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Influential church musician Sir Philip Ledger passes away

Influential church musician Sir Philip Ledger passes away

THE influential church musician Sir Philip Ledger has passed away. He was 74.

Sir Philip was a composer, organist, conductor and academic whose immense talents had become clear very early. He became the youngest cathedral organist in the United Kingdom, at that time, when he was appointed at Chelmsford Cathedral in 1961 at the age of 24.

Before long he was working with Sir Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears at the famous Aldeburgh Festival.

In the mid-1970s, he became director of music at King’s College, Cambridge, from where the annual service of Nine Lessons and Carols is broadcast live across the world. He was to hold the post for eight years.

Sir Philip was made principal of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in 1982. Over the following six years he oversaw the building of the academy’s new premises — a £16m project.

Despite holding a number of academic positions for long periods during his career, Sir Philip always managed to find time for performances, recording sessions as well as working on a number of books and publications. He edited The Oxford Book of English Madrigals (1978).

He was also a respected composer and arranger. One of his last works was Requiem — A Thanksgiving for Life (2007), see below. 

Many of his arrangements, such as the carol Adam lay ybounden (see below), are loved by choirs and choral societies.

Sir Philip received his knighted in 1999 for services to music.

To hear an extract from Requiem — A Thanksgiving for Life, click here.

To listen to a performance of Adam lay ybounden , click here.

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