matthew owens MA MusM FRCO PPRNCM HonFGCM
organist & master of the choristers

Matthew Owens is Organist and Master of the Choristers of Wells Cathedral, having previously been Organist and Master of the Music at St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral, Edinburgh, and Sub Organist of Manchester Cathedral. He was President of the Cathedral Organists’ Association from 2010-13. In addition to being responsible for the 1100 year old choral tradition of daily worship at Wells Cathedral, Matthew has toured, broadcast, and recorded extensively with Wells Cathedral Choir which, in 2011, was named by an international jury for Gramophone as the best choir in the world with children, and the sixth greatest overall. He recently prepared the choristers for Bach’s St Matthew Passion, with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and Sir Simon Rattle for the 2015 BBC Proms. Matthew is the Founder Artistic Director of three initiatives at Wells: Cathedral Commissions, a scheme which commissions new works from pre-eminent British composers; and the cathedral’s innovative festival, new music wells and its counterpart, Early Music Wells.

Matthew studied at Chetham’s School of Music; The Queen’s College, Oxford; the RNCM; and the Sweelinck Conservatorium, Amsterdam. His major organ studies were with Gordon Stewart, Margaret Phillips, and Jacques van Oortmerssen. From 1994-99, he was Tutor in Organ Studies at the RNCM and Chetham’s and worked for BBC Religious Broadcasting, and he was Conductor of The Exon Singers from 1997-2011.

He is Musical Director of the Wells Cathedral Oratorio Society, a chorus of 150 singers with which he has performed Bach’s St John Passion, B minor Mass, and Christmas Oratorio; Britten’s War Requiem and Saint Nicholas; Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius and The Kingdom; Fauré’s Requiem; Handel’s Four Coronation Anthems; Mendelssohn’s Elijah; Mozart’s Requiem and C Minor Mass; Orff’s Camina Burana; Verdi’s Requiem; and major works by Finzi, Purcell, Rutter, and Vaughan Williams, with some of the south of England’s leading professional orchestras. Matthew has directed choral workshops and summer schools throughout the UK and abroad – including recent visits to Australia, China, Germany, Hong Kong, Luxembourg, New Zealand, and the USA – and has made over thirty CDs as a conductor with major labels including Hyperion and Signum.

As an organist, Matthew has given recitals in Australia, France, Ireland, Spain, Switzerland, New Zealand, and throughout the UK, including many festival appearances, and at venues such as St Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster Cathedral, and St John’s Smith Square. He has championed new music, particularly of British composers, premiering many new works by leading composers ranging from Jools Holland to Sir James MacMillan, and John Rutter to Sir Peter Maxwell Davies. He is active as a composer himself and has works published by Oxford University Press and Novello. He was made an Honorary Fellow of the Guild of Church Musicians in November 2012.


jonathan vaughn ma frco
assistant organist

Jonathan Vaughn has been Assistant Organist at Wells Cathedral since September 2007.  He was previously Assistant Director of Music at St Edmundsbury Cathedral and held Organ Scholarships at St John’s College, Cambridge, St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle and Croydon Parish Church.  While still sixteen he had gained both awards from the Royal College of Organists, winning most of the prizes.  He studied the organ with Simon Williams and Dame Gillian Weir.

As Assistant Organist at the Cathedral, Jonathan’s primary work is playing the organ for the majority of the cathedral’s liturgies and training the Cathedral Choristers.  He is also busy playing a central role in the Cathedral’s busy programme of broadcasts, concerts, tours, outreach, commissions and recordings.

In addition to his work at Wells, Jonathan is Musical Director of the Somerset Singers, and teaches the organ at Wells Cathedral School.  He regularly gives recitals in the UK and abroad. Further information is available at


james kealey bmus
Senior organ scholar

James is currently the Senior Organ Scholar/Second Assistant Organist at Wells Cathedral where his duties include regularly accompanying the Cathedral Choirs as well as helping train the choristers, manage the music library and work closely with the Wells Cathedral Oratorio Society as Assistant Conductor.

A recent graduate of Royal Holloway, University of London, James received a degree in Music whilst being the Senior Organ Scholar to the renowned Chapel Choir. In this capacity, James accompanied the Chapel Choir in their weekly round of services, as well as CD recordings, broadcasts on BBC Radio 3, and concerts. Prior to this, James was Organ Scholar at Blackburn Cathedral, regularly accompanying the Cathedral Choir, and was the Principal Accompanist to the Young People’s Choir and Schola Cantorum. Whilst at sixth form, James was Organ Student at Chester Cathedral where he regularly worked with the choristers and occasionally playing and conducting the Cathedral Choir and Nave Choir.

Becoming increasingly more active as a recitalist, James has performed at Chester, Blackburn, Southwark and Newcastle, Truro and Rochester, Blackburn, Gloucester, and Liverpool Anglican Cathedrals with future recitals at Bradford and Chester Cathedrals and has recently secured recitals in the USA in early 2017 including a recital at St. Thomas Church, Fifth Avenue, NYC and Trinity Church, Boston, MA.