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Director of Music and Scholars



Dr David Skinner (DPhil, Oxon) is Fellow and Osborn Director of Music at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, and artistic director of the early music ensemble Alamire ( His research has centred around music institutions, manuscripts and composers of 16th-century Europe, and is particular specialism is music and the Reformation in England. A large portion of his doctoral thesis was published in the Roxburghe Club volume The Arundel Choirbook (Arundel: Duke of Norfolk, 2003), and he has since published a number of music editions, facsimile volumes, and articles. as well as more than 30 commercial recordings (awards including Gramophone, BBC Music, Limelight, Times CD of the Year, and others). Dr Skinner’s recent publications include The Anne Boleyn Music Book: Facsimile with Introduction, DIAMM Facsimiles 6 (London: Royal College of Music, 2017), and ‘Deliuer me from my deceytful ennemies’: A Tallis Contrafactum in Time of War’, Early Music (Oxford University Press, 2017). The latter project, in which Queen Catherine Parr was identified as the author of a contrafact of Tallis’s grandest antiphon Gaude gloriosa dei mater, received wide media coverage including all major broadsheets, BBC 4 Today Programme and BBC Breakfast News. As a presenter he has worked extensively for BBC radio, appearing in and writing a variety of shows on Radio 3 and 4. He acted as music advisor 


Jim Cooper

Jim was born in Bedford and attended Bedford School from the age of seven. In early life, he was primarily a trombonist, achieving grade 8 with distinction at the age of twelve, and performing as a member of the National Youth Orchestra. During his time with the NYO he performed in several television and radio broadcasts including at the BBC Proms. He has had the opportunity to work with conductors including Vasily Petrenko, Edward Gardner, Sir Mark Elder and François-Xavier Roth, performing at venues including the Barbican, the Royal Festival Hall, the Sage and Birmingham Symphony Hall. Jim sang in Bedford School Chapel Choir as a chorister and then later as a choral scholar. He began learning organ at the age of fourteen and, when he reached sixth form, accompanied the choir each week in their weekly services. In November 2015, the Choir performed at the Royal British Legion's annual Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall, an event with a television audience of around seven million worldwide. He has appeared as an organist on recordings with Bedford School, Heathmount School, and Sidney. So far during his time at Cambridge, aside from the Choir’s busy schedule of recordings, tours and regular services, Jim has performed as a soloist at the St Albans International Organ Festival. He was the pianist for the Choir’s own choral play, ‘Xavier and Aisha’s Great Choral Adventure’, at the Dubai Opera in July 2017, which he also helped to devise. He performs regularly as a visiting organist in Bedford, Cambridge and London.


Hugh Rowlands is the Junior Organ Scholar at Sidney, and a first year music student. He began his musical training as a chorister at Westminster Abbey where he sang in the daily round of services, as well as at numerous special services and state occasions, including the 2011 Royal Wedding and at St Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel in Rome. He then went on to be a music and academic scholar at The King’s School, Canterbury where he learnt the organ with David Newsholme and Tom Bell. During his gap year he was Organ Scholar at Royal Hospital Chelsea. In addition to accompanying the choir in their weekly Sunday services, he also appeared with them in concerts in the Royal Hospital’s Wren Chapel and at Cadogan Hall as well as a deputy on the London church music circuit. He appears on two recordings as accompanist to Royal Hospital Choir of previously unrecorded choral works by Ralph Vaughan Williams on Albion and a recording of music for Remembrance on SOMM. Hugh has given recitals at St George’s Chapel, Windsor and Holy Trinity, Sloane Square. He takes a keen interest in new music and has appeared with the London Contemporary Orchestra at London’s Union Chapel as well as workshops for Organ Reframed festival, which aims to release the organ from its traditional roots.


Tim Fairbairn is in his third year at Sidney studying History. Born in Ealing, Tim began his singing career as a chorister at Westminster Abbey aged 8, where he sang for five years. Aside from the weekly cycle of eight services, and regular concerts, recordings, and live broadcasts, highlights of his time at the Abbey included singing for the state visits of Pope Benedict XVI in 2010 and Barak Obama in 2011, and the wedding of TRH The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in April 2011. He has performed at the BBC Proms as a semi-chorus soloist in Mahler’s Das Klagende Lied in 2011 under the baton of Edward Gardner and in the Knabenchor for Mahler’s 8th Symphony at the First Night in 2010. After moving to Tonbridge, where he now lives, Tim attended the King’s School, Canterbury, with both a Music and King’s Scholarship. In his time there, he sang in the school’s Crypt Choir and chamber choir (‘Madrigalia’), and also achieved Grade 8s on ‘cello and piano. Since 2016, he has been a baritone choral scholar at Sidney, and is also a member of the Cambridge University Chamber Choir and the Rodolfus Choir. While not singing, Tim can usually be found on a committee, as the Treasurer of SSCSU in 2017 and the 2018 President of the Sidney Sussex June Event.


After studying organ and piano at the Junior Department of the Royal Northern College of Music, Rachel went on to become Organ Scholar at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, where she also studied English. After graduating in 2015, Rachel spent a year as Assistant Organist at Sidney Sussex before going on to work with Graham Ross and John Rutter as the Choir Administrator of Clare College Choir, Cambridge. As a freelance accompanist and soprano in her spare time, Rachel has recorded under the Naxos, Resonus Classics, Harmonia Mundi and The Gift of Music record labels. Alongside her role of Music Administrator at Sidney Sussex, Rachel teaches organ and piano at The Leys School in Cambridge and has recently started singing professionally in London. Please do not hesitate to contact Rachel with any questions about the Choir on: +441223 761676 |