Daniel lands key role at Westminster

Daniel Cook inside Stranton Church
Daniel Cook inside Stranton Church

AN organist from Hartlepool is looking forward to making heavenly music after he was appointed to a prestigious new role at Westminster Abbey.

Daniel Cook, 33, who first honed his craft in his hometown, has been chosen as the abbey’s new sub-organist.

It means he will be the chosen organist for any major future events such as Royal weddings as well as playing there five times a week.

It will not be Daniel’s first experience of working at Westminster Abbey, one of London’s most well-known landmarks.

He served as assistant organist and organ scholar at the abbey between 2002 and 2005 and has worked in some of the country’s most prominent cathedrals.

Daniel, who attended English Martyrs and Hartlepool Sixth Form College, said: “It is a really wonderful opportunity to be able to work at Westminster Abbey now when its music making is of such a high quality.

“It is a real privilege. I am going back at a different level to before.

“I have been away and gained a variety of experience and now I will be able to put that experience into practice.”

He will replace Robert Quinney, who played the organ for the Royal wedding between Prince William and Kate Middleton.

Daniel, whose parents Jill and Carsten Barrett still live in Hartlepool, added: “My appointment means I will play the organ at any major occasions.”

He will also play at more low key services such as daily evensong services and conduct the abbey’s choir.

Daniel, who takes up his new role in September, was selected from a shortlist of four for the position after two days of playing, conducting the choir and interviews.

He added: “I applied because the person I’m replacing has chosen to be director of music at Peterborough Cathedral and also because I worked at Westminster Abbey as assistant organist between 2002 and 2005.

“I don’t know how many people applied for it but I imagine there would have been a lot.”

The appointment means Daniel, married to Miriam, 27, and sons William, aged three, and Edward, two, will move from Wales to London.

He has spent the last two years as organist and master of the choristers at St David’s Cathedral.

Daniel began his craft as a teenager at Hartlepool’s All Saints Church, in Stranton and also sang in local choirs.