We are happy to announce the appointment of our new Head of Music, Thomas Neal MA Hons (Cantab), MPhil (Cantab).
Mr Neal is a musicologist, choral conductor, and church musician. He read music at Clare College, Cambridge as an undergraduate (BA Hons, 2012), and musicology as a graduate research student (MPhil, 2013). During his final year at Cambridge he was elected John Stewart of Rannoch Scholar in Sacred Music. Tom has researched and written widely on music and liturgy in the sixteenth century, with a particular focus on the music of Giovanni Pierluigi ‘da Palestrina’. He has given papers at conferences both in the UK and abroad, and acted as editor and academic advisor for a number of early music ensembles.
Mr Neal is also active as a choral conductor. His previous posts include: assistant conductor of the Cambridge University Chamber Choir, under Tim Brown (2010–12); assistant conductor and répétiteur of Cambridge University Music Society Chorus, under Stephen Cleobury (2011); and founder-director of The Clare Consort (2010–2013). Tom has co-directed The Victoria Consort since 2014. Also an occasional choral composer, Tom’s works have been performed by choirs on both sides of the Atlantic.
Mr Neal’s passion, however, is the traditional Latin liturgy and the music proper to it. He has travelled around the UK and Europe (including two visits to the Vatican) directing the music for the liturgy, leading workshops, and giving talks on the subject. Mr Neal was until recently Director of Music and Organist at the Shrine Church of St. Augustine of England, Ramsgate (Ramsgate Abbey), where he oversaw the church’s comprehensive music programme and directed its three choirs. Previously he was Organ Scholar at the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption and the English Martyrs, Cambridge (2010– 11); and Director of Music and Organist at Fisher House, Cambridge (2012–13).
His primary responsibility will be training and directing the boys’ choir for daily Mass.