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Encyclopedia > George Guest

George Guest (9 February 1924 - 20 November 2002) was organist and choirmaster of St John's College, Cambridge, for four decades. He was a highly influential teacher, numbering many cathedral organists among his former students. He was at the forefront of the adoption of a more continental tone in English cathedral choirs. 1924 (MCMXXIV) was a leap year starting on Tuesday (link will take you to calendar). ... For album titles with the same name, see 2002 (album). ... Full name The College of Saint John the Evangelist of the University of Cambridge Motto Souvent me Souvient I Often Remember Named after The Hospital of Saint John the Evangelist, Cambridge, named after John the Evangelist Previous names Incorporates part of what was Merton Hall which no longer exists Established...


Birth and Early Life

George Guest was born in Bangor, Wales. His father was an organist, and George assisted him by acting as organ blower. He became a chorister at Bangor Cathedral, and subsequently at Chester Cathedral, where he received organ lessons from the sub-organist, Dr. Roland Middleton. He passed the examination for ARCO in 1940, and FRCO in 1942. By this time he had become the organist and choirmaster of Connah's Quay parish church, Flintshire. Bangor, in north Wales, is one of the smallest cities in the United Kingdom. ... Chester Cathedral is a Church of England cathedral, mother church for the Diocese of Chester, north-west England. ... The Royal College of Organists or RCO, based in Birmingham, England, is the United Kingdoms national body charged with promoting organ and choral music and overseeing musical education and training for organists and choral directors. ... The Royal College of Organists or RCO, based in Birmingham, England, is the United Kingdoms national body charged with promoting organ and choral music and overseeing musical education and training for organists and choral directors. ...


At the age of 18 he was called up for military service, and joined the Royal Air Force, being posted to India in 1945. On leaving the services in 1947 he took up the post of sub-organist at Chester Cathedral. The cathedral organist, Malcolm Boyle, encouraged him to apply for the Organ Scholarship at St John's College, Cambridge, in which endeavour he was successful. The Royal Air Force (RAF) is the air force branch of the British Armed Forces. ...


At Cambridge he studied under Robin Orr. In his final year as Organ Scholar, Robin Orr announced that he intended to retire, and the College Council offered the post to Guest. Robert Kelmsley (Robin) Orr CBE (2 June 1909 - 9 April 2006) was a Scottish composer. ...


Organist and Choirmaster at St John's College

Within five years of Guest becoming organist and choirmaster, the whole future of the choir at St John's College came into question, with the proposed closure of the day school which provided the choristers. Guest, with the support of his predecessor, persuaded the College to found a Choir School.


Under George Guest's direction, the choir built up a formidable reputation, challenging the supremacy of the college of King's College, Cambridge. Guest introduced a more "continental" tone into the choir, as George Malcolm was doing at Westminster Cathedral. Full name The Kings College of Our Lady and St Nicholas in Cambridge Motto Veritas Et Utilitas Truth and usefulness Named after Henry VI Previous names - Established 1441 Sister College(s) New College Provost Prof. ... George Malcolm was a pioneering harpsichordist, introducing many people to this instrument. ... Westminster Cathedral from Victoria Street The interior of Westminster Cathedral Westminster Cathedral is the motherchurch of the Roman Catholic faithful of the Archdiocese of Westminster and the metropolitan church of the Westminster Province, located at 42 Francis Street SW1 in the City of Westminster in London, England. ...


The choir began broadcasting on the BBC in the early 1950's, and recorded its first long playing record in 1958. By the time of Guest's retirement in 1991, the choir had recorded sixty LP's or CD's under his direction.


The BBC has broadcast Evensong from St John's College on every Ash Wednesday since 1972, and the Advent Carol Service each year since 1981. During George Guest's tenure, the choir undertook many overseas tours.


Herbert Howells and Michael Tippett are among the composers who wrote liturgical settings for the St John's College choir whilst George Guest was organist and choirmaster. Herbert (Norman) Howells (17 October 1892—23 February 1983) was an English composer and teacher. ... Sir Michael Kemp Tippett, O.M. (2 January 1905 – 8 January 1998) was one of the foremost English composers of the 20th century. ...


Organ Scholars who studied under George Guest include:

Southwell Minster Southwell Minster is a minster and cathedral, in the British town of Southwell in Nottinghamshire, six miles away from Newark. ... College name New College of St Mary Collegium Novum Oxoniensis/Collegium Sanctae Mariae Wintoniae Named after Mary, mother of Jesus Established 1379 Sister College Kings College Warden Prof. ... The Royal Academy of Music (sometimes abbreviated to RAM) is a music school in London, England and one of the leading music institutions in the world. ... Brian Runnett was educated in Liverpool. ... Norwich Cathedral: Spire and south transcept. ... Wakefield Cathedral, formally the Cathedral Church of All Saints Wakfield is the cathedral for the Church of Englands Diocese of Wakefield and is the seat of the Bishop of Wakefield. ... David Hill is Organist and Director of Music at St Johns College, Cambridge. ... Durham Cathedral silhouetted against the sunset Durham Cathedral from nearby The Rose Window in the Chapel of the Nine Altars. ... Westminster Cathedral from Victoria Street The interior of Westminster Cathedral Westminster Cathedral is the motherchurch of the Roman Catholic faithful of the Archdiocese of Westminster and the metropolitan church of the Westminster Province, located at 42 Francis Street SW1 in the City of Westminster in London, England. ... Winchester Cathedral as seen from the Cathedral Close View along the nave of Winchester Cathedral to the west door A plan published in 1911 Winchester Cathedral in Winchester, Hampshire is one of the largest cathedrals in England. ... A plan of Worcester Cathedral made in 1836. ... Southwark Cathedral Southwark Cathedral or The Cathedral and Collegiate Church of St Saviour and St Mary Overie, Southwark, London, lies on the south bank of the River Thames close to London Bridge. ... The Abbeys western façade The Collegiate Church of St Peter, Westminster, which is almost always referred to as Westminster Abbey, is a mainly Gothic church, on the scale of a cathedral (and indeed often considered one), in Westminster, London, just to the west of the Palace of Westminster. ... The West Front of Lichfield Cathedral Lichfield Cathedral is situated in Lichfield, Staffordshire, England. ... Stephen Cleobury (b. ... Full name The Kings College of Our Lady and St Nicholas in Cambridge Motto Veritas Et Utilitas Truth and usefulness Named after Henry VI Previous names - Established 1441 Sister College(s) New College Provost Prof. ... John Scott directed the Choir of St. ... St Pauls Cathedral from the south St Pauls Cathedral is a cathedral on Ludgate Hill, in the City of London, England and the seat of the Bishop of London. ... Saint Thomas Church (known also as Saint Thomas Church Fifth Avenue) is an Episcopalian (or Anglican) church within the Episcopal Diocese of New York and the Episcopal Church in the United States of America. ... Truro Cathedral is a cathedral in the city of Truro in Cornwall in south-west England. ...

Further reading

  • Guest, George (1994) A Guest at Cambridge, Paraclete Press ISBN 1-55725-038-3.

 
 

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