James Lancelot is Master of the Choristers and Organist AT Durham Cathedral, a post held since 1985.


Prior to this he was successively a Chorister of St Paul’s Cathedral, Organ Scholar of King’s College, Cambridge and Sub-Organist of Winchester Cathedral.  He studied with Ralph Downes, Gillian Weir and Nicholas Danby. 

At Durham he takes responsibility for the cathedral’s musical ministry, at whose heart are the services sung daily by the Cathedral Choir.  Under his direction the choir has maintained its reputation as one of Britain’s leading cathedral choirs; it was expanded by the recruitment and admission of a team of girl Choristers in 2009.  The choir broadcasts, records and tours regularly; but its priority is always the daily Opus Dei – daily Evensong, together with Matins and Sung Eucharist on Sundays.  While its repertoire is wide, it has not been afraid to tackle new music; it gave seven first performances in 2013.  James was also instrumental in the founding of the cathedral’s second choir, Durham Cathedral Consort of Singers.  He appeared with the Cathedral Choir in the concert series at Frankfurt Cathedral last summer.

James is a Lay Canon of the Cathedral, and Durham University Organist.  He holds Honorary Fellowship of the Royal School of Church Music, the Guild of Church Musicians, and St Chad’s College, Durham; in addition, Durham University conferred an Honorary Doctorate of Music on him in 2014.  From 1987 to 2013 he was Conductor of Durham University Choral Society.  He is immediate Past President of the Incorporated Association of Organists.  In March this year he was a recipient of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Cranmer Award for worship.

James pursues an active recital career both in Britain and abroad; he played a recital from Durham Cathedral live on BBC Radio 3 last year.  He has many recordings to his credit, including two DVDs on the organ of Durham Cathedral.  His recording of Bach’s Orgelbüchlein was released this year; a further Bach recording is planned for the autumn.