Date: 04.08.15 Tuesday
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.
Turku Cathedral International Organ Concerts
Eerikinkatu 3 A PL 922
Puh. (02) 261 7111