Robert Quinney

Robert Quinney

Organ

• Born 1976

Biography

Robert Quinney carries on a long English tradition of conducting collegiate choirs, performing as an organ soloist, and teaching. Since 2014, he has been the conductor of the New College Choir, Oxford.

Quinney was born in 1976 in Nottingham, U.K. As with so many other figures in the field of English choral music, he began his musical career as a boy chorister at Dundee Cathedral and then at All Saints Ecclesall Church in Sheffield; at the latter institution, he learned to play the organ. Quinney attended the boarding school Eton College on a scholarship and then went on to King's College, Cambridge, as an organ scholar (an organist whose university expenses are paid in exchange for providing music at services) from 1995 to 1998. He earned bachelor's and master's degrees at King's and then began his professional career as Acting Sub-Organist of Westminster Abbey, where he spent a year before becoming Assistant Master of Music at Westminster Cathedral in 2000. That position involved a heavy schedule of choral conducting with Westminster's Cathedral Choir as well as frequent organ recitals, including one in which he played Francis Pott's difficult Christus. He led the Westminster Cathedral Choir on tours of the U.S. and Australia. In 2011, Quinney performed on the organ at the wedding of Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and Catherine Middleton. He held other positions in the early 2010s, including director of music at Peterborough Cathedral in 2013 -- where he oversaw the renovation of the cathedral's organ -- and director of the school Oundle for Organists. In 2014, Quinney was named organist, Tutorial Fellow, and choral director at New College, Oxford, a position that also entailed his elevation to the post of associate professor of music; he succeeded Edward Higginbottom, who had built an international reputation for the New College Choir, Oxford.

At both Westminster and Oxford, Quinney made recordings both as organist and choir director. For the Hyperion label in 2005, he performed on the organ in the Westminster Cathedral Choir's recording of the Vaughan Williams Mass in G minor, and he has made solo organ recordings for the Signum Classics, Coro, and Novum labels. At New College, Oxford, he has continued the recording program instituted by Higginbottom. He and the choir moved to the Linn label for Media Vita, a recording of music by John Sheppard, in 2020.

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