Simon Preston CBE, MA, MusB, HonDMus, HonFRCO, HonRCO (1938–2022)
The College is saddened to learn of the death of Dr Simon Preston CBE.
Simon Preston made his debut at the Royal Festival Hall, London, in 1962; was shortly afterwards appointed Sub-Organist of Westminster Abbey; and in 1970 became Organist of the Cathedral and Tutor in Music at Christ Church, Oxford, where his work with the choir won high praise. In 1981, he was appointed Organist and Master of the Choristers at Westminster Abbey, where again his work with the choir received great acclaim.
After leaving the Abbey in 1987, he continued to pursue an active career as a highly sought-after and acclaimed concert organist and award-winning recording artist. Classic CD named him in its list, ‘The Greatest Players of the Century’, which included the entire classical music world. The recording of Handel’s Coronation Anthems with the Westminster Abbey Choir conducted by Simon Preston was awarded a ‘Grand Prix du Disque’ in 1983. In October 2000, Deutsche Grammophon launched his complete recording of Bach’s organ works. In addition to his activities as a performer, Simon Preston was known as an organ and choral composer. In 2009, Simon Preston was made a CBE in the New Year’s Honours List, and in 2011 he was made an honorary Student at Christ Church, Oxford University, and awarded an honorary doctorate by Mount Royal University, Calgary, Canada.
Simon Preston was an Honorary Fellow of the College (1975) and was the recipient of the RCO Medal in 2014 for organ playing and choral conducting (pictured receiving his RCO Medal from then-RCO President Catherine Ennis). Click here to download a copy of the RCO Medal Citation in full.
We offer our condolences to his family.