Info & track listings
Benjamin Saunders was born in Warrington and educated at George Heriots School in Edinburgh. He received his first organ lessons at the age of sixteen at St Marys Metropolitan Cathedral, Edinburgh and two years later won an Organ Scholarship to Downing College, Cambridge, where he studied with Peter Hurford.
Upon graduating, he held organist posts at the Cathedrals of St Giles Edinburgh, Blackburn, and Chester. In 2002, Saunders was appointed Director of Music for the Diocese of Leeds, leading the department at Leeds Cathedral, which is now the centre of Englands largest choral outreach programme. During this time, he has been privileged to act as consultant and advisor to a number of the UKs other musically pre-eminent cathedrals and schools.
As an organist, he aims to present a varied and accessible programme to delight audiences both young and old, be they new to organ music or lifelong devotees of the instrument. His solo repertoire includes classical, popular and jazz works, some familiar and others new or recently rediscovered. He has also transcribed many orchestral works for the organ and these arrangements often form a popular part of his concert programmes.
Saunders has performed to HM the Queen, Princess Anne and US President Carter and worked with conductor Carl Davis and jazz virtuoso Dick Hyman. Solo tours have led him to give organ recitals in France, Italy, Holland, Germany, Austria, Slovenia, the United States and Russia. Further details of forthcoming concerts can be found on his website at http://www.directorofmusic.org.
The Grand Organ of Leeds Cathedral was completed early in 2010 and inaugurated on 16th May by Benjamin Saunders. Musically, the Cathedral is the centre of the largest choral outreach programme in the UK, involving some 1300 children in weekly singing tuition, and is one of only three English Catholic cathedrals to maintain daily sung services of Vespers and Mass. Its central situation and wonderful acoustic make the Cathedral a dramatic liturgical setting and an attractive concert venue within the city.
The original organ was built specifically for the Cathedral in 1904 by Norman and Beard. Following a period of silence of around 30 years, Johannes Klais Orgelbau was chosen to reconstruct and enlarge the instrument to serve the requirements of the restored Cathedral and the new position of the choir at the East End.
Rather than follow the well trodden path of producing yet another eclectic organ, supposedly capable of playing any repertoire, it was decided to pursue the artistic ideal of an instrument of great character in harmony with the spirit of an Edwardian Arts and Crafts building, and within the embrace of the richness of the Catholic liturgical tradition. The organs design and development were under the supervision of Benjamin Saunders and consultant David Sanger.
|1||08:57||Cathédrales||Louis Vierne (1870-1937)|
|2||06:39||Trivium||Arvo Part (1935)|
|3||03:40||Playful Pizzicato (Simple Symphony)||Benjamin Britten (1913-76), arr. Saunders|
|4||10:09||Passacaglia||Christophore Kushnariov (1890-1960)|
|5||07:26||Fugue||Christophore Kushnariov (1890-1960)|
|6||08:52||Satyagraha||Philip Glass (1937), arr. Riesman|
|7||07:46||Psalm Prelude (Set 1, No.3)||Herbert Howells (1892-1983)|
|8||12:02||Largo (‘New World’ Symphony)||Antonin Dvorak (1841-1904), arr. Saunders|
|9||06:34||Marche Triomphale||Alexandre Guilmant (1837-1911)|