Christopher Stokes was appointed Organist & Master of the Choristers of Manchester Cathedral in 1996, having previously been appointed Organist of the Cathedral in 1992. Prior to that he worked in London, having held posts in two of London’s leading churches: as Organist & Master of Music at St. Martin-in-the-Fields in Trafalgar Square and Director of Music at St. Margaret’s, Westminster Abbey.
As a conductor in London, he directed the professional choirs for services at St. Martin’s and St. Margaret’s. He also founded The Baroque Soloists of St Martin-in-the-Fields, (a group of leading baroque players and singers in London). In Manchester he directs the Cathedral Choir, which, in addition to the essential Opus Dei, sings for regular television and radio broadcasts and has recorded a number of CDs, which have receive critical acclaim. They have just returned from a successful tour to the USA where they sang in Washington, Harrisburg and New York. In 1995 he founded Manchester Baroque, a group specialising in the performance of music of the 17th and 18th centuries. He has also conducted Manchester Camerata and the Northern Chamber Orchestra on many occasions.
Christopher is also one of the regular directors/organists for Daily Service on BBC Radio 4. He directed the music for the 2001 live transmission of the Ascension Day service on Radio 4, conducting the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields and the Daily Service Singers. He again directed the service in 2002 and 2007 with His Majesties Sagbutts and Cornetts and Sinfonia Brittanica respectively. He has directed and played for many BBC TV Songs of Praise recordings.
As a soloist, Christopher has performed extensively both in the UK and abroad. In 1997 he was the first to record on the Marcussen organ in Manchester’s new Bridgewater Hall with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, and played Elgar’s Organ Sonata in G there as part of the ‘Concert Plus’ series for the BBC. Since then, he has given two further recitals there. He has appeared as concerto soloist with numerous orchestras including the Manchester Camerata, the Northern Chamber Orchestra and the Orchestra of the Golden Age. Last year he has gave concerts in Germany, during which time he made a live concert-recording of a Handel organ concerto with the German Radio Orchestra in the Gewandhaus in Leipzig. He has recently returned from Germany where he played another Handel concerto, this time with the Halle Händel Festspiele Orchestra. His CD recording of Elgar and Stanford’s organ works has received critical acclaim. His most recent recording, this time of Howells’ organ music, was released in 2006 and has also received excellent reviews.
As a continuo player, Christopher has always been busy. He has performed, toured, broadcast and recorded with most of Britain’s leading orchestras including the Hanover Band; the London Mozart Players; the London Symphony Orchestra; the London Bach Orchestra; the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra; the Hallé Orchestra and the Northern Chamber Orchestra. He has also performed and recorded with the Salzburg Bach-Chor and the German Radio Choir. He has a great many television and radio broadcasts to his credit. Christopher also works extensively as a piano accompanist.
Whilst in London, Christopher was professor of organ at Trinity College of Music from 1976-1992, where he also studied from 1972-1976. He was invited to become Head of Organ Studies at Chetham’s School of Music in 1994.
He has served as a Council Member of the Royal College of Organists and was the Artistic Director of the College’s Performer of the Year 2000 competition.