John Challenger - return to the 2023/2024 Season or Welcome
Organ Recitals Nationwide


Prelude and Fugue in E minor (BWV 548) - J. S. Bach (1685–1750)          
Allein Gott, in der Höh sei Her (BWV 663) -
J. S. Bach (1685–1750)          
Fantasia in A minor (BK 13) -
William Byrd (1543–1623)
Benedictus -
William Lloyd-Webber (1914–82)
Nocturne -
Germaine Tailleferre (1892–1983)
Clair de lune -
Louis Vierne (1870–1937)
Improvisation -
Nadia Boulanger (1887–1979)
Venus, the bringer of peace (The Planets Suite) -
Gustav Holst (1874–1934)/arr. John Challenger (b. 1988)
Rhapsody No 3 -
Herbert Howells (1892–1983)

John Challenger has been Assistant Director of Music at Salisbury Cathedral since September 2012. In this role, he accompanies Salisbury Cathedral Choir in daily worship on the great Father Willis Organ, built in 1877. John is also Assistant Director of Salisbury Musical Society, and a freelance teacher and performer.
He received his musical education as a chorister at Hereford Cathedral, and as an Organ Scholar at St John’s College, Cambridge. At St John’s College, under the directorship of Andrew Nethsingha, John accompanied the world-famous chapel choir, playing the organ for services, concerts, recordings, broadcasts, tours, and four critically-acclaimed recordings on the Chandos label. John has also acted as Director of Music of St John’s College, during the sabbatical of Andrew Nethsingha.
John studied the organ with David Briggs, Jeremy Filsell, Mark Williams, and the late David Sanger, and he obtained his Fellowship of the Royal College of Organists in 2008.
In April 2015, John’s début solo organ CD,
Elgar from Salisbury, received many enthusiastic reviews, Organists’ Review commenting: ‘there is nothing I can say that can begin to convey the technical brilliance, artistry, musicality and seemingly effortless organ management of John Challenger. If you love the Salisbury organ and adore Elgar, here is a match made in heaven.’ John has released three further solo albums on the newly-founded Salisbury Cathedral record label including, most recently, Salisbury Meditation, an album released to raise funds for NHS Charities Together, as well as an album of organ works by César Franck and the best-selling album Organ Prom, recorded to complement Salisbury’s annual summer Organ Prom, which draws around 1,000 audience members.
In early 2023 John began the Planets Project, using the Salisbury Cathedral Willis organ to engage with local schoolchildren via the music of Holst’s
Planets Suite, featuring newly-commissioned poetry by Martin Figura. Upcoming projects include a full recording of this arrangement of the Planets Suite, performed on the Salisbury Cathedral organ, released as an audio album, with an accompanying full-length film available to viewers via YouTube, and intended specifically for schools as a musical-educational resource. This film will receive its premiere on YouTube in the autumn of 2024.