Philip’s 40 years of music in the church

A musical milestone: Philip Tordoff at the console of the four-manual organ in the Minster
A musical milestone: Philip Tordoff at the console of the four-manual organ in the Minster

A MASTER musician is celebrating 40 years of performing for Halifax parishioners.

Philip Tordoff has led a staggering 1,100 organ recitals during his four decades as organ master at Halifax Minster.

The 73-year-old, from Cleckheaton, said he did not realise when he took the post in 1971 that he would be still be doing the job so many years later.

“It’s a very fine organ and a lovely church,” he said.

He became interested in music when he was just five by hearing his sister playing the piano.

He persuaded his father to teach him too, and continued his lessons with professional teachers.

A few years later he switched to playing the organ and in 1951 he became organist for Broomfield Methodist Church in Cleckheaton and later for St Andrew’s Church in Oakenshaw, Bradford, and then St John’s Church in Bierley, Bradford.

He started having lessons at Halifax Minster – then Halifax Parish Church – during the 1950s.

Mr Tordoff went on to pass the Associate of the Royal College of Organists exam, gaining the Sawyer Prize for his high marks in playing, and later the Fellow of the Royal College of Organists, again winning a prize for high marks in playing.

In 1956 he gained an organ scholarship to Downing College in Cambridge and later did a teaching diploma at Cambridge.

In 1961 Mr Tordoff became the first music master at Hipperholme Grammar School – a post he held until he retired in 1997.

Mr Tordoff was invited to become organist and music master at Halifax Minster by the then retiring vicar, Canon Archibald Hardie.

Mr Tordoff’s assistant organist for six years was David Barker, who has been organist at St Paul’s Church in King Cross, Halifax, for the last 30 years.