Durham Cathedral Music

The Organists, past and present

Armes centenary

Daniel Cook
Daniel Cook

Daniel Cook is Master of the Choristers and Organist of Durham Cathedral and is recognised internationally as a liturgical and concert organist of the highest order. In addition, he is Artistic Director of Mousai. Curator of JAM on the Marsh, Musical Director of Durham University Choral Society, and maintains a busy schedule of recitals, concerts and recordings, both as performer and producer, as well as being in demand as a conductor, teacher and singer.

Prior to this Daniel spent four years as Sub-Organist of Westminster Abbey where he was the principal organist to the Abbey Choir and Assistant Director of Music to James O’Donnell. He accompanied the Abbey Choir for all major services, performed with them in concerts and on tours in Europe and the USA. as well as appearing in their famous series of recordings for Hyperion Records. He also performed with the Abbey Choir in several concerts in London, notably in Buckingham Palace and at the Royal Albert Hall, and was the organist for all of the broadcast services and concerts between 2013 and 2017.

Before moving to the Abbey, Daniel was Organist and Master of the Choristers of St Davids Cathedral and Artistic Director of the St Davids Cathedral Festival, where he was responsible for the maintenance and development of the cathedral’s musical ministry. Under his direction the Cathedral Choir made several broadcasts and recordings for BBC Radio and Television. toured
in Italy and performed with the BBC singers inthe City of London Festival. Before moving to St Davids, Daniel spent six years as Assistant Director of Music of Salisbury Cathedral where he was the principal organist. He has worked widely as a choral conductor and has been Music Director of the Dyfed Choir, the Farrant Singers, St Davids Cathedral Festival Chorus and the Grange Choral Society and Orchestra, with whom he directed many major choral works including Bach: Christmas Oratorio, Dyson: Canterbury Pilgrims, Elgar: The Dream of Gerontius, Handel: Messiah and Verdi: Requiem.

Daniel received his early musical education at Durham Cathedral with Keith Wright. Following a year as Organ Scholar at Worcester Cathedral, he moved to London to take up a place at the Royal Academy of Music where he studied with Nicolas Kynaston, James O'Donnell and Patrick Russill and participated in master classes with many of the world’s leading organists including Marie-Claire Alain, Lionel Rogg and Jon Laukvik. While at the Academy, he worked as Organ Scholar at Southwark Cathedral and Westminster Abbey before graduating with first-classhonours in July, 2003. He was subsequently Assistant Organist of Westminster Abbey from 2003 until 2005.

Daniel has twice been a finalist in the St Albans International Organ Competition. As a recitalist, he has played across the UK, Europe and Australia with performances in most of the cathedrals
in Britain, the Royal Albert Hall, the Royal Festival Hall, and in the Grand Organ Festival at Westminster Cathedral. Increasingly in demand as an ensemble performer, recent engagements have included concerts with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment in the City of London Festival, BBC National Orchestra of Wales in the St Davids Cathedral Festival, Onyx Brass in The Hythe Festival and The London Mozart Players in JAM on the Marsh. His work as an accompanist has taken him all over the world and he regularly works with many of the distinguished vocal ensembles and choral groups in the UK such as the BBC Singers, both as a conductor and organist. He has made several solo organ recordings for Priory Records and is one of their most recorded organist. Other projects have included a performance of the complete organ works of Olivier Messiaen in six recitals to celebrate the centenary of the composer’s birth,and CD recordings of the complete organ music of Charles Stanford, Herbert Brewer, Herbert Sumsion, George Dyson, Walter Alcock and William Harris. A solo DVD from Westminster Abbey will be released in 2018.

In recent years Daniel has developed a strong commitment to new music, particularly through his work as conductor, organist and panel member for the John Armitage Memorial Trust (JAM). He regularly collaborates with leading contemporary composers and has participated in first performances of works by Judith Bingham, Neil Cox, Adam Gorb, Robin Holloway, Gabriel Jackson, Matthew Martin, Paul Mealor. Philip Moore. Tarik O'Regan, Paul Patterson, Julian Philips, Giles Swayme. Judith \Yeir. James \Vhitbourn and Jeremy Woodside. In 2009 he wassoloist for a collaborative CD release of contemporary music jointly promoted by JAM and Choir and Organ magazine.

In 2013 Daniel was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music (ARAM), an award offered to past students of the Academy who have distinguished themselves in the music profession and made a significant contribution to it in their particular field.

For more information visit: www.danielcookorganist.com

Forthcoming appearances:


Francesca Massey
Francesca Massey

Francesca Massey took up the post of Sub-Organist of Durham Cathedral in September 2011. where in addition to the daily provision of music for services, she regularly accompanied the cathedral choir in concerts, tours, broadcasts and recordings. Prior to this, she was Assistant Director of Music at Peterborough Cathedral for four years.  Concert venues with the Peterborough choir included the cathedrals of Amiens, Bourges, Blois and Orléans. 

Born in Birmingham, Francesca was educated at Cambridge University and the Royal Northern College of Music (a
prestigious ABRSM Scholarship) and has held Organ Scholarships at St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge and Manchester Cathedral as well as being Assistant Organist at Great St. Mary's Church, Cambridge. At the age of 19, Francesca gained all of the top prizes in the FRCO diploma and has since been awarded the WT Best Memorial Scholarship and Silver Medal of the Worshipful Company of Musicians, and the Musicians Benevolent Fund’s Ian Fleming Award.  She has studied with Jeremy Filsell, Kevin Bowyer, David Goode and Andrew Fletcher.

Francesca performs regularly as a recitalist throughout the UK. Her debut solo disc entitled Bravura (on the Priory Records label) received excellent reviews: it was Editor’s Choice in Organists’ Review, described as a diverse and imaginative programme that is superbly played....a 'must' for all organ enthusiasts.’ Another CD featuring the organ of King’s Lynn Minster was  released in 2017. Francesca has played throughout Europe and South Africa as an accompanist, as well as recording a number of acclaimed CDs with various choirs; Gramophone Magazine describing her as a ‘hugely gifted accompanist.’ She is Assistant Musical Director of The Durham Singers and much in demand around the North East as an organ teacher.  

Francesca can be contacted via e-mail,
or by post: c/o The College, Durham DH1 3EQ.

Forthcoming appearances:


Assistant Organist:
Jason Lowe

Organ Scholar
Imogen Morgan

Previous Organists

The Cathedral Website

includes the diary of events and service music list.

The Chorister School

The Cathedral Choir

A History of Durham Choristers

Durham Cathedral Choir Association

* Shortcuts to *
A brief history of the Cathedral's organs
Father Smith gallery
The organ stoplist today
Forthcoming recital details

Maintained by Richard Hird [www.duresme.org.uk]
Last updated February 2018