The Cathedral church of St. Nicholas in Newcastle has a rich history of music stretching back to the early 16th Century. The church historically was where the main formal musical activities took place and in Newcastle it lay in the hands of some leading musicians of the day, who took up the post of Organist. At the entrance to the organ loft in the Cathedral are inscribed their names as:
1508 – Weddell
1631 – Thos Tunstall
1636 – John Nichols
1677 – William Hauzwell
1681 – Thomas Palmer
1687 – Samual Nichols
1719 – Thomas Powell
However, in 1736 Charles Avison, one of the most influential English concerto composers of the 18th century, was appointed organist at St Nicholas Church giving him not only a regular income, but also musical status.
At around the same time Charles Avison staged concerts in Newcastle in the name of the Newcastle Musical Society. They took the format of a series of 14 concerts – held fortnightly – each winter.
Two of Charles Avison’s sons were also Organists at St. Nicholas; Edward and Charles.
Today the proud tradition of music at St. Nicholas Cathedral continues with a Boys Choir, Girls Choir, Chamber Choir and Choral Scholars singing in six services each week under the tutorship of the Director of Music.
The wide-ranging music is carefully integrated with the magnificent liturgy of the Cathedral, encompassing some of the greatest music from the 14th Century to the present day. In addition to the regular sung services, the Choirs also participate in additional external events and tours.
Listen to The Newcastle Cathedral Choir with David Stevens and Michael Stoddart.