1865-1938

January 3, 1865, Ellington, Northumberland, England.

April 18, 1938, London, England.

portrait

An organist, choir director and musicologist, Terry’s first appointments were to Elstow School in 1890 and as organist and choirmaster of St. John’s Cathedral, Antigua, in 1892. In 1896 he became organist and music director at the Roman Catholic Benedictine Downside School in Somerset. It was there he began reviving the Latin music of Tudor English composers such as William Byrd and Thomas Tallis. He was greatly inspired by the revival of Gregorian chant by Dom Prosper Gueranger at Solesmes Abbey in France, which was to be an important part of the Downside musical repertoire.

Terry was the first Director of Music at the newly built Westminster Cathedral, a post he held 1901-24; he resigned after coming under significant criticism for his choice of music. Nonetheless, during this time he established a significant choral tradition at the cathedral, developing a repertoire of both Gregorian chant and polyphonic music. The choir’s particular focus on renaissance polyphony is believed to have had an impact on the emerging school of 20th Century English composers and on the performance of church music in England. After his resignation from Westminster Cathedral, he went on to work as a musical editor, journalist and academic. He was the first editor of the Oxford University Press series Tudor Church Music, though by the time the series was completed, he had been ousted as editor.

Terry was knighted in the 1922 Dissolution Honours List.

  1. Highwood

Terry’s burial place