County Durham musician returns home

Daniel Cook, an internationally recognised liturgical and concert organist from the North East, has been installed as Master of the Choristers and Organist at Durham Cathedral.

He succeeds Canon Dr James Lancelot, who recently retired after 32 years in post. The ceremony took place on Sunday 17 September at the beginning of Evensong at Durham Cathedral. 

Daniel was taught the organ by former Durham Cathedral Sub-Organist Keith Wright in 1996 and 1997 and has, therefore, had a long association with Durham Cathedral. At this time he was a student at English Martyrs School and Sixth Form College Hartlepool, and was one of the original members in the Cathedral Consort of Singers, Durham Cathedral’s adult voluntary choir.

Leaving North East England to be Organ Scholar at Worcester Cathedral, Daniel then moved to London to attend the Royal Academy of Music where his teachers included James O’Donnell. Whilst at the Academy he worked as Organ Scholar at Southwark Cathedral and Westminster Abbey graduating with a first class honours in July 2003. He was subsequently Assistant Organist of Westminster Abbey, before becoming Assistant Director of Music at Salisbury Cathedral and then Organist and Master of the Choristers at St Davids Cathedral. In 2013 he returned to Westminster Abbey where he was Sub-Organist and principal organist to the Abbey Choir and Assistant Director of Music to James O’Donnell.

Daniel teaches, conducts and gives organ recitals across the UK and abroad in his free time. Such engagements have seen him travel to Australia, Italy and Germany and have included concerts with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, the BBC Singers and Onyx Brass.  CD recordings include the complete organ music of Charles Villiers Stanford, Herbert Brewer, Herbert Sumsion, George Dyson and Walter Alcock.

Daniel says, “Having learnt to play the organ on the wonderful Harrison and Harrison of Durham Cathedral, it is a huge privilege and honour to return as Master of the Choristers and Organist. I am very much looking forward to working alongside the Cathedral musicians, clergy, staff and volunteers, as well as residing in my native North East England. Succeeding a legendary musician such as James Lancelot is daunting but a challenge I am delighted to be taking on.”

The Dean of Durham, the Very Reverend Andrew Tremlett says, “We are delighted that Daniel has returned to Durham Cathedral. The installation ceremony on Sunday will be poignant to Durham Cathedral following the retirement of James Lancelot. Daniel’s previous experience finds him perfectly suited here at Durham and he will be an outstanding successor to continue and build on the legacy of James.”

Click below to listen to Ian Britton in conversation with Daniel. 

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