Philip Rushforth

Philip RushforthPhilip Rushforth began his musical training as a chorister at Chester Cathedral where he began learning the organ with Cathedral Organist, Roger Fisher: he became Organ Scholar in 1987. In 1991 he went up to Trinity College, Cambridge, as Organ Scholar working under the direction of Dr Richard Marlow. At Trinity he broadcast and recorded frequently 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, working closely with Paul Hale and the Minster Choir; he also 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 throughout the United Kingdom, 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. He has won many recital awards, including performances at St John’s, Smith Square and at the Dublin International Organ and Choral Festival.

Philip's playing is well-known in the continent of Europe, and invitations to Italy have seen him perform in several international organ festivals in Rome, Lake Como and Senigallia; in September 2007 he played in the International Organ Festival in Sens, France. 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 a very high standard of excellence, and in addition to the daily worship of the Cathedral, he has directed them in UK concerts, on CD, and in tours of Florida, Belgium and France. They are to be heard regularly on BBC Radio and Television, and on Christmas Day in 2009, BBC 1 televised live the Cathedral Sung Eucharist. Philip has commissioned choral works for Chester Cathedral Choir from Howard Skempton, Francis Pott and Matthew Martin. In December 2012, Gramophone magazine said of the choir’s CD recording of Christmas music that it was “the most appealing of any cathedral recording [I’ve] heard this year”.

Philip Rushforth organises the prestigious and long running weekly organ recital series at Chester Cathedral, performing regularly as a recitalist. He is in constant demand as an accompanist and soloist, both on organ and piano, performing with the Chester Music Society and Chester Bach Choir, and has appeared in the Chester Summer Music Festival as a recitalist and soloist, performing with David Hill and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. He is a regular director and organist for the Daily Service on BBC Radio 4.

His fast-growing international reputation as a recitalist, whose playing exemplifies virtuosity and musicianship, has been still further enhanced by his recording of organ music by Louis Vierne and Marcel Dupré played on the organ of Chester Cathedral – a disc which received excellent reviews in music journals and on BBC 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. Other releases of organ music from Chester Cathedral include Percy Whitlock’s Organ Sonata on the Priory label, and a DVD of The Grand Organ of Chester Cathedral was released in 2012, again receiving excellent reviews in a number of international music journals.