Choral director, organist and composer

Lee Dunleavy

MA (Oxon), FRCO (DipCHD), ACertCM

Lee Dunleavy is a dynamic choral conductor, organ recitalist and composer, ideally located in centre of England for his work throughout the country. Renowned for his insightful performances of new music, he has commissioned several works for choir, organ and piano, and has given many world and British premières.

He holds both the Choral Directing Diploma and the Associateship and Fellowship of the Royal College of Organists, and is a prize-winning holder of the Archbishops’ Certificate in Church Music. He has held positions at Hertford College, in the University of Oxford, and York Minster, and has worked with liturgical choirs and given organ recitals throughout the UK, Europe, and North America.

He is the Musical Director of the Royal Leamington Spa Bach Choir, and former Musical Director of Enfield Choral Society, Northampton Bach Choir, and Wellingborough Singers, and former Chorus Master of the Huntingdonshire Philharmonic. In recognition of his service to the choir, the Northampton Bach Choir made him their first-ever Conductor Emeritus. During his time with these choirs he has worked on most of the major choral-orchestral works, from Bach's Passions to Mahler Resurrection Symphony, from Monteverdi Vespers to Berlioz Grande Messe des Morts, and from Handel Messiah to Vaughan Williams A Sea Symphony.

During his eight years at the prominent church of All Saints, Northampton, he directed choirs totalling over 100 singers in seven weekly choral services, regular concerts, commercial recordings, and tours throughout the UK, Europe, and North America. There he also commissioned numerous choral works, including pieces by David Bednall, Sir Richard Rodney Bennett, David Briggs, Jonathan Dove, Michael Finnissy, Stephen Hough, Francis Jackson, and Sir James MacMillan.

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, and Sibelius, and the acclaimed series “Back to Bach”, which has drawn in a new audience to the organ.

Lee is also an active composer and his studies at university led to the award of a Britten-Pears Scholarship to study with the current Master of the Queen’s Music, Judith Weir; this in turn led to the commissioning and performance of his first Piano Quintet 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.

... I just wanted to say how fantastic I thought your choir was this morning. Many congratulations on such a fantastic achievement – so rare (these days) to see such an evidently flourishing boy choir program (forgive the US terminology!). I was very impressed by the sound and also the obvious esprit de corps. Thanks for directing such a beautiful interpretation of my piece ...

David Briggs
... your tempos were right on, and the choir and orchestra were first rate. It was musical, lyrical and exciting in the big places. It seems like everyone really got what the piece was all about. So thank you for all the care you took with this performance ...

Craig Phillips
I think you do a REMARKABLE job - totally humbling to hear and see what you achieved, which was a truly magical performance AND the 'trust and commitment' shown perhaps most of all in the expressions on their faces and the respect and discipline with which they behaved.

Michael Finnissy
Thank you so much for last night's electrifying premiere of OUT OF THE WHIRLWIND! The choir really gave it everything, and their powerful spirit sang out with radiance.

Jonathan Dove
... a leading exponent of youth music in schools and churches, renowned for his commitment to teaching singing through sound vocal technique ...

Preserve Harmony,
The Worshipful Company of Musicians