Renowned organist recital at Cathedral

Martin White, organist
Martin White, organist

One of the country’s most respected organists, Martin White FRCO, will be giving an organ recital in St Columb’s Cathedral this Friday evening, April 29, beginning at 7.30pm.

Mr White is the former organist and Master of the Choristers for Armagh Cathedral, a post he held from 1968 to 2002. Mr White is a graduate of the Royal Academy of Music recognised as an outstanding player and most accomplished improviser. He took his Music Teacher’s Certificate at the University of London Institute of Education, 1965-6. He took the FRCO diploma in 1965 and that of CHM (with John Brook Prize for Choir-Training) in 1967.

He was made an Honorary Lay Canon of The Church of Ireland in 2004 in recognition of his tremendous service to the musical and choral tradition in Armagh Cathedral.

In addition to the recital, on Saturday morning, beginning at 10am, Martin will be sharing some ideas with musicians on organ accompaniment, improvisation in a liturgical context, and various other matters as well.

The Dean of Derry, Dr William Morton, extends a very warm invitation to all who would like to come along.

Born Southall, Middlesex 26 December 1941. White was educated at the Mercers’ School, Holborn, 1953-8, the Royal Academy of Music, 1961-5, In 1960 he became organist of Ruislip Priory Church, Middlesex, and from 1963 to 1968 he was organist of Harrow Parish Church. He took the degree of MusB from Trinity College, Dublin in 1988.

In May 1968, he was appointed as Organist and Master of the Choristers at Armagh, having been selected from eighteen candidates (the post attracted 52 enquiries at this time).

He taught in Armagh Technical College and Armagh Girls’ High School and was organiser of Craigavon Music Centre. His compositions include a setting of the Communion Service called ‘A Celtic Eucharist’ which was performed at the inauguration of the Church of Ireland’s Alternative Prayer Book, which was marked by a special service in Armagh Cathedral in October 1984. He is also an excellent improviser.

During the early 1970s, civil disturbances, which could easily have led to the disbanding of the choir, were overcome by moving choir practices to the Royal School.

Martin White’s work in keeping the choir going through this period must be acknowledged. His practical skills ensured many repairs and alterations to the cathedral organ over the years, and credit must be given to his efforts and advice in bringing about the major rebuild undertaken to this instrument in 1996.

In 2004 he was made Honorary Lay Canon in recognition of his contribution to the life of the Cathedral.