Director of Music
Damian Howard began his musical training as a chorister at Lichfield Cathedral. He gained a Music Scholarship to Sedbergh School before entering the Royal Northern College of Music in 1993 where he studied Organ (with Gordon Stewart and Matthew Owens), Harpsichord and Piano as well as holding down the prestigious position of Organ Scholar of Blackburn Cathedral. Having gained the Cronshaw Award for playing, he completed postgraduate training at Durham University. In 1998 he became Organ Scholar of Lincoln Cathedral mentored by Colin Walsh. During 1997-2005 he won funding from the Eric Thompson Trust to study the organ with Professor Marie-Louise Langlais at the Conservatoire Nationale Superior de Musique, Paris.
He has given many recitals, those recently include Bath Abbey, St. Asaph, Blackburn, Chester and the Swaledale and Ribchester International Festivals performing with the Cheetham’s School of Music Choir and artists such as, Rachel Little, Sarah Fox (Kathleen Ferrier Award Winner) and John Christos. He has performed on radio as well as television even reaching acclaim and review in the Washington post for his interpretation. A player and teacher in demand he was a visiting Organist/Choral trainer to Kendal Parish Church working with its Choir and Choral Societies and has further been an accompanist to the Northern Cathedral Singers. He has been a Tutor in Organ, Harpsichord, Piano and specialist in Early Music studies at Sedbergh School where he was also formerly the School Organist and Assistant Director of Chapel Music.
He is acknowledged as a leading authority on the music and compositions of the French composer-organist Jean Langlais (1907-91). He has also premiered commissioned new works by Dr. Francis Jackson, John Barnard and Malcolm Archer. He has recently gained a merit in the completion of a Master’s thesis exploring confidence and appreciation levels and the health benefits attached to Chorister singing in Northern Catholic Cathedrals.
In January 2008, Damian began his present post of Titulair-Organist and Director of Music at St. Peter’s Cathedral, Lancaster where he presides over the Cathedral Ladies Choir, the Cathedral Boy and Girl Choristers, Cantors and the Diocesan Choirs.
Music Staff –
Clement Lee -
Marianne Hil l- Marianne is a former Chorister of the Cathedral and currently studying at Ripley St. Thomas Academy. She has singing lessons with Linda Harvey. She regularly conducts the Cathedral Choristers, Cantors at Mass, performs with the Cathedral Ladies Choir and is the Young Persons Representative in our team.
Joan Johnson – (pictured with Francis Jackson). Joan was a pupil and Assistant Organist to Dr Dixon. She was Organist/ Choirmaster of Barnard Castle Parish Church until 2013. She visits the Cathedral often and helps with services when required.
Cathedral Instrumentalists – Our Cathedral Brass usually plays at large services as well as Christmas and Easter celebrations. It is headed up by Jeff Cunningham an excellent player in his own right. We are also privileged to have his son Harry (from the RNCM) and professional players Stella Fitzgerald (Lakeland Brass) and virtuoso Peter Crompton.
Other visiting instrumentalists include Hannah Jackson (Flute) and Sue McFadden (Oboe) who again play for Ecumenical and Festive Masses.
Distinguished Organists who have given recitals at the Cathedral in the past include Sir William Harris (St George’s Chapel, Windsor), the late Carlo Curley (American Virtuoso), Dr. Francis Jackson (Organist Emeritus York Minster), Colin Walsh (Lincoln Cathedral) and Martin Baker (Westminster Cathedral).
Former Cantors have gone on to serve as Choral Scholars at other Cathedrals those include Brendan Harris (Newcastle Anglican Cathedral), whilst others such as Michael Ramsden and John Williams have acted as Assistant Organists at their respective Oxford Colleges.
Shop – The Life of Dr. Dixon – Joan Johnson/ Chas Limited Edition print of the Cathedral (to raise money for the Music Fund) available from the Cathedral Shop. Adoremus Te – the Cathedral Ladies CD with works by Rheinberger, Vierne and Dubois (2012) available but in limited stock.
Media – Cathedral Ladies - organ
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