was born in 1975 and began studying the organ at the age of fourteen whilst a pupil at Liverpool’s historic Blue Coat School. He continued his studies at The Royal Northern College of Music Manchester, where he was a prize winner, graduating in 1997 with BMus (Hons). During this time, his tutor was Margaret Phillips, however he performed in many master classes led by Dame Gillian Weir, David Sanger, David Briggs, Ludger Lohmann, Jacques Van Oortmerssen and Naji Hakim.
In September 1997 Alan became Organ Scholar at Liverpool’s Metropolitan Cathedral and in December 1998 was appointed Assistant Organist at St. Asaph Cathedral in North Wales. As well as accompanying the many services held in the Cathedral,he was given the task of promoting, establishing and directing a new Cathedral Girls’ Choir.
In January 2004 at the age of 28, he was appointed as Organist and Master of the Choristers.
He has directed the Cathedral Choirs in both live and recorded broadcasts for national radio and television and was organist for two broadcasts of BBC TV “Songs of Praise” from St. Asaph.
In 2008 he directed the Cathedral Choirs for their first CD Recording “A Journey from Advent to Epiphany” and in April 2008 recorded the first solo organ CD from St. Asaph, celebrating 10 years since the restoration of the Cathedral Organ, also released on the Regent label. In February 2008 he directed the choir on the occasion of the visit to St. Asaph of H.R.H. The Duke of Kent.
In 2009 Alan directed the Cathedral Choir at the Inauguration and Installation of the First Chancellor of Glyndŵr University, which included a specially commissioned work for the choir by Owain Llwyd and directed a performance of William Mathias “Riddles” when the choir appeared in concert alongside The King’s Singers.
In June 2012 Alan recorded a new CD of anthems with St. Asaph Cathedral Choir to be released later on in the year and in July 2012 directed the Cathedral Choir on the occasion of the visit to St. Asaph of H.R.H. The Prince of Wales and the H.R.H. The Duchess of Cornwall.
Alan has given many organ recitals at home and completed a concert tour of New York City and New England USA, where venues included the Jesuit church of St. Ignatius Loyola (the largest mechanical action organ ever to have been built by a British builder), St. Agnes’ and St. Patrick’s Cathedral. He has also appeared as a soloist for the North Wales International Music Festival and as a staff accompanist for the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod. He has served on the Royal School of Church Music North East Wales committee as Education and Training officer and Chairman. He is also St. Asaph Diocesan Representative for “Friends of Cathedral Music” – St. Asaph hosted a UK. gathering of this organisation in 2007. Alan is also an Associate Lecturer at Canterbury Christ Church University and serves on the Royal School of Church Music National Advisory & Consultative Panel.
Some of Alan’s reviews…
“An auspicious debut…… McGuinness’s renditions are both stylistically appropriate and intrinsically musical – essential listening”
(Church Music Quarterly – Christopher Maxim, Feb 2009)
“A fine performance on the St Asaph Organ… Alan McGuinness is well able to balance restrained power and suavity …. a great CD”
(Music Web International – John France, Jan 2009)
“An organ sequence you will want to repeat”
(Cathedral Music Magazine – Roger Tucker, May 2009)
“McGuinness is an engaging performer with a solid, lively technique, compelling musicianship, and a flair for effective registration. The cathedrals’ surprisingly dry acoustic fails to dampen the effects of these superb performances on a splendid instrument.”
(The American Organist – January 2010)