She has been at Selwyn since 1999, and is the first woman to hold such a post in an Oxbridge Chapel. As well as directing her two internationally acclaimed choirs, she teaches and examines for the Cambridge University Faculty of Music. Sarah came to the UK from Canada in 1992 as Organ Scholar of Robinson College, Cambridge after studying piano, organ, and conducting at The Royal Conservatory of Music's Glenn Gould School in Toronto with Leon Fleisher, Marek Jablonski, and John Tuttle. At Cambridge she read for a degree in Music, and studied the organ with David Sanger.
Sarah has played numerous recitals and conducted choirs throughout the UK, North America, the Middle East, New Zealand, and much of mainland Europe. She has made over 35 commercial recordings, variously in the guises of pianist, organist, conductor, and producer, and currently works most frequently with Regent Records. With Regent, Selwyn Choir under Sarah's direction have developed a successful and highly regarded series of recordings of single living composers, including both established and emerging names.
Sarah is a winner of the Royal College of Organists' (RCO) coveted Limpus Prize, and has taught organ and conducting for Eton Choral Courses, Oundle for Organists, the Jennifer Bate Organ Academy, and courses run by the RCO. For its first decade, she was a Director of the annual Girl Chorister Course at St Thomas Church Fifth Avenue, in New York City, and she has directed several RSCM residential courses in the States and the UK. Sarah is a Fellow and Examiner of the RCO, and has also been a Trustee and a member of the Academic Board.
As a composer, she has had numerous works published by Encore Publications, the Royal School of Church Music, August Press, and St James Music Press. She is series editor for the newly established 'Sarah MacDonald Choral Series' with American publisher Selah Publications. She also writes a popular monthly column for the American Guild of Organists' magazine The American Organist, called 'UK Report'. Sarah recently received the honorary ARSCM in recognition of her contribution to choral music in the UK and Canada, and the citation made particular mention of her support of contemporary British composers.
SARAH MACDONALD is a Canadian-born, UK-based organist, conductor, and composer, and she currently holds the positions of Fellow and Director of Music at Selwyn College, Cambridge, and Director of the girl choristers at Ely Cathedral.
"He is, without exaggeration, an extraordinary artist, whose humanity shines in the impeccable artistry that flows from his hands...."
- Hans Zimmer, award-winning composer
Roger Sayer is at the forefront of British choral and organ music. A former organ student at St Paul's Cathedral, Roger was Prize Winner at the 1989 St Albans International Organ Competition and won all the organ prizes at the Royal College of Music. Since then, he has been constantly in demand both as a recitalist and accompanist, and his playing takes him to many parts of the world.
His recent tours and events have included recitals in Italy, Germany, Holland and Denmark, a major tour of Australia, a live recital at Temple Church broadcast on BBC Radio 3, opening the 2018 Summer Organ Festival at Westminster Abbey and the release of two new recordings for Priory and Signum records. Upcoming highlights encompass recitals in Germany, Denmark and Sweden, and, in the UK, Bath Abbey and Durham Cathedral, as well as conducting a tour to Holland in Summer 2019 with the boy choristers of the Temple Church Choir. He will also be recording soundtracks for a Sony video game, and collaborating with saxophonist Mark Lockheart and composer John Ashton Thomas in a new album, Salvator Mundi, to be released this autumn.
Roger Sayer's work as organist has also extended into the film world, with his most recent performance as organ soloist for Hans Zimmer's Oscar nominated score for the motion picture Interstellar. Roger later went on to perform the work live with composer Hans Zimmer in a special concert at London's Royal Albert Hall, which was attended by the film's director, cast and supporters, including Christopher Nolan, Jessica Chastain, Professor Brian Cox and Professor Stephen Hawking.
As a recording artist, Roger has released a number of CDs of solo organ music. His latest recordings, The Complete Organ Sonatas of Josef Rheinberger and The Grand Organ of Temple Church, have received several 5* ratings and outstanding reviews. The Grand Organ of Temple Church has been recommended on MusicWeb International: ‘Roger Sayer’s playing has a vitality and vibrancy about it which positively exudes brightness and clarity of thought.’. Likewise, his Rheinberger CD was recently Recording of the Month on MusicWeb International: ‘Roger Sayer proves himself to be an apt interpreter of Josef Rheinberger’s wonderful music; his playing is superior to that of Jürgen Sonnentheil on CPO in the two sonatas that he performs on his disc. The excellence that Sayer shows in those two sonatas is continued on into the other eighteen, so much so that I hope that Priory gives him an opportunity to record further recitals of the composer’s music.’.
In addition to his organ playing, Roger Sayer is also an acclaimed choral director with some of the UK's finest choirs. After founding the Rochester Cathedral Girls’ choir, Roger joined Temple Church in 2013 as Musical Director and has since created an impressive portfolio of broadcasts, concerts and recordings. The choir’s most recent CD, The Temple Tradition, received a 5* review in Choir and Organ Magazine: ‘The richly voiced young choristers of the Choir of the Temple Church are a joy to listen to, their unison singing nothing short of miraculous, and Roger Sayer draws from his singers outstanding phrasing and subtle nuances of tone’. Under his direction, Temple Church Choir has broadcast numerous times on BBC Radio 3 and Classic FM, and undertaken several international tours of the USA, Holland, Singapore, Australia and Germany. In 2017, Roger conducted the choir at the St Albans International Organ Festival 'Three Choirs' concert, alongside the choirs of St Paul's Cathedral and St Albans Abbey, and initiated a new youth choir of Boys and Girls at Temple Church, which gave its debut in November.
Outside of Temple Church, Roger Sayer worked regularly with the London Symphony Chorus for ten years, and now works as External examiner for RCM organ final examinations. In his capacity as Accompanist and Deputy Chorus Director, Roger has collaborated with many of the world's leading conductors and soloists.