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January 11th 2021

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Catherine Ennis, 1955-2020

With great sadness the College has learned of the death of Catherine Ennis, of cancer, on Christmas Eve 2020.

Catherine Ennis had been Organist and Director of Music at St Lawrence Jewry in the City of London since 1985.

An Organ Scholar at St Hugh’s, Oxford, Catherine studied music at the College, matriculating in 1973. She became Assistant Organist of Christ Church Cathedral, in an era when such positions for women were rare. Catherine joined the Royal College of Organists in 1978, where she was President from 2013 to 2015; and was awarded the Royal College of Organists’ (RCO) Medal in 2018 “in recognition of distinguished achievement in organ playing and in recognition of distinguished service to the [RCO].”

Catherine was a prominent, pioneering musician who was much respected in the organ world. She was responsible for the creation of four organs in London – the Rieger in St Marylebone Parish Church (1987), the Klais in St Lawrence Jewry (2001), the William Drake for Trinity College of Music (2003), and the Queen’s Organ in the Lady Chapel of Westminster Abbey, built by Mander. She also founded the London Organ Concerts Guide, was president of the Incorporated Association of Organists (2003-05) and Royal College of Organists (2013-15), a trustee of the Nicholas Danby Trust, and in 2018 was awarded the Medal of the Royal College of Organists. In 2006 Catherine initiated (together with Barbara Hill) the John Hill Organ Series and took on its artistic directorship, showcasing emerging young talented organists on Tuesday lunchtimes annually in May. Most recently she became a patron of the Society of Women Organists.

 

Photo credit: © CLIVE BARDA/ArenaPAL
Catherine Ennis at the console of the Peter Collins in Orford Church, while recording her last CD

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