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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 for the Music and Monarchy series on BBC 2 with David Starkey, and was Music Consultant for the recent BBC4 documentary on the history of Evensong with Lucy Worsley. He is currently completing a new edition of Tallis’s Latin church music for Early English Church Music (Stainer & Bell).


Senior Organ ScholarLaurence Carden was born in London and attended Highgate School. Since the age of four he’s been learning various instruments, including the violin, piano and drums, and in 2011 he started playing the organ.
During childhood, Laurence sang in New London Children’s Choir and also played violin in the Barbican Young Orchestra for two seasons. He has enjoyed performing at a range of venues, including the Royal Albert Hall, at the opening of St. Pancras International, St. Mark’s and St. Peter’s Basilicas, Westminster Abbey, the Dubai Opera and the Carnegie Hall. Particular highlights include playing under the baton of Sir Colin Davis, performing with Nicola Benedetti and being a member of the winning Songs of Praise School Choir of the Year in 2014.
Laurence is currently Senior Organ Scholar at Sidney Sussex, where he studies the organ with Stephen Farr. Over the last few years he has played at St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Royal Festival Hall, Washington National Cathedral and at the St. Alban’s International Organ Festival.
Outside of playing for weekly services, international tours and recordings at Sidney, recent musical highlights have included playing in Nocturne for 21 Pianos in King’s Chapel (which was broadcast on the BBC World Service), conducting a production of Dido & Aeneas and various percussion appearances at the ADC Theatre.


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.


Isla Stevens is a third-year historian at Sidney, and has sung in the Choir throughout her time in Cambridge. She has sung in choirs since primary school and thoroughly enjoys it.

Isla's reflections of Sidney Choir: 'It’s so fun to sing at Sidney, because the music is of such a high quality and the members of Choir are so friendly that it feels more like a family. I love the variety of music we sing, and the frequency of our services means that we have a high turnover of music, so we are able to learn lots of different pieces in a relatively short space of time, which is great!'


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 sings Soprano in Sidney Choir. Please do not hesitate to contact Rachel with any questions about the Choir on: +441223 761676 |