Westminster Abbey has announced that Andrew Nethsingha is to become its new Organist and Master of the Choristers from the beginning of 2023. He will replace James O’Donnell, who departs the Abbey at Christmas for a new position at Yale in the US.
In taking up his new position, Nethsingha will be leaving his current role as director of music at St John’s College, Cambridge, where he has been a huge success in his 15 years in post. Since taking over from David Hill in 2007, he has taken the Cambridge choir from strength to strength, with a string of highly acclaimed recordings ranging from familiar works by Mozart and Vaughan Williams to lesser-known repertoire and composers from the present-day – commissioning new music has been a hallmark of Nethsingha’s time in charge.
He will be taking over at a choir that is in equally fine fettle. Widely regarded as one of the world’s most able choirmasters, James O’Donnell has been at Westminster Abbey since 2000, when he made the short journey over from Westminster Cathedral. The choir’s recordings for the Hyperion label, not least of British music from the Renaissance and early-20th century, have also enjoyed rave reviews. High-profile occasions to have taken place under his watch include the marriage of Prince William and Catherine Middleton in 2011.
Commenting about his new appointment, Nethsingha, who was previously at Gloucester and Truro cathedrals, says that ‘it will be a great privilege to contribute to the worship in a building of such beauty and historical significance. Following the work of his eminent predecessors, James O’Donnell has created a choir of enormous distinction’.
We named The Choir of Westminster Abbey one of the best cathedral and abbey choirs across the UK
Image by Ben Phillips
Jeremy Pound is currently BBC Music Magazine’s Deputy Editor, a role he has held since 2004. Before that, he was the features editor of Classic CD magazine, and has written for a colourful array of publications ranging from Music Teacher to History Revealed, Total Football and Environment Action; in 2018, he edited and co-wrote The King’s Singers: Gold 50th anniversary book.