Meet the Hartlepool musician who’s taken up a top role at Durham Cathedral

Daniel Cook
Daniel Cook

Durham Cathedral has celebrated the installation of the internationally-recognised liturgical and concert organist, Daniel Cook, as the new Master of the Choristers and organist.

Having grown up in the North East and taken organ lessons from the former Durham Cathedral sub-organist Keith Wright from 1996 to 1997, it seems fitting that Daniel returns to Durham to take up the post after teaching, conducting and giving organ recitals across the world.

After completing his education at English Martyrs School and Sixth Form College Hartlepool, Daniel left the North East to be an organ scholar at Worcester Cathedral before moving to London to attend the Royal Academy of Music.

Whilst at the academy he worked as an organ scholar at Southwark Cathedral and Westminster Abbey, graduating with first-class honours in July 2003.

He was subsequently assistant organist at Westminster Abbey, before becoming assistant director of music at Salisbury Cathedral and then organist and Master of the Choristers at St David’s Cathedral.

In 2013, he returned to Westminster Abbey where he was the sub-organist, principal organist to the Abbey Choir and assistant director of music.

During his free time, Daniel’s dedication to teaching, conducting and giving organ recitals has taken him across the UK and abroad to Australia, Italy and Germany.

On his return to Durham Cathedral, Daniel said: “Having learnt to play the organ on the wonderful Harrison and Harrison of Durham Cathedral, it is a huge privilege and honour to return as Master of the Choristers and organist.

“I am very much looking forward to working alongside the cathedral musicians, clergy, staff and volunteers, as well as residing in my native North East England.”

Daniel’s admission to the role has coincided with another musical moment for the cathedral: the launch of Open Treasure’s newest temporary exhibition, Making a Joyful Noise! Music at Durham Cathedral, which opened to the public last week and traces the musical heritage of the cathedral.

The exhibition features a selection of music manuscripts and early-printed books from the cathedral’s collections, including Anglo-Saxon hymnals, medieval service books, and music used by the monastic choir.

Pieces such as medieval manuscripts dating from the 11th century, as well as several instruments and other vital pieces are also on display.

Part of the exhibition focuses especially on music composed in or especially for Durham, or by composers associated with Durham.

Durham is unusual among cathedrals in the breadth of its collections, particularly in how much material has been retained from before the Reformation.

Many of these early pieces are still in use today, although sung from modern copies of music.

•Making a Joyful Noise! Music at Durham Cathedral is part of the rolling exhibition programme within the cathedral’s new Open Treasure exhibition experience.

Tickets to Open Treasure cost from £2.50-£7.50 available online at www.durhamcathedral.co.uk