Director of Music
James Thomas is St Edmundsbury Cathedral's Director of Music (Organist and Master of the Choristers). He oversees the provision of music in the worship at the Cathedral, trains the Cathedral Choir, the St Cecilia Chorale and the Colts Choir, and conducts the majority of the choral services.
Born in 1963, James read music as Organ Scholar at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, receiving tuition on the organ from Nicolas Kynaston. During this time he gained the FRCO, winning the Dixon prize for extemporisation.
After graduating, he spent a year at Homerton College, then, armed with a PGCE, lived in France for two years, teaching in Caen and studying the organ in Rouen with Louis Thiry. He won the Premier Prix de Perféctionnement there in 1988.
James returned to England in 1988 as Assistant Organist at Blackburn Cathedral, and then moved to Chichester in 1991 as Assistant Organist at the Cathedral and Director of Music at the Prebendal School. Here he met the daughter of one of his music staff. Katharine and James were married in Chichester Cathedral in 1993. (Katharine is herself an accomplished musician, having been Organ Scholar at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford.) They have three daughters (Charlotte, Eleanor and Harriet), a dog (Bertram Wilberforce) and two cats (Jeoffry and as-yet-un-named).
James was appointed Director of Music at St Edmundsbury Cathedral in September 1997. Since then, the Cathedral Choir has made several CDs, undertaken eight foreign tours and sung many times on national radio and television. From 1998 - 2002 he was conductor of the Cambridge Choral Society. In November 2009 James was awarded the Honorary Fellowship of the Guild of Church Musicians. He has twice run in the London Marathon, raising money for good causes. Other interests include France, the French language and all things oenological.