Philip Arkwright - Organist & Master of the Music
In September 2013, Philip was appointed Organist and Master of the Music at the Abbey. Philip, originally born in St Helens, Merseyside, spent the previous twelve years at Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King.
Philip graduated from Liverpool Hope University, with a combined honours degree in Theology and Religious Studies, with Music. During his time at university, Philip was Organ Scholar at the University St Catherine’s Chapel, and also sang as a Choral Scholar at the Metropolitan Cathedral.
After graduation, Philip was appointed Organ Scholar at the Cathedral for two years, which then led to his subsequent appointment as Assistant Organist.
During this time, Philip was pleased to be involved in many areas of the liturgical life of the cathedral; as well as the daily opus Dei (the daily round of choral services), Philip participated in television and radio broadcasts, CD recordings, concerts, and choir tours to Canada, Germany, France, Holland and Ireland, as well as venues in the United Kingdom.
In 2008, Philip embarked upon an exciting project, in conjunction with the Cathedral Choir School, to found a choir of girl choristers, giving girls the opportunity to benefit from a chorister education. The girls’ choir very quickly matured, and under his direction was recognised as the leading choir of girl choristers in the country. The girls’ choir also developed a series of broadcasts, recordings and tours. Interestingly, the last tour Philip organised with the girls’ choir and lay clerks of the cathedral, was to Buckfast Abbey. Philip was pleased that the Abbey was the last place he ever conducted the girls’ choir, in his new post! Philip is incredibly excited to start work at the Abbey, and has many plans to develop the musical tradition at the Abbey.
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Appointed Assistant Organist at the Abbey in September 2016. He was formally the Organist and Assistant Director of Music at the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King, Liverpool.
He studied at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester and Christ’s and Notre Dame College in Liverpool and was Organ Scholar at Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral studying with Noel Rawsthorne, Terence Duffy and Philip Duffy. He was then Organist at the Church of St. Oswald and St Edmund Arrowsmith, Ashton-in-Makerfield, Lancashire.
He was appointed Organist at the Cathedral in 1999 working with Mervyn Cousins, Keith Orrell, Terence Duffy, Timothy Noon and Christopher McElroy. He directed for many years Wigan Choral Society, the Brixi Singers, and the Metropolitan Cathedral Cantata Choir. He has made numerous broadcasts and has recorded three discs of the music of Lefébure Wély (featured in BBC Radio 2’s The Organist Entertains), the complete organ works of the Welsh composer William Mathias and the World Premiere recording of Sir John Tavener’s Requiem (on EMI with the RLPO and Choir conducted by Vasily Petrenko).
Reviews include - ‘it is Richard Lea’s superb playing that steals the show’ (Organists’ Review)’ ‘really first rate playing’, ‘masterful’ (Gramophone), ‘Here is music and playing that will lift your spirits (American Organist), ‘the performances are brilliant…and genuinely moving’ (International Record Review), ‘exemplary performances – 5 stars’ (Orgelnieuws). He has recently released a DVD, receiving great reviews – ‘Bravado performances’, ‘This is one of the most outstanding instrumental releases on DVD this year’ (International Record Review), ‘Virtuosic and riveting’, ‘Highly recommended’ (Organists’ Review).
Appointed Assistant Master of the Music at Buckfast Abbey in September 2016.
Domenico is a postgraduate student at the Royal College of Music in London, studying organ with David Graham and Margaret Phillips, piano with Nigel Clayton and continuo with Robert Wolley.
He is an RCM Scholar supported by the John Birch Award and a Pamela Larkin Award.
Native born of Messina, Sicily, he read classics at the National University and attended the local conservatoire, studying both piano and composition.
As an undergraduate he also trained at the RCM, studying organ with David Graham, piano with Kathron Sturrock, and organ improvisation with Sophie-Veronique Cauchefer-Choplin.
In London he held the Organ Scholarship at the Church of the Immaculate Conception at Farm Street, Mayfair, home of the renowned choir ‘The Farm Street Singers’, and performed as a soloist for the RCM in venues such as St. Paul’s Cathedral, Alexandra Palace, Southwark Cathedral and St. George’s Church, Hanover Square among others.
During these years he was generously supported by The Nicholas Danby Trust, the Royal College of Organists and the Italian Cultural Association.
He is the Music Scholar of the Evangelische Lutherkirche Italie, Sizilien Gemeinde, and the Titular Organist of the Lutheran Church in Messina.
He has collaborated as an author and translator with the Poetry Society of London and with the Faculty of Modern Literatures of his home town university, and has mentored as a Classics and Italian Literature tutor at Latymer School for Boys, London.
He was awarded the ‘Rome Montale’ prize for poetry in July 2012.