A performing musician since chorister days at parish church and cathedral in Salisbury, Jonathan Lilley trained at the Royal Academy of Music, and whilst still a first-year undergraduate held the organ scholarship at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle and passed the notorious exam for Fellowship of the Royal College of Organists. His first permanent appointment was as Sub-Organist of Leeds Parish Church (now Leeds Minster) with its famous musical tradition going back to Samuel Sebastian Wesley’s time as Organist. He served also as choral director, repetiteur and piano accompanist at Leeds College of Music, and accompanied several choirs including the famous Halifax Choral Society.
Jonathan later moved to Ely Cathedral as full-time Assistant Organist, accompanying and helping to train and run the cathedral choir of boys and men. He accompanied the choir on BBC broadcasts, on CD and on overseas tours as well as in the course of daily worship, played recitals and a concerto in the cathedral, accompanied choirs and instrumentalists at King’s School, Ely, accompanied Ely Choral Society and Ely Consort from time to time – and did all those things on piano as well as organ. He performed Poulenc’s organ concerto with City of London Sinfonia live on BBC Radio 3, and occasionally entertained the cathedral community with improvised accompaniments to classic silent films.
Since September 2013 Jonathan has been Director of Music at Waltham Abbey, Essex, where he leads the mixed adult choir and a flourishing children’s choir known as the Choristers. Having London on the doorstep he is in demand for all manner of keyboard accompaniment work, and is accompanist to the Waltham Singers of Chelmsford as he was to the English Baroque Choir until joining EAC in 2020.