Abbey mourns former Organist and Master of the Choristers

Monday, 16th May 2022

Former Organist Simon Preston smiling

Simon Preston CBE, who was Organist and Master of the Choristers at Westminster Abbey from 1981 to 1987, and Sub-Organist between 1962 and 1967, has died aged 83.

Born in Bournemouth, Preston attended Canford School in Wimborne in Dorset. Originally a chorister at King's College, Cambridge, he returned to King's as organ scholar.

After leaving the Abbey in 1967 he was organist of Christ Church, Oxford, from 1970 before returning to Westminster as Organist and Master of the Choristers.

In 1987 he left the Abbey for a second time to pursue a career as an international concert organist. He also composed works for the organ.

His recordings include the complete organ works of J. S. Bach and the Saint-Saëns Organ Symphony. The Choir of Westminster Abbey made several acclaimed recordings under his direction.

He was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2009 Birthday Honours.