, all from schools in the Winchester and Hampshire areas. You can hear them sing a weekly Sunday service alongside our lay clerks in the Cathedral each week during term time, at major services and concerts at Christmas and Easter; and on tours, recordings and broadcasts. They are jointly directed by Andrew Lumsden and George Castle, the Assistant Director of Music. Their annual performance, with the boy choristers of Britten's Ceremony of Carols in Winchester Cathedral has become one of the best attended occasions in the Cathedral's Calendar.
For many years, the choir has been in the forefront of commissioning new compositions to enhance the services in the Cathedral. Composers invited to write for the Choir include Jonathan Harvey, Robin Holloway, James MacMillan, Tarik O'Regan, Malcolm Archer, John Rutter and Roderick Williams, as well as several pieces by Sir John Tavener which have become standard repertoire in many cathedral choirs.