Ashley's Farewell organ recital
Organ fans will be out in force on Saturday 7 July at 5.30pm to hear Gloucester Cathedral’s Assistant Director of Music, Ashley Grote, perform his farewell organ recital at Gloucester before taking up the position of Director of Music at Norwich Cathedral in August.
Ashley has won a loyal following from within the Cathedral community and more widely in the local musical world due to his work with the St Cecilia Singers, the Ross on Wye Choral Society and the Edington Festival of Music. National recognition came last year when he was nominated by the Royal College of Organists to be presented to the Queen in a reception celebrating young people in the performing arts. In April, Ashley conducted the Cathedral Youth Choir in his own arrangement of Lord of the Dance for BBC Radio 4’s Easter morning Sunrise Service.
Ashley said “It has been a huge privilege to play the organ at Gloucester for the past four and a half years. It is one of the most thrilling Cathedral organs in the country, and I will miss it! I have had many exciting opportunities and am very grateful to my colleagues and friends here for their support.”
The programme of music by Walton, Mozart, Franck and Vierne will include Walton’s Coronation March ‘Orb and Sceptre’ and Mozart’s Fantasia in F minor k.594
Director of Music, Adrian Partington commented: “Since his arrival in Gloucester in April 2008, Ashley has presented a series of brilliant organ recitals. His last one in his current post (this coming Saturday) is certain to match the standards of the previous few! There will be a large and appreciative audience.” He added: “Gloucester Cathedral has been lucky to have Ashley as its Assistant Organist for four exciting years. He is one of a line of sensational young players who have graced our beautiful and unique cathedral organ; he succeeded the flamboyant Rob Houssart, and is shortly to be succeeded by the equally-gifted Anthony Gowing, whose own playing – particularly his improvising – is dazzling.”
The performance will be projected into the Nave via a large screen.
Admission is free with a retiring collection in aid of Cathedral Music.
In September the Cathedral will welcome Anthony Gowing as the new Assistant Director of Music. Anthony is currently Assistant Director of Music at Sheffield Cathedral, and Director of the Cathedral’s Schola Cantorum. He said “I am delighted to take up this exciting position and to be working alongside some world class musicians. I am also very much looking forward to playing on the wonderful Gloucester Cathedral organ which I have completely fallen in love with – it’s unlike any other Cathedral organ.”
Ashley Grote is Assistant Director of Music at Gloucester Cathedral, where he plays the organ for services and accompanies the Cathedral choir in their busy schedule of concerts, tours and broadcasts. He assists the Director of Music in the running of the Cathedral choir, and conducts the Cathedral’s flourishing Youth Choir who sing evensong weekly. In addition to his work at the Cathedral, Ashley is accompanist to Gloucester Choral Society and the Three Choirs Festival Chorus, Musical Director of the Ross on Wye Choral Society and Conductor of the St Cecilia Singers. He is also Director of the annual Edington Festival of Music within the Liturgy which brings together over sixty musicians from Cathedral and College choirs across the UK.
A former Organ scholar of King’s College, Cambridge, Ashley was Assistant Organist of Westminster Abbey before moving to Gloucester in April 2008. During his time at the Abbey, he took part in many prestigious events that included the service celebrating the Diamond Wedding of HM The Queen.
Described as a ‘sensitive and expressive’ musician (The Sunday Telegraph), Ashley has performed throughout the UK, USA and Europe and Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris as well in Cathedrals across the UK. His debut solo recording of Organ Symphonies by Louis Vierne was released earlier this year by Acclaim Productions. He was a prize winner at the Dublin International Organ Competition in 2005, a semi-finalist in the St Albans International Organ Competition in 2007, and has held the prestigious W.T. Best scholarship from the Worshipful Company of Musicians of whom he is a Freeman.