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Chichester Psalms creator goes to meet his maker

John Birch, organist at Chichester Cathedral who led the first UK performance of Leonard Bernstein’s Psalms, has died, aged 82.

An ex-pupil writes from Australia: John was a fine organist to the RPO & Academy of St Martin in the Fields; chief protector of the RAH organ; 22 years at Chichester, 15 at Temple Church; taught at RCM for years; long relationship with University of Sussex and Brighton Festival Chorus and Laszlo Heltay: mentor and teacher to many. His playing on Glagolitic Mass with Kempe is absolutely second to none!

He taught me and he was unforgettable.

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  1. SImon Gibson says:

    Just heard this news today (Tuesday 1st). I studied with John at the RCM in the 80s during his time as President of the RCO and Organist at the Temple Church. He was a perfect gentleman, a great musician and an engaging teacher. He persuaded me to help out at a fund-raiser at the RAH during his RCO Presidency and I turned pages for a galaxy of organists in a huge programme, with Steve Race as compere! Many happy memories and sad to see him go.

  2. A fine gentleman, a wonderful musician, Yehudi Menuhin’s favourite organist – I have great memories of his concerts with the RPO, especially in the Royal Albert Hall.

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