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Trio of talented young organists come to St Paul's

Three talented young organists have taken up roles at St Paul’s, including the Cathedral’s first ever full-time female musician and a new outreach fellow dedicated to community engagement.

Director of Music Andrew Carwood and Organist Simon Johnson, will now be joined in the Cathedral’s music department by Peter Holder as Sub Organist, Rachel Mahon as Organ Scholar and Tom Daggett as the newly created OBE Organ Outreach Fellow.

Peter Holder has combined study and practice at some of the country’s leading musical establishments. He comes to St Paul’s as Sub Organist directly from Westminster Abbey, where he was Organ Scholar during his postgraduate studies at the Royal Academy of Music. And before that he was Organ Scholar at St Albans Cathedral, whilst also at the Academy as an undergraduate.

Winner of the HRH Princess Alice the Duchess of Gloucester’s Prize for exemplary studentship, Peter’s association with the Academy will continue while at St Paul’s, through a fellowship and teaching. He already enjoys a national and international career as an organist, and brings to St Paul’s a rich experience of music-making at the very highest level.

Rachel Mahon comes to St Paul’s as the William and Irene Miller Organ Scholar having spent the past year as Organ Scholar at Truro Cathedral.

In her native Toronto, Rachel began studying the organ in 2005. She was organ scholar at 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.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) recently declared Rachel to be amongst the top 30 Canadian classical musicians under the age of 30.

Tom Daggett takes up the newly created, part-time position of OBE Organ Outreach Fellow. A former Organ Scholar of Lincoln College, Oxford, Tom has a wealth of experience in the field of outreach, principally from his association with the London Contextual Theology Centre, where he continues to work part-time. He also runs the Hackney Children’s Choir and has a deep vocation to help the disadvantaged, particularly through his own enthusiasm for and experience of music.

The creation of an Organ Outreach Fellowship is the result of detailed discussions between the Officials of the Order of the British Empire, the Cathedral Chapter and the Cathedral music department. It is a unique, pioneering project, given impetus by the new organ in the OBE Chapel, and it will encourage diversity among people using the Cathedral, identifying and working with under-represented and frequently disadvantaged groups.It is hoped that the project will develop into wider musical outreach and engagement later.

Commenting on all the new appointments, Andrew Carwood, Director of Music at St Paul’s, said: "We are delighted to welcome such a talented trio of individuals to the team at St Paul’s, where they will join a long line of fine musicians associated with the Cathedral and its outstanding collection of pipe organs, which lie at the heart of our spiritual and cultural life, outreach and mission.”