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A Cathedral first as new organ scholar is appointed to St Paul's

20 March 2014

The new organ scholar of St Paul's has been appointed, and will mark a first in the Cathedral's history.


Rachel Mahon will take up the position of William and Irene Miller Organ Scholar for the 2014/15 academic year and in doing so will become the first woman to hold any organist post at St Paul's.

Rachel, a Canadian national, is currently organ scholar at Truro Cathedral, and the 24-year-old can already boast an impressive number of achievements.

In her native Toronto, Rachel began studying the organ in 2005. She was organ scholar St James' Cathedral from 2007 and in 2011 became principal organist at Timothy Eaton Memorial Church. She graduated from the University of Toronto with a bachelor of music degree.

Achievements include winning both the Royal Canadian College of Organists' 2012 young organists’ competition and the 2013 Howard Fairclough Organ Competition. In the same year she took second place in the Canadian National Organ Playing Competition.

Last year, Rachel and fellow organist Sarah Svendsen, formed Organized Crime, a duo that plays traditional and non-traditional repertoire (often in stilettos), with a focus on having fun!

At St Paul's, Rachel will join Organist Simon Johnson and Sub-Organist Timothy Wakerell, in the music department which is led by Director of Music Andrew Carwood.

Rachel said: "I am thrilled to have been appointed organ scholar at St Paul's Cathedral. It will be a privilege to work with such experienced musicians as Andrew, Simon and Timothy, in so magnificent and historical a setting. It is with great excitement that I look forward to joining them and the Cathedral Choir in September.

Andrew Carwood, said: "We are delighted to welcome Rachel to the team at St Paul’s, where she will join a long line of fine organists associated with the musical tradition at the Cathedral and its outstanding collection of pipe organs. Her organ playing at audition was superbly poised and elegant and her considerable experiences and talents as a musician will be richly valued throughout the Cathedral."

The organ scholar of St Paul's plays a full role in the musical life of the Cathedral. As well as playing for services and in recitals, duties include taking choir rehearsals, conducting and helping with departmental administration, including being the assistant choir librarian.

Rachel will take over from Richard Moore, who has held the position for the past two years.

Find out more about the organs of St Paul's Cathedral.

Rachel Mahon, St Paul's new organ scholar

Rachel Mahon, St Paul's new organ scholar   Enlarge

Rachel (right) with Sarah Svendsen as part of Organized Crime.

Rachel (right) with Sarah Svendsen as part of Organized Crime.   Enlarge

The five manuals of the Grand Organ of St Paul's

The five manuals of the Grand Organ of St Paul's   Enlarge