Martin Neary, LVO will be our guest conductor at the 10AM service on Sunday, October 21.
Martin Neary was Organist and Master of Music at Winchester Cathedral (1972-87) and Westminster Abbey (1988-98). As a Chapel Royal Chorister, he sang at the Queen’s Coronation in 1953, and he was later Organ Scholar of Caius College, Cambridge. He was a prize-winner at the first St Alban’s International Organ Competition in 1963, and made his first visit to the USA that year as a student at Tanglewood. He soon became recognised as a concert organist, playing at the Royal Festival Hall and touring widely. In 2004 he was organ soloist at the First Night of the BBC Proms.
As conductor, Martin Neary championed contemporary composers, and in particular commissioned liturgical works from John Tavener and Jonathan Harvey, many receiving their first performances at Winchester. His numerous recordings include a Purcell CD: Music for Queen Mary with the Abbey Choir, nominated for a Grammy. With the Winchester and Westminster Choirs he made 25 foreign tours, including performances in the Kremlin and Carnegie Hall.
Martin Neary continues his career as organist, conductor, composer and writer, founding the English Chamber Singers, with whom he toured Australia, and the RSCM Millennium Youth Choir. In 2005 he directed John Tavener’s all night Veil of the Temple at the Holland Festival, and in 2007 he founded the West-Coast based Millennium Consort Singers, who have appeared at Disney Hall. He is Chief Guest Conductor of the Grand Rapids Choir of Men and Boys. Among his compositions are Mass of the Redeemer, commissioned by the Church of the Redeemer, Bethesda, Maryland, and the setting for this morning’s service.
Martin Neary has twice served as President of the Royal College of Organists, and is Chairman of the Herbert Howells Society. Among his awards are Honorary Membership of the Association of Anglican Musicians (1997), a Lambeth Doctorate of Music (2012) and his appointment as Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order, in recognition of his services at the funeral of Princess Diana.