THE Dean of Winchester Cathedral has said that it is working to address concerns over the future of music at the cathedral - and has committed to investing £850,000 into improving it. 

As previously reported, fears have been expressed after the departure of organist Andrew Lumsden, director of music, shortly after organist Claudia Grinnell and in 2021 George Castle.

The Very Reverend Catherine Ogle, Dean of Winchester. said: “We want people to know we’re listening to the concerns expressed around the management of cathedral music, including concerns about the culture. We are actively working on addressing these and will communicate more in the near future.”

Andrew LumsdenAndrew Lumsden (Image: Winchester Cathedral)

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The cathedral has said that investment in music at the cathedral will rise to £850,000 this year, a 36 per cent increase since before the Covid-19 pandemic, with the majority of the money being invested in the cathedral choir.

It has also been pledged that the cathedral will fill all vacant posts as soon as possible, but “not at the expense of rigour and excellence”.

Andrew Lucas will take up the role of interim director of music in September, stepping into the role held by Dr Andy Lumsden when he leaves at the end of July.

The recruitment process will then begin for a permanent director of music, a second sub organist, and filling all vacant Lay Clerk posts to return to the full complement of 12 adult singers. Consultations with the current Lay Clerks on the terms around their contributions will be finalised by July 1.

This investment is on top of recent enhanced bursaries, training, music and activities for the girl choristers.

Dean Catherine said: “The great Anglican choral tradition is fundamental to our worship.

“We want that tradition to flourish, to grow in scale, and to be the means of engaging and reaching more people.  

SEE ALSO: Fears for the future of music in Winchester Cathedral

“This is to build on the pioneering traditions represented by the founding and development of the girls’ choir 25 years ago, and in recent times, the cathedral junior choir.”

The cathedral has also revealed that of the budget relating to new investments in the music department of £108,000, 85 per cent will go to building back the main cathedral choir.

Next month from Wednesday, July 10 to Friday, July 12, the cathedral will host the Southern Cathedrals Festival which will bring together the choirs of Chichester, Salisbury and Winchester Cathedrals, to offer choral and organ music performed to audiences.