One of the world’s top church musicians is moving from St Paul’s in London to become master of music at Westminster Cathedral.
Simon Johnson, who has been organist and assistant director of music at the Church of England cathedral in London since 2008, will take up his new role on 1 September 2021.
During this time he has played for all the national events that have taken place there, including the Diamond Jubilee of the Queen, when a special one-off “Diamond Choir” was created giving choristers from churches nationwide the chance to sing at St Paul’s, and the funeral of Baroness Thatcher.
Previously he was assistant master of music at St Albans Cathedral, establishing the reputation of the girls’ choir. His first job was as director of music at All Saints’ church in Northampton.
Simon is an active recitalist throughout the USA and Europe and also enjoys orchestral conducting. His compositions are published by OUP and Peters. In 2018 he addressed the symposium of the Pontifical Council for Culture in Rome and in the same year he worked with NASA and the International Space Station in a sell-out performance of Holst’s The Planets at St Paul’s.
He said: “I am tremendously excited to have been appointed to this prestigious post. The choir of Westminster Cathedral occupies a truly unique position in the world of church music and I look forward to becoming a part of such a precious liturgical and musical tradition.”
His appointment follows a traumatic period at Westminster Cathedral and indicates the a new phase for worshippers and clerics there to look forward to as churches open up after the pandemic and the choristers return at the start of the new school year.
Fr Slawomir Witon, Cathedral Administrator, said: “I am very pleased that Simon has accepted the appointment to be the new master of music at our cathedral. I am very confident that Simon’s outstanding musicianship and extensive experience will sustain and develop further our provision of sacred music of the highest quality at the service of the Church, in accordance with the Charter for Sacred Music in the Mission of the Cathedral established by the Cardinal. I am very much looking forward to welcoming Simon to our cathedral team.”