Past-President, The Incorporated Society of Musicians (the UK's professional association for musicians)
Pastmaster, The Worshipful Company of Musicians
John Morehen was born in Gloucester. He was the foundation Organ Scholar at New College, Oxford, graduating with the highest First Class degree of his cohort. He undertook doctoral research at King's College, Cambridge. He was also organist and continuo player for several London choirs, playing in the RFH, QEH, RAH with most of the major London orchestras. He spent a semester as 'Ralph H. Lane Memorial Scholar' at The College of Church Musicians at the National Episcopal Cathedral, Washington DC. On graduating from Cambridge he returned to Washington as Lecturer at the College of Church Musicians and at American University, serving also as Washington critic for The Musical Times. He returned to the UK in 1968 on appointment as Sub-Organist at St George's Chapel, Windsor, where he was Organist for many Royal and State occasions, and where he founded the Windsor Festival Chorus to perform with Yehudi Menuhin. In 1973 he was appointed Lecturer in Music at Nottingham University. In 1979, while on research leave, he was Adjunct Lecturer at The State University of New York (Binghamton). He was appointed Professor of Music at Nottingham in 1989, serving latterly also as inaugural Head of the School of Humanities (1998-2001). He relinquished his University appointments in 2002 to devote more time to freelance pursuits, and became Emeritus Professor of Music.
John Morehen's main interests lay in 16th- and 17th-century music. For 50 years he was involved in major editorial projects, including the British Academy major project Early English Church Music (Assistant Editor, 1972-80, General Editor, 1980-95) and Musica Britannica (Editorial Committee member since 2003, and Trustee since 2007). His scholarly editions included the complete English church music of Christopher Tye, the complete Latin and English church music of Thomas Morley, the collected madrigals of Amner, Nicolson, John Hilton ('the Younger') and Croce, Byrd's Psalmes, Songs and Sonnets (1611), and Merulo's keyboard Recercari (1567). His edition of Ravenscroft's Pammelia/Deuteromelia (1609) and rounds and songs from Melismata (1611) appeared in 2012. He was the editor of English Choral Practice, 1400-1650 (CUP, 1995), the first book to survey the performing practices in English choral foundations during the 15th-17th centuries. He wrote widely on 16th- and 17th-century music, and contributed to numerous reference works, including The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (2001 edition). His articles in The Transactions of the Cambridge Bibliographical Society dealt with Jacobean music printing. He gave presentations on computer applications in musicology at conferences in Orsay (1981), Paris (1984), The Hague (1986), Toronto (1989), and Washington DC (1993). His revised edition of the memoirs of Sir Herbert Brewer, organist of Gloucester Cathedral (d.1928), was published in 2015 to mark Brewer's sesquicentenary. His final publication was an anthology of Elizabethan rounds and canons (Stainer & Bell, 2018).
For 25 years (1964-89) Morehen was a regular BBC solo organ recitalist, giving broadcast recitals from King’s College Chapel, Cambridge, Hampstead Parish Church, St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, The Great Hall of Nottingham University, St Mary’s Church (Clifton Village), Southwell Minster, and Lincoln Cathedral. His championship of contemporary music involved numerous first (and first broadcast) performances, including works by Christopher Brown, Adrian Cruft, Martin Dalby, Paul Patterson, Ned Rorem, Leo Sowerby, Bohuslav Martinů, Egon Wellesz and Peter Wishart. He conducted the USA Premiere of Maurice Duruflé's Mass Cum Jubilo in Washington Cathedral in 1968. Conductors for whom he prepared choirs included Yehudi Menuhin, Sir Charles Mackerras and Sir David Willcocks.
John Morehen was a JP for Nottingham from 1991-2011. Within Nottinghamshire he served as Conductor of the Nottingham Bach Choir (1982-9), Music Advisor to Nottingham Lunchtime Proms (1986-9), Convenor of the North Midlands Chapter of The Royal Musical Association (1988-91), Chairman of the Nottingham Centre of The Incorporated Society of Musicians (1992-95), Conductor of The Nottingham University Singers (1984-2002), and President of the East Midlands Choirs Charitable Trust (1993-2000). He was Patron of the Nottingham Young Musician competition (from 2003), President of Nottingham Harmonic Choir (from 2008), a Past-President of The Nottingham & District Society of Organists, and a member of the Southwell Music Festival Advisory Council (2015-19). He was a member of the Binns Organ Restoration Appeal Fund Committee, which secured the funding for the restoration of the organ in Nottingham's Albert Hall.
John's musical compositions, comprising ceremonial brass fanfares and Christmas carols and anthems, are published by Encore Publications. Amongst the venues in which his compositions have been performed are The Mansion House, Westminster Abbey, Washington National Cathedral and St Thomas's Church, Fifth Avenue, New York.
John Morehen's national appointments included:
John awaits presentation to Her Majesty The Queen at the City of London's 90th Birthday Dinner for HRH Prince Philip,
Fishmongers' Hall, June 2011 (Photo: Gerald Sharp Photography)
With HRH The Princess Royal at Prince Philip's 90th Birthday Dinner, Fishmongers' Hall, June 2011
(Photo: Gerald Sharp Photography)
John (Senior Warden) and Marie welcome guests to the Midsummer Banquet of the Musicians' Company at London's Guildhall,
(l-r: Michael Spencer, Alderman Sir Andrew Parmley (Master), John and Marie, Sir Anthony Cleaver (Junior Warden)
John Morehen accompanies the Lord Mayor of London, Ald. Sir Roger Gifford, at the Midsummer Banquet of the
Worshipful Company of Musicians, Mansion House, July 2013 (photo: Peter Holland)
John presents Claire Iselin (Trinity Laban Conservatoire) with the Musicians' Company Silver Medal at Drapers' Hall (November 2012)
(photo: Peter Holland)
Under the watchful eye of BBC Television John Morehen, Sir Anthony Cleaver and Kathleen Duncan OBE
ride past Mansion House in the ceremonial landau at the 2012 Lord Mayor's Show (photo: Harald Joergens)
At The Queen's Diamond Jubilee Lunch at the Palace of Westminster (June 2012) representatives of the Musicians' Company (top background) are
placed at the table next to Her Majesty the Queen. (l-r: Professor Sir Barry Ife, Bandsman Nathalie White (Band of the Welsh Guards), Professor John Morehen)
At London's Guildhall in 2013 HRH The Duke of Kent enquires about the symbolism on John's Livery regalia, as Marie looks on
(photo: ABF The Soldiers' Charity)
John's Armorial Bearings were devised by Mr Hubert Chesshyre, CVO (Clarenceux King of Arms, 1997-2010), who explains the symbolism as follows:
The red, yellow and black are from the arms of New College, Oxford, King's College, Cambridge, and the Worshipful Company of Musicians. The Scales of Justice relate to John's service as a Justice of the Peace. The lyres are symbols of the Worshipful Company of Musicians and of the Office of Organist to United Grand Lodge of England. The moorhen, perched on the open fan, represents John's surname, and the chick is for the benefits he - with Marie's assistance - brought to children. The fan itself relates to John's maternal family line (Fann), while the motto 'Justitia' marks his obsession with fairness.
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Maintained by Simon Morehen; updated 22nd February 2022