Musician in Residence
One of the great blessings at Christ Church is the Letty Downs Musician in Residence Program. The Musician in Residence Program began in 1983 and brings a world-renowned musician to Christ Church each year. And what stellar people we have had working in our midst: Stephen Cleobury, Gerre Hancock, Sir Philip Ledger, James Litton, Andrew Lumsden, Philip Moore, James O’Donnell, Simon Preston, Christopher Robinson, John Rutter, and Sir David Willcocks. All have rehearsed and directed the Christ Church Choir; some have presented lectures, seminars, and organ recitals; and others have included a premiere or a commission. With great thanks to Letty Downs' vision and the generous support of the Letty Downs Musician in Residence Fund, we continue this tradition today.
For the 2016-17 Season, we welcomed Mr. Michael McCarthy as our Musician in Residence the weekend of April 1-2, 2017. Michael was appointed Music Director of the Washington National Cathedral in 2003 and oversees the Cathedral's expanding music program, as well as serves as principal choirmaster.
Michael was the founder and director of the London Oratory School Schola. Founded in 1996, the Schola quickly became one of London's premier boys' concert choirs, performing regularly on the London concert platform and in the studio for both the recording and film industries. Michael directed the Schola in recordings for films including Sleepy Hollow, The Lord of the Rings Cycle, and Harry Potter.
A graduate of Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Michael has worked with numerous
professional choirs including the Sixteen, the Gabrieli Consort, and the Monteverdi Choir. In January 2002 he became the choir manager for the Monteverdi Choir. His experience directing young choristers includes duties as lay clerk at Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford and Saint Alban's Abbey in Hertfordshire. He also served as master of music at Saint Benedict’s Abbey, Ealing prior to beginning the London Oratory School.
After studying at the Royal College of Music, Philip Moore was Assistant Music Master and Organist at Eton College and became Assistant Organist at Canterbury Cathedral in 1968. In 1974 Philip was appointed Organist and Master of the Choristers at Guildford Cathedral. He succeeded Francis Jackson in 1983 as Organist and Master of the Music at York Minster, a post he held until his retirement in 2008. In 2015 he began a two-year term as President of the Royal College of Organists. Dr. Moore has composed works for organ, including instrumental works, cantatas for choir and orchestra, and many pieces of Church music.
James Litton is widely regarded as one of America's most prominent choral conductors. A specialist in children's choral techniques and an accomplished organist, he has conducted The American Boychoir in 49 states and 12 nations in more than 2,000 concerts during his 14-year tenure as Music Director. Dr. Litton has conducted choral and orchestral works throughout five continents and regularly leads workshops and seminars in the United States and abroad. Most recently, Dr. Litton served as a Festival Conductor for the America Fest International Singing Festival for Men and Boys, where the American Boychoir served as Artists-in-Residence during the summer of 1998. He is the founder of a large number of choral groups, including community choral ensembles, college, church, and school choirs. He has conducted on more than 40 recordings, including American Boychoir releases on Angel Records and several independently produced albums for other recording labels. Prior to his appointment at The American Boychoir School, Dr. Litton held positions at Westminster Choir College, Princeton Theological Seminary, Virginia Theological Seminary, and The University of the South. A former member of the Episcopal Church's Standing Commission on Church Music, he participated in the preparation and publication of the Episcopal Hymnal, 1982. For 13 years, Dr. Litton was the Organist and Director of Music at St. Bartholomew's Church in New York City, where he now serves as Artistic Consultant.