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Spotlight on the King’s Organ Scholars

Donal McCann
Henry Websdale

Donal McCann is 19 years old and is currently the junior organ scholar at King’s College, Cambridge. Originally from Belfast, he joined St. Peter's Cathedral Schola Cantorum in 2008, studying piano and organ with director of music Nigel McClintock. By 2011 he had achieved grade 8 with distinction in piano, organ and voice. He attended Methodist College Belfast from 2010 to 2015, where he accompanied award-winning choirs, during which time he was the Organ Scholar in St George’s Parish Church Belfast. In 2012 Donal began studying piano with Anthony Byrne and organ with Professor Gerard Gillen in Dublin. He is an experienced recitalist, including in Hereford and Worcester as part of the Three Choirs Festival, as well as in Southwark Cathedral, St Lawrence Jewry London and St Michael’s Church Dún Laoghaire. He has also toured many Cathedrals around the UK as visiting organist, including Chichester and Exeter. In 2015 Donal obtained the Lloyd Webber Foundation Scholarship to Eton College, where he completed his A level studies, alongside organ tutelage from David Goode. At Eton, he toured Germany with the College Chapel Choir, performing in Leipzig, and on the choir’s tour to Venice he also played in St Mark’s Basilica. In August 2016 Donal achieved FRCO, receiving the Limpus/Shinn/Durrant prize for the highest mark in the practical examination. Last year he won the Bach prize at the Northern Ireland International Organ Competition. At King’s, Donal works closely with the choir, and is involved with daily chapel services and recordings (including the BBC 2 broadcasts Carols from King’s and Easter from King’s). He has toured extensively with the Chapel choir, recently in Athens, as well as concerts around the UK and Ireland.

Henry Websdale, aged 21, is from west Yorkshire, and is the senior organ scholar and an academic scholar at King’s College, Cambridge, where he accompanies and conducts the world-famous choir. His work at King’s has involved broadcasting live the world famous service of ‘Nine Lessons and Carols’ on BBC Radio 4 to millions around the globe; recording TV programmes for BBC 2, namely Carols from King’s and Easter from King’s and playing for concerts in the UK (such as the Royal Albert Hall, London; the Barbican Centre, London; Bridgewater Hall, Manchester and the Cadogan Hall) and all over the world (such as the Kreuth Music Festival; the Verbier Festival; the Vancouver Arts Festival as well as across the USA). He has also performed with many of the UK’s finest orchestras, such as the BBC Concert Orchestra (with whom he has also broadcasted the Duruflé Requiem on BBC Radio 3), the Philharmonia Orchestra, the Britten Sinfonia and the Academy of Ancient Music. Alongside his work with the choir, Henry has conducted numerous student performances in Cambridge, including Britten’s Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings, Messiaen’s Oiseaux Exotiques and Bach cantatas, and he was assistant musical director for a university opera society mainshow, The Rake’s Progress. He has recently become a conductor of the Cambridge University Symphony Orchestra. He is also in demand as a singer, and has just sung Nemorino (L’elisir d’amore, Donizetti) at West Road Concert Hall, Cambridge.


Naji Hakim (1955-)

Rhapsody for Organ Duo (1992)

Allegro molto

Andante sostenuto


Andante tranquillo

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

Toccata, adagio & fugue, BWV 564
Played by Donal McCann

Charles-Valentin Alkan (1813-1888)

Bombardo-Carillon for four feet, op. 47

Gustav Mahler (1860-1911), arr. D. J. McCann

Symphony no 1, ‘Titan’

II Kräftig bewegt, doch nicht zu schnell

Alexandre Guilmant (1871-1901)

March on a theme of Handel, op. 15 no. 2
Played by Henry Websdale

Gustav Holst (1874-1934), arr. R. Quinney

The Planets


Performer photo
Donal McCann
Henry Websdale