James Eaton is Assistant Organist at Romsey Abbey, having previously held appointments at a number of cathedrals. He was organ scholar at Rochester Cathedral for two years before being invited to spend a third year there acting as Assistant Director of Music. Subsequent appointments included posts as Sub-organist and Director of the Girls’ Choir at Leeds Parish Church (under Dr Simon Lindley) and Assistant Organist at Cardiff Metropolitan Cathedral.
James left cathedral music in 2005 to pursue a full-time career in teaching. After completing his PGCE, he was appointed music teacher at The Romsey School, where he taught many of the abbey choristers and began singing bass in the abbey choir shortly thereafter. After only 4 terms at the school, he was appointed Head of Music at The Petersfield School, a state school with a specialism in the performing arts.
James has toured extensively as an accompanist and soloist. He has been broadcast on BBC radio and television, and in 2002 gave the world premiere of a work by the Master of the Queen’s Music, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies. James was appointed Assistant Organist at Romsey Abbey in October 2008, which he combines with his ‘day-job’ in Petersfield.
James’ predecessors are David Coram and Timothy Rogerson.
Who’s who: the Assistant Organist
Timothy Rogerson was born in the East Riding of Yorkshire and educated at Hymers College, Kingston-upon-Hull. Tim took organ lessons at Beverley Minster, later continued at Romsey Abbey whilst he was studying for a degree in Accounting and Economics at the University of Southampton.
Now a Chartered Accountant, Tim was appointed Assistant Organist at the Abbey in 1996 and played Abbey Services and on Choir tours for nine years. He is, in addition, Chairman of the Winchester and District Association of Organists and Honorary Treasurer of Romsey Citizens’ Advice Bureau and of the Music in Romsey group.
Assistant Organist, 2005–8
David Coram was born near Devizes, Wiltshire where his early musical training took shape at Dauntsey’s School under the wing of Nicholas Hale, David’s first organ teacher.
He studied piano accompaniment with Jennifer Partridge whilst an organ scholar at St Edmund Hall in Oxford and, more recently has enjoyed the influence of David Briggs, with whom he has been studying improvisation.
His 2006-7 season saw him give recitals across the UK and abroad and release a CD of the Romsey Abbey organ which is available here.
As well as his role at the abbey, he is Head of Keyboard Studies at Bournemouth University, director of Ethelflaeda’s Voices and accompanist to five choral societies, including (as a volunteer) Hampshire County Youth Choir.
He is co-director of Romsey Children’s Choir. David is engaged to singer and singing teacher Alice Wratten, with whom he shares the running of the children’s choir and frequently performs under the duo name Singing for Supper.
He is responsible for the Abbey’s successful organ recital series, which in recent months has welcomed Andrew Lumsden, Daniel Cooke and Gordon Stewart. Highlights of the coming year include a 150th birthday tribute to the organ – a transcription of Peter and the Wolf for organ, and a live improvised organ symphony during which a local artist will paint live.
As well as his musical activities, he still operates the bespoke furniture portion of the glass business he owned from 2001 to 2005.
David moved on from the Abbey to take up the position of Director of Music at St. Peters, Bournemouth.
His predecessor,Timothy Rogerson, served in this capacity from 1996 to 2005.