THE King’s Ely and Ely Cathedral community has been left saddened by the death of former Director of Music, Dr Arthur Wills OBE.
Dr Wills, a renowned musician, composer and professor, was Director of Music at King’s Ely from 1953-1965 and Director of Music at Ely Cathedral from 1958-1990. He died on October 30th, aged 94.
Dr Wills, who was born in Coventry, also held a professorship at the Royal Academy of Music in London from 1964-1992. He toured extensively as a recitalist in Europe, North America, Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong. He also broadcast, appeared on television and made many recordings, both as a soloist and with Ely Cathedral Choir. He arrived in Ely in 1949 as Assistant Organist.
Director of Music at Ely Cathedral, Edmund Aldhouse, said: “Arthur Wills was a towering figure in English Cathedral music, and far beyond, for much of the twentieth century and to this day. As well as his daily work in Ely, he held a professorship for many years at the Royal Academy of Music. In both posts he taught and inspired countless musicians, young and adult, who went on to enrich this country’s musical life. Arthur was also a virtuoso organist and a composer of distinction, with an instantly recognisable musical language, and a talent for capturing the mystery and beauty of the written word in music. He will be sorely missed, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”
Dr Wills was awarded an OBE in 1990.