St Chad’s Cathedral Choir dates from 1841, when the Cathedral was opened. In 1854, John Hardman set up an endowment for the choir, the first English catholic choir to be supported in this way and this long and distinguished choral tradition continues today. In 2000, a re-organisation resulted in the establishment of a professional adult choir to sing at the principal services in the cathedral. The Choir, many of whom are staff and students at Birmingham Conservatoire, sing at the High Mass on Sundays, holydays of obligation and on the other major liturgical occasions during the year. The repertoire ranges from plainsong to contemporary mass settings and anthems with a particular emphasis on renaissance polyphony. There have been several broadcasts on BBC Radio 4.

The Walker at 30: Celebrating the Cathedral’s J.W. Walker Organ

Both pieces were played both at the 1994 inaugural concert by Nicolas Kynaston, and ‘The Walker at 30’ recital on February 1st 2024.

Music Lists

Thursday Live Organ Recitals 2024 Programme

A large library of videos from our online concerts during the pandemic restrictions through to the present day can be viewed here: Organ Recitals


Organist and Director of Music:
Professor David Saint BA BMus FRCO FRSCM FRSA FISM
Tel: 0121 230 6247
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Assistant Director of Music:
Nigel Morris MA LTCL ABSM
Tel: 0121 230 6247
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Organiste Honoraire:
John Pryer
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Music Secretary:
Elaine Dring
Tel: 0121 230 6247

The Organ

As part of the Cathedral’s 150th anniversary restoration the firm of J. W. Walker & Sons was commissioned at the end of 1990 to build a new organ for St Chad’s Cathedral, Nicolas Kynaston having been appointed as Organ Consultant in 1988. The decision was soon taken that the only place where choir and organ could be together was in the west gallery, as originally intended by the Cathedral’s architect Augustus Welby Pugin. The organ case and gallery were designed by David Graebe in late medieval style, with decoration by Gordon Foster.

The disposition of the organ within the case is very traditional: the Great occupies the centre of the main case with the Swell above and the Pedal department divided in towers on either side; the Positive is on the front of the gallery behind the player’s back, all controlled by mechanical action with electric stop action and a wide range of adjustable aids to registration. There are 6 pistons to each division and 6 general pistons, with a stepper and 96 channels of memory for each of the 8 memory cards.

The classical layout and the clear choruses on all four divisions make it suitable for music of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, whilst versatility is ensured as the principals on each department are complemented by a variety of colourful stops, including those required by the baroque French tradition and by the grand nineteenth century Cavaillé-Coll school. The tonal finishing was by David Wilson and Michael Butler and Nicolas Kynaston was the consultant.

Since its installation, the organ has won plaudits from organists all over the world and is considered to be one the finest in the country. It has featured on recordings by David Saint, Henry Fairs and Paul Carr and been broadcast on Radio 3. The organ is also used extensively for teaching and masterclasses.

Organ Specification

Great Positive
Bourdon 16 Stopped Diapason 8
Open Diapason 8 Principal 4
Gamba 8 Flute 4
Open Flute 8 Nasard 2 2/3
Octave 4 Fifteenth 2
Harmonic Flute 4 Flageolet 2
Super Octave 2 Tierce 1 3/5
Grave Mixture II Larigot 1 1/3
Mixture IV Sharp Mixture IV
Cornet V Cremona 8
Trumpet 8 Tremulant
Swell to Great Swell to Positive
Positive to Great  
Swell Pedal
Salicional 8 Open Diapason 16
Voix Celeste 8 Subbass 16
Chimney Flute 8 Octave 8
Principal 4 Bass Flute 8
Tapered Flute 4 Super Octave 4
Gemshorn 2 Mixture IV
Mixture IV Ophicleide 16
Bassoon 16 Trumpet 8
Trumpet 8 Positive to Pedal
Oboe 8 Great to Pedal
Clarion 4 Swell to Pedal
© Copyright St Chad's Cathedral, Birmingham 2010 - 2014