Farewell to Stephen Darlington

Stephen Darlington On Saturday 7 July we will say our formal farewell to Professor Stephen Darlington who has held the office of Organist for 32 years. 

Across these decades, the Choir under Stephen Darlington's direction has achieved an enviable international reputation for the quality and variety of its work and has toured may parts of the world including America, Europe, Australia, Japan and the Caribbean. The choir will tour China in August. He brought the Choir to wider public attention with the theme music for the BBC comedy series The Vicar of Dibley and has made more than 50 commercial recordings with the choir. 

Professor Darlington’s tenure has also seen the foundation of the Christ Church Cathedral Music Trust, prompted by a commitment from Christ Church to guarantee the quality and standing of the Choir. The Trust aims to ensure that no potential choristers are deterred from joining the Choir for financial reasons, and offers scholarship funding of up to 100% of school fees. 

Stephen Darlington will be succeeded as Organist by Steven Grahl, who is currently the Director of Music at Peterborough Cathedral, where he has been in post since 2014. This appointment was announced in February of this year.


This Saturday will be the Cathedral Choir's last Evensong here at Christ Church under the direction of Stephen Darlington, and we look forward to celebrating all that he has acheived in his thirty years of outstanding service to the Choir, the Cathedral, the College and the University. The service will be attended by the large number of former undergraduates, graduates, choristers and clerks who have worked with him at Christ Church since 1985. All are very welcome to this service which begins at the usual time of 6pm.

Music at this final Choral service will include Herbert Howells' St Paul's Service as well as Saxton's Chorale and Elgar's The Spirit of the Lord. For those who wish, a copy of the service booklet can be downloaded here.


Stephen Darlington conducts the Cathedral ChoirThe Dean of Christ Church Cathedral, the Very Revd Professor Martyn Percy, said: ‘Stephen Darlington has made a momentous and peerless contribution to Cathedral music for over thirty years. His leadership of the Choir, and his concerts, CDs and broadcasts, have engaged hundreds of thousands. He is one of the most august and highly-regarded Directors of Music in our time. We will miss him enormously.  But we look forward to celebrating all his achievements here – and all that he has come to mean to us as a scholar, musician, conductor, leader and friend.’

Stephen Darlington said of his time: ‘Christ Church has been a wonderful and fulfilling place to work, providing me with a unique opportunity to combine my passion for church music with teaching and lecturing in the best Music department in the country. My greatest pleasures have been to play a part in the development of the extraordinary musical talent of generations of children and young adults, and to expose huge numbers of listeners to the beauty of music’.