Concerts at St James

After a restoration project by Mander worth over £400,000, St James’s Church is pleased to announce the following celebrity re-opening recital on its historic Hill/Hele/Walker organ.

Ashley Grote

Celebrity recitalist

Saturday 10th July 2021 | 7.30pm

Sponsored by Mander Organ Builders

  • Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor, BWV 582 by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
  • Récit de tierce en taille by Nicolas de Grigny (1672-1703)
  • Chorale-Phantaisie über ‘Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott’, Op. 27 by Max Reger (1873-1916)
  • Pièce Héroïque by César Franck (1822-90)
  • Carillon de Westminster Op. 54 no, 6 by Louis Vierne (1870-1937)


  • Celebration by Cecilia McDowall (b.1951)
  • A Fantasy Op. 39 by Harold Darke (1888-1976) (Former organist at St James’s)
  • Prelude and Fugue ‘The Spitfire’ by William Walton (1902-83) Arr. Tom Winpenny
  • Elegy by George Thalben-Ball (1896-1987) (Former organist at St James’s)
  • Andante ”Choeur de Voix Humaines”, Op. 122, no 7 by Louis Lefébure-Wély (1817-1869)
  • Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1 in D, Op. 39 by Edward Elgar 1857-1934 arr. Edwin Lemare (1965-1934)

Ashley Grote has held the post of Master of the Music at Norwich Cathedral since 2012. He is responsible for the running of the Cathedral music department, directing the boys’ and girls’ choirs in their busy programme of choral services, concerts, broadcasts and recordings. He also directs Norwich Cathedral Chamber Choir, who perform frequent concerts alongside period instrument ensemble Norwich Baroque.

Ashley was both a chorister (1990-95) and an organ scholar (2001-04) at King’s College, Cambridge, under the late Sir Stephen Cleobury, whose influence did so much to shape Ashley’s musical development. As organ scholar at King’s, he performed internationally with the world-famous choir and accompanied numerous recordings, radio and television broadcasts including the annual ‘Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols’. Ashley has subsequently held posts as Organist-in-residence at Tonbridge School (2004-05), Assistant Organist of Westminster Abbey (2005-08) and Assistant Director of Music at Gloucester Cathedral (2008-2012). Ashley has also been involved in the Edington Music Festival of Music within the Liturgy, first as Organist (2007-09) and then Festival Director (2010-12).

Ashley studied the organ with David Goode and Nicolas Kynaston. As a recitalist, he has performed throughout the UK, USA and Europe with recent concerts in Italy, Germany, Finland and Sweden. During the COVID-19 pandemic, his regular online recitals from Norwich Cathedral have attracted many listeners from around the world. Ashley’s first solo disc, of organ symphonies by Louis Vierne, was described by Gramophone magazine as a ‘top-notch recording’, and his recording of popular organ works from Norwich Cathedral is heard frequently on Classic FM. His most recent recording, of major organ works by J.S. Bach from Selby Abbey, was released in December 2019 to critical acclaim. Ashley has performed alongside the BBC Singers in recording and broadcast projects, most recently in a live radio broadcast of Messiaen’s solo Christmas cycle for organ, ‘La Nativité du Seigneur’ in December 2020. As a composer and arranger of organ and choral works, his work has been published by Oxford University Press, Stainer & Bell, and Encore publications.

Away from music, and thanks to the generosity of many friends and supporters, Ashley has raised nearly£90,000 by running five London Marathons for Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital where his daughter is a patient. He will run again in October 2021 with the aim of reaching £100,000 – – visit for more details. A keen cook, he also appeared in the 2018 series of BBC MasterChef.

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