Musical Director:
Lee Dunleavy
MA (Oxon), FRCO (DipCHD), ACertCM
Lee Dunleavy’s life-long passion for choral music began at St Peter’s Church in Harrogate, where he served as Organ Scholar and worked alongside the distinguished composer Philip Wilby in a number of première performances. He read Music at Hertford College, in the University of Oxford, as Organ Scholar and later Director of Chapel Music. As Manager and member of the Oxford University Orchestra, he worked with such esteemed conductors as Douglas Boyd, Peter Stark, Garry Walker and Sir Roger Norrington.

After working as Director of Music at Christ Church, Southgate, London, where he directed the choir in services and concerts, including performances of Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem, Handel’s Messiah and Monteverdi’s Vespro della Beata Vergine, he was awarded the prestigious Organ Scholarship at York Minster, combining this with teaching at The Minster and St Peter’s Schools. At York he was privileged to work alongside Philip Moore and John Scott Whiteley, and worked with the fêted Dr Francis Jackson on performances of a number of his choral and organ works.

He holds both the Choral Directing Diploma and the Fellowship of the Royal College of Organists and is a prize-winning holder of the Archbishops’ Certificate in Church Music.
In 2006, he was appointed Director of Music at the prominent church of All Saints Northampton a position he held until May 2014, and in 2007 he took on the position of Musical Director of the Northampton Bach Choir. With these choirs he has commissioned nearly 100 new works, including compositions by David Bednall, Sir Richard Rodney Bennett, David Briggs, Stephen Cleobury, Jonathan Dove, Michael Finnissy, Stephen Hough, Francis Jackson and James MacMillan. The choirs have also toured extensively, from Canada and the United States to Austria, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, and Italy. He has also made a number of well-reviewed recordings, most recently Notre Père (2012), Carol of Joy (2011), and Omnes Sancti (2010) with the Choirs of All Saints, and Requiem Reflections (2017), I was Glad! (2012) and Congaudeat! (2010) with the Northampton Bach Choir. A second Christmas disc, Be Merry!, featuring seasonal works by contemporary American composers sung by the Choirs of All Saints and the Northampton Bach Choir was released in November 2014.

As an organ recitalist he is celebrated for the diversity of his programmes, which often encompass music from the fifteenth century right through traditional repertoire up to Jazz and Blues-inspired works. He has performed on BBC One, BBC Radio 3 and 4, and toured throughout Europe, Canada and the United States. In recent years he has developed a series of insightful lecture-recitals which have explored the works of Buxtehude, Messiaen, Sibelius and the acclaimed series “Back to Bach”, which has drawn in a new audience to the organ.

He is also an active composer and his studies at university led to the award of a Britten-Pears Scholarship to study with Judith Weir; this in turn led to the commissioning and performance of his first Piano Quintet at the Purcell Room at the South Bank Centre, London. Whilst his most prominent compositions are written in a very modern idiom, he is equally at home writing melodic and accessible works for groups of all ages and abilities. His works have been performed at many of the major concert halls, cathedrals and churches across the country.

Lee is also Musical Director of the Wellingborough Singers, Chorus Master of the Huntingdonshire Philharmonic, Director of Music at St Mary’s Church, Wellingborough, and from September 2020 Musical Director of the Royal Leamington Spa Bach Choir.