Tom Bell appointed to RCO North role
The Royal College of Organists has appointed Tom Bell as its Director for the North of England, North Wales and the Isle of Man.
The appointment completes the leadership team for the College’s new regional structure.
Designed to increase local engagement and activity, the structure will see regional directors supporting teams of regional co-ordinators in arranging events and initiatives throughout the United Kingdom.
Tom said: “I have been excited by developments at the RCO in recent years, and believe the organisation has earned a real mandate to transform UK organ culture.
“It is clear to me that in the UK we need a truly national and coordinated programme of outreach and tuition, to create the organists and audiences of the future.
“In this new role I see an opportunity to be part of the development of such a programme, in line with the vision and strategy of the RCO.”
Born in Liverpool and raised in Lancashire, Tom Bell studied with Kevin Bowyer at the Royal Northern College of Music, with Ann Elise Smoot in London and with Jacques van Oortmerssen in Amsterdam.
One of the leading performers of his generation, Tom has performed extensively across mainland Europe and the USA. His repertoire is broad, but a love of new music means that many of Tom’s performances have been innovative firsts. As a featured artist at Royal Festival Hall in 2014 he premiered a new work by Divine Comedy’s Neil Hannon; together with beatboxer Shlomo and a Hammond organ he reinvented Ravel's immortal 'Bolero' for BBC Radio 3; and another Radio 3 performance included the world premiere of a groundbreaking work for organ and two beatboxers.
He is Artistic Director to the London Organ Day, teaches the organ for the Royal College of Organists and the Royal Hospital School in Suffolk, and has led or participated in a number of outreach projects, including Heritage Lottery-backed schemes in the City of London, Wimbledon and Southall, and the long-running Organworks project at Eton College, which works with schools in Slough.
Tom serves as Organist and Choir Master at St Michael's Church, Chester Square in central London. His latest recording, a double CD of contemporary music, was a Sunday Times essential release, and his writing has been published in BBC Music Magazine, Organists' Review and others.
Tom will be relocating to Lancashire for the new role, which he begins from 1st September 2017. He will work alongside fellow regional directors Andrew Macintosh (Scotland and Northern Ireland), Andrew McCrea (Midlands, South & Mid Wales), and Simon Williams (South of England & East Anglia).
RCO Director Philip Meaden said: “I am delighted that we have been able to appoint to this role someone of Tom’s energy, desire to innovate, ability to communicate and commitment to UK organ culture.
“Tom has wide experience as a performer, teacher and animateur, and has already proven himself a real ambassador for the organ.”