Biographical details about the senior members of our Music Department
Ian Keatley - Cathedral Organist / Director of Music
Ian Keatley is Director of Music at Southwark Cathedral. He is responsible for the direction of the Cathedral's music, both at the daily choral services and the diocesan and national occasions which take place. He directs the men and boys of the Cathedral Choir in its programme of concerts, broadcasts, recordings and tours. Before returning to London, Ian was Organist and Director of Music at Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, from 2012 – 2019.
Before moving to Dublin in January 2012, Ian was Director of Music at Westminster Abbey Choir School and was previously Deputy Master of Music at the Chapels Royal, Her Majesty's Tower of London. From 2004 - 2006 he was Organ Scholar at Westminster Abbey where he played at a number of royal and state occasions including the 60th Anniversary of the end of World War II, broadcast live on BBC television, and state memorial services for former Prime Minister, Lord Callaghan and comedian Ronnie Barker.
Ian was Assistant Organist at Croydon Minster from 2000-2002. Whilst Organ Scholar at Southwark Cathedral from 2002 - 2004, Ian founded and directed the Cathedral Merbecke Choir which performed services, concerts and recitals for City of London livery companies. In 2004 he graduated from the Royal College of Music where he was a prize winner for organ performance. Before moving to London in 2000, Ian was a Vicar Choral at Wells Cathedral and studied singing with Ashley Stafford in Oxford.
Recently Ian has performed organ recitals at Westminster Abbey, Westminster Cathedral, St Paul's Cathedral, Liverpool Cathedral, St Alban's Abbey and Truro Cathedral. In 2009, Ian performed an organ and bagpipe duet recital with Pipe Major Jim Motherwell (Personal Piper to HM The Queen) at Westminster Abbey. Ian is a trustee of the Charles Wood Festival and Founding Director of the New Charles Wood Girls’ Choir.
Stephen Disley - Assistant Organist / Director of the Girls' Choir
Stephen Disley won a joint Foundation Scholarship to the Royal College of Music and London's Temple Church.
As a recitalist and accompanist, Stephen appears frequently at the Royal Albert Hall, and has performed and broadcast with ensembles such as the Budapest Radio Choir and the BBC Singers including a recording of “Choir Book for The Queen”, conducted by Stephen Cleobury. Other performances include Janacek's Glagolitic Mass in the Montepulciano Festival, Italy, and Regular Organ Galas with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. He has performed with the Moscow State Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Alessandro d’Agostini, also performing as a soloist in Warsaw, Cologne, and at the Royal Festival Hall with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Charles Dutoit.
Stephen is Assistant Organist at Southwark Cathedral and founding Director of its Girls’ Choir.
He has also performed and recorded premieres of music by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Judith Bingham, Bob Chilcott, Gabriel Jackson, Tarick O’Regan and others. Stephen is also involved with the JAM (John Armitage Memorial) Trust and is organist to the City of London School.
Further details can be obtained from his website here
Emily Elias - Director of the Merbecke Choir
Emily was Organ Scholar at St Peter’s College, Oxford where she read music, sang and directed choirs.
Shortly after graduation, she moved to Paris where she pursued a career as a singer, was Assistant Conductor of the Paris Choral Society and took the boys at the Maîtrise of St Louis en Ile.
As a singer she has worked with and learnt much from many brilliant conductors and hope that the Merbecke Choir will feel the benefit of their collective wisdom.
Emily now lives in South London with her husband and three children and combines performing with singing teaching and choir directing in several secondary schools and, of course, directing the wonderful Merbecke Choir.
Alexander Knight - Harry Coles Organ Scholar
Alexander is Organ Scholar at Southwark Cathedral, Director of Music and Organist at St Mary Magdalene, Richmond, and Musical Director for Canbury Singers. He began studying organ at The Manchester Grammar School with Simon Leach and subsequently moved to Cardiff, where he held the post of Director of Music & Organist at St Mary’s, Whitchurch. Alexander held the Organ Scholarship and read for a music degree at Queens’ College, Cambridge between 2012 and 2015. With Queens’ College Choir, Alexander toured and performed in Hong Kong, Paris, Budapest and Switzerland, and featured on the CD ‘For The Wings of a Dove’. At Cambridge, he also performed with CUMS Chorus, conducted by Sir Stephen Cleobury.
After moving to London in 2016, Alexander has been involved with a wide variety of music. Between 2017 and 2018, he was Répétiteur for the Scheggino Opera Summer School and City Lit Opera Course, Musical Director for Maldon Festival’s Gilbert & Sullivan production of ‘Trial by Jury’ and Harpsichordist for the Bach ‘B minor mass’. His role as an accompanist has seen him collaborate with a range of musicians and groups, including Reading Bach Choir, conducted by David Young, Reverie Choir, St John’s Beaumont School, Ewell Castle School and the Honourable Artillery Company Band.
Alexander’s recent organ recital venues include Queens’ College Cambridge, St George’s Hanover Square and Westminster Abbey. He has studied piano with Nigel Pitceathly, organ with David Thomas at Llandaff Cathedral and William Whitehead, conducting with Andrew Arthur and Paul Brough, and singing with Colin Baldy and Paul Plummer. In 2018, Alexander was awarded his Associateship diploma of the Royal College of Organists with three prizes.
The Harry Coles Organ Scholarship was founded in the year 2000 and later endowed following the death of Harry Coles, a former chorister and organ scholar at the Cathedral who died in 2006. Organ scholars are appointed for one or two years in their role and many past scholars have gone on to become Organists and Directors of Music at other Cathedrals and Chapels.