Music plays a significant part in the life of St John's Cathedral, as in any great cathedral. At the centre is the Cathedral Choir – a traditional cathedral choir of men and boys in which the boys receive a scholarship to study at the Anglican Church Grammar School and where many of the Lay Clerks are tertiary music students at local universities.
A mixed voice choir, the Cathedral Singers, sings Evensong at least twice a month and the Cathedral Chamber Choir provides a range of occasional services, concerts and recitals.
Outside the liturgy, a series of special musical events is offered.
These choirs also record regularly and recordings are available from The Cathedral Shop.
The Cathedral Organ
The amazing acoustic of the cathedral is matched by a splendid six division pipe organ. Originally by Norman and Beard, two subsequent restorations have made it a leading cathedral instrument – one that provides dynamic leadership in the liturgy, and which attracts leading recitalists from around the world.
While the cathedral seeks to maintain the highest possible standards of traditional cathedral repertoire, and in particular that of the Renaissance and the Baroque, two special features are highlighted. Firstly the cathedral maintains a strong emphasis on contemporary sacred music, and music by the likes of Jonathan Dove, Rihards Dubra, Kenneth Leighton, James MacMillan, Anthony Pitts, and Edmund Rubbra helps ensure that the cathedral remains dynamic, exciting and relevant.
A second repertoire theme is that of Australian sacred music. We believe that a cathedral in Australia needs also to be an Australian cathedral, and this includes a commitment to the musical accents and nuances as found in music from our best composers. To this end music by leading Australian composers such as Ross Edwards (from whom we commissioned a mass in 2009), Matthew Orlovich, Clare Maclean, Peter Sculthorpe and Paul Stanhope occupies a special place in the repertoire, and parallels a tradition of music from our own cathedral musicians, notably George Sampson, Robert Boughen, Rupert Jeffcoat and Graeme Morton.