John Scott

Date: 04.08.15 Tuesday
Time: 20

John Scott was born in Wakefield, Yorkshire, where he became a Cathedral chorister.

While still at school he gained the diplomas of the Royal College of Organists winning the

major prizes. In 1974 he became Organ Scholar of St. John’s College, Cambridge, where

for four years he acted as assistant to Dr. George Guest and held the University John

Stewart of Rannoch Scholarship in Sacred Music. His organ studies were with Jonathan

Bielby, Ralph Downes, and Dame Gillian Weir. He made his debut in the 1977 Promenade

Concerts in the Royal Albert Hall, playing Reubke’s Sonata on the 94th Psalm. He was the

youngest organist to appear as a soloist in the Proms.

On leaving Cambridge, he was appointed Assistant Organist at London’s two Anglican

Cathedrals, St Paul’s and Southwark. During this time he won first prizes from the

Manchester and Leipzig J. S. Bach International Organ Competitions in 1978 and 1984


In 1985 he became Sub-Organist of St Paul’s Cathedral, becoming Organist and Director

of Music there in 1990 until 2004.

As an organist, John Scott has performed in five continents, premiered many new works

written for him, and worked with various specialist ensembles. In November 1989 he

inaugurated the new Rieger organ in the Hong Kong Cultural Centre and in 1990, he was

one of five international Cathedral organists invited to play in Washington National

Cathedral to celebrate the completion of the Cathedral. In recent years, recital

engagements have included venues in the USA, UK, Germany, Holland, Denmark,

Switzerland, Italy, South Africa, Slovakia, Australia and New Zealand. Highlights have

included recitals in the Thomaskirche, Leipzig, Symphony Hall, Birmingham, Notre Dame

in Paris, St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna, the Aarhus Organ Festival in Denmark,

Cologne Cathedral, Disney Hall in Los Angeles, London’s Royal Albert Hall, Royal Festival

Hall, Westminster Abbey, Westminster Cathedral, St Paul’s Cathedral and King’s College,

Cambridge. At St Paul’s he played a complete cycle of the organ works of J.S. Bach in

2000 and followed this in subsequent years with the organ symphonies of Vierne and

Widor, as well as the complete organ works of Franck and Buxtehude. At St Thomas, Fifth

Avenue, New York, he has performed complete cycles of the organ works of Buxtehude in

2007, Messiaen in 2008 and the six organ symphonies of Louis Vierne in 2009. In 2014,

he was one of the featured organists in the re-opening Gala and subsequently gave the

first solo recital on the restored organ in London’s Royal Festival Hall and gave the

opening recital of the organ in the new Musikkens Hus in Aalborg, Denmark. In June, he

gave the premiere of Nico Muhly’s ‘Patterns’ for the American Guild of Organists National

Convention in Boston.

In addition to his work as a conductor and organist, John Scott has published a number of

choral compositions and arrangements and he has jointly edited two compilations of

liturgical music for the Church’s year, published by Oxford University Press.


John Scott’s many recordings include the organ sonatas of Elgar, organ music by William Mathias, Duruflé and Mendelssohn, as well as two discs of music by Dupré. He has also recorded the solo organ part in Janacek’s Glagolitic Mass with the London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas. He recently made a recording at the organ of Washington’s National Cathedral for the JAV label.

In 1998 he was nominated International Performer of the Year by the New York Chapter of the American Guild of Organists. He is a Past President of the Incorporated Association of Organists and he has been a member of a number of international competition juries, including those in Manchester, Dublin, Chartres, Dallas, St. Albans, Erfurt and the Bach/Liszt Competition in Weimar.

In the summer of 2004, after a 26 year association with St Paul’s Cathedral, he took up the post of Organist and Director of Music at St Thomas Church, Fifth Avenue, New York, where he directs the renowned choir of men and boys. He was awarded the LVO in the New Years Honours List of 2004, a personal gift from HM Queen Elizabeth II, in recognition of his work at St Paul’s Cathedral. He was awarded an honorary doctorate from Nashotah House Seminary in Wisconsin in 2007.

Contact details

Turku Cathedral International Organ Concerts

Eerikinkatu 3 A PL 922
20101 Turku
Puh. (02) 261 7111