Director: Simon Lindley
Founder Harry Fearnley appointed Simon Music Director of St Peter's Singers on the Choir's foundation in the Spring of 1977 and Dr Lindley has served in this capacity ever since.
Closely involved with the rich West Riding choral and banding tradition, Simon regularly directs many community choir events - including major Come Sing and Christmas presentations in support of charitable causes. In addition to his work with St Peter's Singers, Simon is Conductor of Sheffield Bach Choir, to which post he was appointed in 2009, and the following year he was named Conductor of Doncaster Choral Society with his friend and colleague David Houlder as Organist and Associate Conductor.
Simon is also the long-serving Music Director of Overgate Hospice Choir, Halifax and also worked for a lengthy period with Leeds College of Music Community Choral Society. During the 1970s and 80s, Dr Lindley was Chorus Master to Leeds Philharmonic Society and to Halifax Choral Society; he is a life Vice-President of each choir.
In July 2012, an Honorary Doctorate of the University of Huddersfield was conferred upon him in recognition of his services to choral music locally, nationally and internationally.
He is a frequent and welcome guest director of choir courses - particularly those in the United States arranged by the Royal School of Church Music - and his small-scale liturgical compositions and carol arrangements are performed throughout the English-speaking world. His setting of Ave Maria, now available for SATB choir as well as in the upper-voice original, is in the choral repertoire of countless choirs in parish churches, chapels, schools and cathedrals and has been recorded many times, most recently by Katherine Jenkins in her Sacred Arias anthology. Simon has more arrangements of Easter Carols currently in print than any other composer.
Educated at Magdalen College School, Oxford and the Royal College of Music, Simon came to Leeds in 1975 to succeed his distinguished predecessor Dr Donald Hunt OBE as Organist and Master of the Music at the City's Parish Church [St Peter-at-Leeds], now Leeds Minster. The year following, he was appointed fourth City Organist, also in succession to Dr Hunt. After 41 years service in each capacity, Dr Lindley was in 2016 named as Leeds Minster Organist Emeritus. In Summer 2017 a similar nomination from Leeds City Council announced that he was to be City Organist Emeritus with immediate effect following the appointment of Darius Battiwalla as City Organist and Curator of the Lunchtime Organ Concert series at Leeds Town Hall. Simon has been followed at Leeds Minster by Paul Dewhurst as Director of Music there.
Simon was previously the legendary Peter Hurford's first full-time assistant at St Albans Cathedral and Director of Music at St Albans School. At the School, the boys' choir of sopranos and altos fast became a feature of London musical life with regular concerts at leading venues and BBC recordings.
Choral work during student days in London included the direction of choirs in the City of London. He retains strong links with the City to this day - having held office for over a decade as Chairman of the Friends of the Musicians' Chapel at the National Musicians' Church of St Sepulchre-without-Newgate [and also as a Churchwarden of St Sepulchre's]. Dr Lindley is a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Musicians.
Simon's interests include cooking, walking, travel - especially rail travel, inland waterways, local history, writing, printing and typography. He is very widely travelled as a solo organist, and an extensive discography includes two best-selling Naxos releases [French Organ Music from the Parish Church and Handel Concertos with the Royal Northern Sinfonia], and an award-winning performance of Khachaturian's Organ Symphony with the BBC Philharmonic.
Simon is a Fellow and Vice-President of the Royal College of Organists [he was the College's President from 2000 to 2003] and of Trinity College of Music. He was President of the Incorporated Association of Organists from 2003 to 2005. Simon holds honorary Fellowships from Leeds College of Music, the Guild of Church Musicians, the Guild of Musicians and Singers, and the Royal School of Church Music.
In Autumn of 2001, an honorary doctorate of Leeds Metropolitan University was conferred upon him in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the musical and civic life of his adopted city and in Spring 2006 he was presented with the coveted Spirit of Leeds award by Leeds Civic Trust. In February 2009 was made an Honorary Member of the Rotary Club of Leeds and in Autumn of 2016, Dr Lindley received the Leeds Award in a special ceremony at Leeds Civic Hall.
Family roots in Belgium and Yorkshire continue to exercise an uncanny influence on his life and career. He is a leading interpreter of Belgian organ music and committed notably and whole-heartedly to the support and enhancement of Yorkshire's musical heritage. His maternal great-grandmother, Marie Brema, sang the part of the Angel in the premiere of Elgar's Dream of Gerontius and his own links with the music of Elgar include an acclaimed performance of the Organ Sonata at the 1975 Henry Wood Promenade Concerts broadcast on BBC Radio Three live from the Royal Albert Hall; the organ sonata being then a work receiving far fewer regular performances than is, happily, the case today.
He has four children. The eldest, Nicolas [married with two children and a former Parish Church Head Chorister] lives in Tampa, Florida, USA. York University graduate Dominic is a London-based economist. Benedict and Rebecca have both remained working in and around Leeds after graduation from universities in Leeds and Newcastle.