Sunday 4 June marked the official installation of Truro Cathedral’s new director of music, James Anderson-Besant. The Truro Cathedral team including choristers were delighted to welcome James, who moves to Truro from Exeter Cathedral, where he has worked for the last two years as assistant director of music. There, James acted as the principal accompanist to the cathedral’s liturgy and worked with the director of music, Timothy Noon, to train the choristers. He also directed Exeter Cathedral’s auditioned voluntary choir, the St Peter’s Singers. Prior to this, James was organ scholar, then assistant organist, at St John’s College Cambridge, where he graduated in 2020 with a double-starred first degree in music. James won second prize at the 2019 Northern Ireland International Organ Competition. He has broadcast live on BBC Radio 3 and Radio 4, and his playing for St John’s appears on many acclaimed CD releases, including The Psalms which was recently Editor’s Choice in Gramophone Magazine.
Revd Simon Robinson Interim Dean of Truro Cathedral said “It really was a true joy to welcome, admit and install James Anderson-Besant as the new director of music at Truro Cathedral. James comes to us with many skills and talents and an infectious passion for the power of music in the worship of God. In only just a week he has shown himself to be full of energy and motivation for building on the long tradition of Anglican choral music here in Truro. Alongside his new ministry, he will also sit on the senior management team of the cathedral, contributing to the strategic life of the cathedral as a place of worship, hospitality and engagement for Cornwall. I am delighted that he has joined the cathedral community and the Diocese.”
James Anderson-Besant said “I feel very privileged to have been installed as Truro Cathedral’s director of music. The cathedral has a very special musical tradition, and I’ve already been struck by the choir’s warmth of musicality and responsive, committed singing. It has been great to begin working with the choristers, adult singers, organists, Dean Simon and the cathedral team, and to meet members of the community; I have been made to feel very welcome. I am looking forward immensely to maintaining and furthering Truro Cathedral’s musical offering, unique within Cornwall, in the coming years.”
The Head of Truro School, Andy Johnson, commented, “On behalf of all at Truro School, I share the excitement at James’ appointment and welcome him into post. Our partnership with the cathedral, including via the education of the choristers, is a very important connection to the wider community. It is both inspiring and reassuring to know that a musician and musical leader of James’ calibre will now be central to that community-enriching relationship.”