Director of Music

Christopher Rathbone is the Director of Music at St Margaret’s. He grew up in Croydon, attending Whitgift School and going from there to St Catharine’s College, Cambridge to read Music as a Choral Exhibitioner. He left with an MA and a post-graduate MusB in composition and organ performance, as well as the FRCO diploma (1969), marrying Isobel in the same year. He spent 3 years as the first-ever Assistant Organist at Carlisle Cathedral, either playing or singing for 7 services a week.

In 1973 he moved to Wiltshire as Organist and Assistant Director of Music at Marlborough College. Later on he took on the extra post of Musical Director of Swindon Opera, conducting 6 operas at the Wyvern Theatre in Swindon including 2 by Verdi and others by Mozart, Smetana, Bizet and Léhar. In 1996 he and his wife moved to Leeds, Isobel to work in a big law firm in Leeds, Christopher to freelance as organist of Meanwood Parish Church, Musical Director of Choral Societies in Morley and Saltaire, organ recitalist, pianist, singer and composer – he also maintained a large garden in Headingley and spent happy hours exploring the area with a succession of Old English Sheepdogs.

Having composed since his teenage years, he has now produced well over 120 compositions, and has a type-setter-publisher (BJM) and a record company (Amphion) to help make the music more available. Three AmphionCDs of Christopher’s music are available as well s a Meridian CD of chamber music. He also recorded an hour’s piano music on a double Amphion CD of music recorded at Castle Howard, and his music, and organ playing, have appeared on various discs in recent months.

After a two-year period in Sussex they returned to Yorkshire in 2009.

St Margaret’s excellent choir has inspired much new music from their Director, and much of the earlier church music has made an appearance on the Music Schedule – and several Friday recitals have included Christopher’s music,too.

Christopher is a former President of the Leeds Organists' Association (now member of the Bradford Association), and his website www.rathbonemusic.co.uk contains much information about his own music and forthcoming recitals etc.

For a specification of the organ, read more...

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