(left to right: Master of the Choristers, David Stevens; Assistant Master of the Choristers, Thérèse Woodfield; Head of Vocal Tuition, Catherine Harper; Organist, Ian Barber)
Master of the Choristers – David Stevens
The work and development of the music department is directed by the Master of the Choristers, David Stevens, who is the cathedral's principal conductor. He trains and conducts the girls choir, the boys choir, the lay clerks and choral scholars, the sopranos and the girls junior choir.
David is a prize-winning graduate of the choral conducting department at the Royal Academy of Music in London. He studied with Patrick Russill and Paul Brough, and graduated with an MA with distinction in 2009. Before studying at the RAM, he read music at Oxford University, and was the Organ Scholar of Oriel College.
After graduating from the RAM he was the Sub-Organist and Director of the Girls Choir at Newcastle Cathedral before coming to St. Anne's in 2012.
Organist – Ian Barber
The Organist, Ian Barber, is the principal accompanist for the cathedral's choirs, and he plays at all of the services in the cathedral.
Ian was educated at Campbell College, Belfast, The Royal School of Church Music and the Royal College of Music, London, and Bishop's University, Lennoxville, Quebec, Canada. He gained the fellowship of the Royal College of Organists with the Choirmaster's Diploma, and graduated with distinction from the Royal Schools of Music; he is an Associate of the Royal College of Music for both organ performance and piano accompaniment. Ian also underwent training for ordination, for which he was awarded the Licentiate in Sacred Theology from Bishop's University.
Before his appointment at St. Anne's, Ian was organist in two churches in Canada: St. Mark's in Ottowa and St. Thomas' in St. Catherine's, Ontaria. On his return to Northern Ireland he held the same position at St. Columb's Cathedral, Londonderry, and then at Ballywater Parish Church, during which time he was also director of the Balligan Consort.
Ian taught music at Niagara Secondary School in Canada and was Head of Music at Cabin Hill Prep School, Glengormley High School, Victoria College and Strathearn School, Belfast. As an accompanist he has worked with the Killinchy Singers, the Anderson Singers, the Ormiston (later Pheonix) Choir, the Ards Choral Society (also as conductor), and Queen's Island Male Voice Choir. He has also performed in the same role at the Belfast and Holywood Music Festivals. Ian accompanied the Donaghadee Male Voice Choir at the Eisteddfod in Wales when it sang a piece which the choir had comissioned from him. He has been organ soloist and accompanist at many charity occasions in the Ulster Hall and other venues.
Ian took up the post of Assistant Organist at St. Anne's in September 1983. Between January and April 1984 he was also the Acting Master of the Choristers, and again from January 1988 to September 1988. Mr Barber began his third period in charge of the music in July 2010, being officially recognised as Organist and Choirmaster. He resumed his role as Organist in April 2012.
Ian has been awarded the Associateship of the Royal School of Church Music in recognition of his 30 years service to the St. Anne's.
Head of Vocal Tuition – Catherine Harper
Catherine oversees the vocal tuition of the cathedral's choristers and the musical curriculum of the children in the cathedral's choir schools.
Catherine was born in Belfast and studied at the Royal Academy of Music London. Her teachers included Heather Harper and Enid Hartle and she gained the highest honour for performance, the Dip. RAM.
Catherine has given numerous live radio recitals. They include performances for Radio Ulster, Radio Telifeis Eirann, Radio 3 and Bavarian radio. For television Catherine has recorded for Sky, BBC Northern Ireland, BBC 2, Channel 4 and CNN.
Catherine’s operatic roles include: Opera Northern Ireland:the Hen and Owl (Janacek’s 'The Cunning Little Vixen'); Papagena (Mozart’s 'Magic Flute); Opera Theatre Company:Clarice (Haydn’s 'Il mondo della luna') Castleward Opera:the Countess (Mozart’s 'Marriage of Figaro'); Yvette (Puccini’s 'La Rondine' ); Frasquita (Bizet’s 'Carmen') and Miss Wordsworth (Britten’s 'Albert Herring'); Haddo Opera: Martha (Von Flotow’s 'Martha'); Down Opera Fringe: Sylvia Bell (Mozart’s 'The Opera Director'); a politician ('Peace and Reconciliation', a new opera by Peter Morgan Barnes),Live Music Now Ireland!:the mother ('The Imposter', a new opera by Peter Morgan Barnes) and concert work for Welsh National Opera.
Catherine opened the St Patrick’s day parade on 5thAvenue, New York, as a member of the Celtic Divas and has given London performances at St John’s Smith Square, St James Picadilly, the Wigmore Hall and the Southbank Centre. She has also performed in all the major venues in Belfast with the Ulster Orchestra and has sung in Adrian Noble’s production of A Midsummer Nights Dream for the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford.
Catherine is a committed singing teacher and her experience includes teaching singing at the junior and senior departments of the Welsh College of Music Cardiff, the University of Ulster and Queen's University Belfast. She is also a Diploma examiner for the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music.
Assistant Master of the Choristers – Thérèse Woodfield
A specialist in career music,Thérèse trains the Junior Boys Choir and deputises as conductor for all the cathedral choirs. She has taught at St. Dominic's Grammar School, Royal Belfast Academical Institution, Methodist College Belfast and now teaches in the cathedral choir schools.
Thérèse organised choir tours to Prague and Rome where her pupils gave an invited performance at the British Embassy and at the Irish Ambassador's residence, and also gave a public concert in the Irish College. As Head of Department at St. Dominic's she entered a Traditional Group in the National Music for Youth Competition which then won the Final in the Queen Elizabeth Hall London resulting in an invitation to perform at the School Proms in the Royal Albert Hall. Her choirs have taken part successfully in local competitions and festivals. At St.Dominic's she performed on two occasions for the visits of President McAleese and for three years was one of two invited choirs in Music Box at Christmas with Peter Corry.
Thérèse, a native of Belfast, was instrumental in setting up Northern Ireland Mother and Baby Appeal, now known as Tiny Life, and her current passion is her beautiful back garden!