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Simon Johnson

Simon JohnsonSimon Johnson is the Organist & Assistant Director of Music at St Paul’s Cathedral.

“A brilliant and sensitive musician, achieving greatness through his calm demeanour” (Gramophone), Simon’s work as a soloist, accompanist, conductor, composer and arranger makes him one of the most versatile church musicians working today.

As well as leading the cathedral’s wide-ranging organ program, Simon accompanies the world-famous choir of men and boys and directs the Cathedral Consort. In addition to the daily round of services and events at St Paul’s, Simon has been involved in all the national occasions that have taken place there since his appointment in 2008, including at the funeral service of Baroness Thatcher and the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty the Queen and also at the celebration of her 90th birthday. He can be heard as both soloist and accompanist at St Paul’s on recordings for the Hyperion and Decca labels and last year took on the monumental project of recording Holst’s The Planets for Priory.

Outside of St Paul’s, Simon enjoys a diverse and busy freelance schedule. Recitals have taken him all over Europe and the USA, as well as to many of the premier venues in the UK. He has worked as soloist, accompanist and continuo player with the London Symphony Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, London Mozart Players, City of London Sinfonia, London Baroque, The Sixteen and The Cardinall’s Musick. Simon performed the extended organ part in the Oscar, BAFTA and Grammy award-winning musical soundtrack for The Grand Budapest Hotel.

As a director he became well-known through his work with the St Albans Abbey Girls’ Choir, leading them in several highly-acclaimed recordings and tours. Recently he has conducted Bach’s St John Passion, Duruflé’s Requiem, Bruckner’s Mass in E minor, Saint-Saëns’ Symphony No 3 and Messiaen’s L’Ascension at St Paul’s as part of the cathedral’s ongoing partnerships with leading orchestras in London.

Simon’s yearly extravaganzas for the Lord Mayor’s Show in London has seen collaborations with Jo Brand and Alistair McGowan (in Simon ‘s own arrangement of Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf, 2010, 2014), and Brian Blessed (Farrington Animal Parade, 2011).

He has taken part in the premières of works from many of the world’s leading composers including, recently, a new piece for the organ of St Paul’s by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies as part of the City of London Festival. His own commissioned Gloria for choir, brass and organ received its première in Atlanta in 2014 and has now been published by OUP.

 

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