Simon Lindley’s love of the music of Handel dates back to early teenage years in Oxford and performances led by musicians of the calibre of Dr Sydney Watson, Dr Bernard Rose and Richard Silk. The enthusiasm thus kindled was further ignited during, and following, student days at the Royal College of Music and association with Denys Darlow at the Tilford Bach and London Handel Festivals, where Simon was frequently to be found playing the organ or harpsichord, experiences that included, in 1974, a notable – and complete – live BBC broadcast of Solomon from St George’s Hanover Square (Handel’s own parish church) that began at 6.55 pm and finished nearer midnight than 11.00 pm.
In Yorkshire, and indeed farther afield, Dr Lindley has directed a substantial corpus of Handel’s sacred scores including complete performances of the very rarely-heard Brockes Passion of 1716 (additional to many accounts of that work in reduced form). He also conducted one of the earliest performances of Theodora in the (then new) edition by Watkins Shaw following publication in 1984. The tally also includes Israel in Egypt, Samson, Saul and, of course, Solomon. His presentations of Messiah in a number of different manifestations and editions have included two memorable accounts of Dr Denis Wright’s brass band accompaniment at Leeds and Huddersfield Town Halls numerous presentations of the work complete and uncut since he first conducted it in consecutive lunchtimes at the City Church of St Olave, Hart Street (the parish church of diarist Samuel Peyps) almost forty-five years ago.
Simon was appointed Conductor of Sheffield Bach Choir in 2009 and, in 2010, of Doncaster Choral Society – commitments involving some ten concerts each season, most of them with the National Festival Orchestra. His work as Director of Leeds-based St Peter’s Singers, now acknowledged as one of Britain’s finest chamber choirs, and as Master of the Music at the Minster and Parish Church of Saint Peter-at-Leeds, is very widely known and Dr Lindley is widely regarded as a leading organ soloist, accompanist and orchestral player. An extensive discography includes Handel Concertos with Northern Sinfonia on the Naxos label.
In July of this year, an honorary doctorate of the University of Huddersfield was conferred upon him in recognition of his services to choral singing locally, nationally and (in work with the Royal School of Church Music on four continents over four decades) internationally.
Born in London, the son of an Anglican priest and a writer, Simon served at Westminster Cathedral, St Albans Cathedral and St Albans School prior to moving to Yorkshire in 1975.