Organist and conductor John Challenger has been Assistant Director of Music at Salisbury Cathedral since 2012, where he was appointed at the age of 23. A Fellow of the Royal College of Organists, he was taught the organ by Frédéric Blanc, David Briggs, Jeremy Filsell, Mark Williams, and the late David Sanger.
In 2015 he released his début solo CD on the organ of Salisbury Cathedral, featuring transcriptions of orchestral works by Edward Elgar. The recording was awarded five stars by Choir & Organ Magazine, and received enthusiastic reviews in the American Record Review, Hi-Fi Plus, Organists’ Review, and on Classic FM, while Cathedral Music Magazine commented that ‘it would be difficult to imagine a more auspicious début CD’.
In early 2017, he acted as Director of Music of St John’s College, Cambridge (where he had been Organ Scholar), during the sabbatical of the College’s Director of Music, Andrew Nethsingha. During this period the world-famous choir’s performances were praised in Gramophone Magazine, and the choir broadcast on BBC Radio 3.
Recent engagements have included directing Salisbury Musical Society and Salisbury Symphony Orchestra in Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle, and appearing as organist for ‘Organ Vespers’—a sequence of organ cycles by Olivier Messiaen, performed in new liturgical contexts at Salisbury Cathedral.