Director of Music: Philip Rushforth

Philip Rushforth started his musical training as a chorister at Chester Cathedral. He began learning the organ with cathedral organist Roger Fisher and became an Organ Scholar in 1987. In 1991 he went up to Trinity College, Cambridge, as an Organ Scholar and worked under the direction of Dr Richard Marlow.  At Trinity, he took part in broadcasts and recordings with the world-famous college choir and toured with them extensively in Europe, Canada and the USA. His organ studies continued with David Sanger.

Upon graduation in 1994, he took up the post of Assistant Organist at Southwell Minster. During his time at Southwell he worked closely with Paul Hale and the Cathedral Choir and became the first director of the Southwell Minster Chorale.  For eight years he directed the Chorale in Southwell and further afield.

Active as a recitalist, he has performed extensively throughout the United Kingdom and in many cathedrals and concert halls - including Westminster Cathedral, St Paul’s Cathedral and King’s College, Cambridge. In September 2000, he was a finalist 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. His playing is well known across Europe and invitations to Italy have seen him perform in numerous international organ festivals.  

In September 2002, he returned to Chester Cathedral as Assistant Director of Music and was appointed Director of Music in December 2007.  Under his direction, the cathedral choirs have reached excellence. In addition to the daily worship of the cathedral, he has directed them in concert and during tours of Florida, Belgium and France.  The cathedral choirs perform regularly on BBC radio and television and Philip is a frequent director and organist for the Daily Service on Radio 4. On Christmas Day in 2009 the Sung Eucharist from the cathedral was broadcast on BBC 1.  

Philip organises the prestigious and long-running weekly organ recital series at Chester Cathedral, performing regularly as a recitalist himself. He is in constant demand as an accompanist and soloist (both on the organ and the piano) and has performed with the Chester Music Society and Chester Bach Choir. He has also appeared in the Chester Summer Music Festival, performing with David Hill and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. 

His fast growing international reputation as a recitalist was further enhanced by the release of a recording of organ music by Louis Vierne and Marcel Dupré played on the organ of Chester Cathedral. The disc received excellent reviews in music journals and on Radio 3.  Two further discs of organ music from Southwell Minster and Chester Cathedral were released in 2009, each awarded five stars by Graeme Kay in the magazine Choir and Organ.  His most recent CD release of organ music from Chester Cathedral includes Percy Whitlock’s Organ Sonata for the Priory label. This also received excellent reviews in a number of journals, including Gramophone. In addition, a DVD of the organ of Chester Cathedral has been recorded with Priory.

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