Past-President, The Incorporated Society of Musicians
Pastmaster, The Worshipful Company of Musicians
Chestnut Barn, Syerston Hall Park, Newark, Nottinghamshire, NG23 5NL.
John Morehen was born in Gloucester. He was Organ Scholar at New College, Oxford, graduating with the highest First Class Honours degree of his year. He then undertook doctoral research at King's College, Cambridge, pursuing organ studies with Ralph Downes, and assisting at the RAF Church of St. Clement Danes, Strand, and at Hampstead Parish Church. He was also organist to the Martindale Sidwell Choir, the Hampstead Choral Society, and the London Bach Orchestra. He interrupted his research to spend 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 in 1967 he returned to Washington as joint-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 became Professor of Music at Nottingham in 1989, serving also as inaugural Head of the School of Humanities (1998-2001). In 2002 he was accorded the title of Emeritus Professor of Music.
John Morehen's main interests lie in the music of the 16th and 17th centuries. For over 40 years he has been involved in prestigious editorial projects, including the Tudor Church Music octavo series (Associate Revising Editor), the British Academy's 'major project' Early English Church Music (Assistant Editor, 1972-80, General Editor, 1980-95) and Musica Britannica (member of the Editorial Committee since 2003, and Trustee since 2007). His scholarly editions include the English church music of Tye, the complete Latin and English church music of Morley (3 vols), the English madrigals of Amner, Nicolson, Hilton 'the Younger' and Croce, Byrd's Psalmes, Songs and Sonnets (1611), and Merulo's Recercari (1567). His editions of Ravenscroft's Pammelia and Deuteromelia (1609), together with rounds and songs from Melismata (1611) were published in 2012 in Musica Britannica. He is 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 has written widely on 16th- and 17th-century music, and has contributed extensively to Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart,The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (2001) and The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. John Morehen's most recent articles, in The Transactions of the Cambridge Bibliographical Society, deal with Jacobean music printing. He has also given presentations on computer applications in musicology (especially text underlay, keyboard fingering, and composer-authentication) at conferences in Orsay (1981), Paris (1984), The Hague (1986), Toronto (1989), and Washington DC (1993). His new edition of the memoirs of Sir Herbert Brewer, organist of Gloucester Cathedral from 1896-1928, will be published in 2015 to mark the 150th anniversary of his birth.
For 25 years (1964-89) John Morehen was a regular BBC solo recitalist and continuo player, 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 has involved numerous first (and first broadcast) performances, including works by Christopher Brown, Adrian Cruft, Martin Dalby, Paul Patterson, Ned Rorem, Leo Sowerby, Bohuslav Martinů and Egon Wellesz. He conducted the USA Premiere of Maurice Duruflé's Mass Cum Jubilo in Washington National Cathedral in 1968. Amongst conductors for whom he has prepared choirs are Yehudi Menuhin, Sir Charles Mackerras and Sir David Willcocks.
John Morehen was a JP for Nottingham for twenty years, serving as a Presiding Magistrate from 1995-2011. He actively supports the work of 'Good Vibrations' and 'Music in Prisons', both of which promote music workshops in prisons and secure hospitals. Within the East Midlands he has served as Conductor of the Nottingham Bach Choir (1982-9) and of The Nottingham University Singers (1984-2002), President of the East Midlands Choirs Charitable Trust (1993-2000), Patron of the Nottingham Young Musician competition (since 2003), Patron of the St Mary's (Nottingham) Choral Scholarship Scheme (since 2005), and President of Nottingham Harmonic Choir (since 2008). He has also been Music Advisor to Nottingham Lunchtime Proms (1986-9) and the Convenor of the North Midlands Chapter of the Royal Musical Association.
John's musical compositions, comprising ceremonial brass fanfares and Christmas carols and anthems, are published by Encore Publications.
John Morehen's service (almostly entirely pro bono) has included:
John and his wife Marie (an alumna of The New England Conservatory of Music, Boston, and of American University, Washington DC) live in rural Nottinghamshire. John’s recreations include antiques (especially English domestic silver), genealogy, enjoying country life, and indulging in nostalgia.
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 Guildhall,
(l-r: Michael Spencer, Alderman Dr Andrew Parmley, Master (partly hidden), 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) with the Musicians' Company Silver Medal at Drapers' Hall (November 2012)
(photo: Peter Holland)
Under the watchful eye of BBC Television cameras 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 Barry Ife, Bandsman Nathalie White (Band of the Welsh Guards), Professor John Morehen)
At London's Guildhall in 2013 HRH The Duke of Kent asks John about the symbolism on his Master's 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! - has brought to children. The fan itself relates to John's maternal family line (Fann), while the motto 'Justitia' marks his obsession with fairness.
Website updated February 2015