John Scott Whiteley was chosen to perform the complete organ music of Johann Sebastian Bach for BBC2 and BBC4 television after two complete performances he gave in 2000 to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the composer’s death. The first series took place at York Minster and was among the first in the world to present Bach’s music in attempted chronological order. 21st -Century Bach was then a joint commission by BBC2 and BBC4, and is planned to run for several years, during which time some 80 programmes will cover Bach’s entire output for organ. The series was described by the daily national newspaper, The Daily Telegraph, as “a triumph both visually and musically.”
John Scott Whiteley’s association with Bach goes back many years, to the time when he was awarded a scholarship to study with the late Maestro Fernando Germani in Siena, Italy. His playing of the Clavierübung gained for him first prize in the 1976 National Organ Competition of Great Britain, and in 1983 his performances of Bach at the Royal Festival Hall, in the formerly well-known 5.55 series of recitals, met with wide acclaim. He subsequently performed extensively, playing in most of the major British cathedrals and concert halls, for the UK Annual Conference of the Incorporated Association of Organists, and at concert series and festivals in Belgium, Denmark, Holland, Poland, Switzerland, Germany, Italy and the U.S.A. The most recent of these include the 2005 International Organ Festival in St. Albans, the 2006 Musicometa Festival in Rome, and 2008 Bach Festivals in Skiernewice, Poland, and Camaiore, Italy. A recent recital at Birmingham Symphony Hall has led to an invitation to present a further Bach concert in 2010. He has recorded Bach at Haarlem for Priory records, and has recently given master classes and adjudicated at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. He is an examiner for the Royal College of Organists, having been a member of the council for over ten years.
John Scott Whiteley is Organist of York Minster, and his other interests include the music of the Belgian composer Joseph Jongen, about whom he has published a book. He is a contributor to The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, and some of his compositions have been broadcast by BBC Radio Three. He has also recently transcribed the 1963 Symphonie improvisée by Pierre Cochereau, the late organist of Notre-Dame de Paris. John Scott Whiteley has won awards from The Gramophone, and has had his own programme on the American Public Radio network in the series, Pipedreams.
Between 1985 and 2005 Mr. Whiteley toured the USA annually, represented by the well-known agency, Phillip Truckenbrod Concert Artists, and in the UK he is represented by Paul Vaughan Artists.