Church Music History

The present church was built in 1817 and one of the first organists was Charles Wesley Jr (son of the famous hymnwriter; he lived from 1757 to 1834 – St Marylebone was his final appointment). Later on in the same century, Sir John Stainer wrote his famous oratorio, The Crucifixion, for the choir of the church. Written in 1887, it has been performed every year since then. Stainer would have known a large choir of men and boys. Two world wars, however, changed the demography of this area considerably, and so in the 1970s it was decided to form a professional choir (initially a quintet to support the amateur choir, but subsequently augmented to ten singers when it replaced the amateur choir, at which size it has remained to this day). The Director of Music at this time was the distinguished musician Michael Howard. He was succeeded in 1980 by Catherine Ennis (having spent two years as his assistant), who oversaw the commissioning of the new Rieger organ in 1987. Charles_Wesley_1

Peter Barley, arrived in 1991 as assistant to Catherine Ennis and succeeded her early in 1991 as Director. He was responsible, with the support of the church and the Friends of St Marylebone Music, for the annual commission of a new anthem from a young composer. this project began in 1993 and each composer has been a former student of the Royal Academy of Music. Peter is currently Organist and Master of the Choristers at St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin. He was succeeded by Steven Grahl, was appointed as assistant to Peter Barley in March 2001. The current Director of Music is Gavin Roberts.

Stephen Storace Biog