John Cooper is Organist Emeritus of St. Mary-le-Tower, the Civic Church of Ipswich (where he was Organist and Director of Music from 1971-1999) and Organist of St. Mary’s Church Grundisburgh, near Woodbridge. He was for many years a Senior Lecturer in the School of Music at the Colchester Institute, Chairman of the Suffolk Area of the Royal School of Church Music and from 1969-1979 Conductor of the Ipswich Choral Society.
A highlight during his time with the ICS was a concert in 1976 in which the works performed were Five Mystical Songs (Vaughan Williams), Symphony of Psalms (Stravinsky) and Belshazzar’s Feast (William Walton).
Before moving to East Anglia he was Organist at Holy Trinity Church Leamington Spa, and in 1962 his boy choristers sang in the premiere of Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem at Coventry Cathedral; John was the organist in this performance. He was born in Leicester and graduated at London University before gaining the M.Mus degree at Durham University. He also gained first prizes in the Associate and Fellowship diplomas of the Royal College of Organists.
Since retiring from his full-time work John has remained busy as a concert organist and frequently gives recitals in East Anglia and beyond, including York Minster and the Marktkirche in Halle (Handel’s birthplace). He enjoys his role as a piano accompanist and often gives recitals with the tenor, Gordon Pullin, with whom he has made three CDs, including one of the songs of Roy Teed (of Colchester) who celebrated his 80th birthday in 2007.
He is rehearsal accompanist for the Hadleigh Choral Society and plays the organ or piano in the choir’s concerts: John was the pianist in the HCS’s performance of Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle in March, 2007, and in the ICS’s performance of the same work in May, 2009. He was also the soloist in performances of Poulenc’s Organ Concerto in concerts presented by both societies.