Charles Harrison

About Charles Harrison

British organist and conductor Charles Harrison has maintained a strong solo career while holding directorial posts at a succession of English cathedral choirs. He has maintained the busy extra-liturgical schedule of the Chichester Cathedral Choir while making solo and concerto appearances around the British Isles and beyond. Harrison was born March 21, 1974. His interest in choral music and the organ began with a stint at Southwell Minster (cathedral) as a boy chorister himself, and in 1991 he received the organ scholarship -- a training program rather than a scholarship in the conventional sense -- at Southwell while studying at the Southwell Minster School. The following year he took on another organ scholarship, this one at Jesus College, Cambridge, and he went on to study music there. He took organ classes with David Sanger and immediately excelled; by his second year he was named a Fellow of the Royal College of Organists, and he landed a post as assistant organist at Carlisle Cathedral soon after graduating. During this period, he successfully launched a solo career, winning prizes including one at the Odense International Organ Competition in Denmark. Harrison moved to Northern Ireland in 1999 to take a position teaching organ and theory at Queen's University, Belfast; he also served as director of music at St. George's Church while he was there He returned to England in 2003 to take up a post as Assistant Director of Music and Sub Organist at Lincoln Cathedral. He remained at Lincoln, overseeing the gender integration of the choir, until 2014, when he moved to Chichester Cathedral as Organist and Master of the Choristers. There, he has continued the choir's varied set of activities, which include daily services, outside touring, educational appearances, and even a small barbershop harmony-singing group while maintaining a solo career that has included recitals in Denmark, the Netherlands, and Germany as well as the U.K.; concerto performances with the Ulster Orchestra and BBC National Orchestra of Wales; and appearances backing choirs including the BBC Singers. Harrison has appeared several times in the same capacity on recordings, releasing Lest We Forget in 2018 with the Chichester Cathedral Choir. ~ James Manheim

United Kingdom