Lee, David

Author & Composer

David Lee was brought up in south Manchester, sketching his first hymn tune while at primary school, and has been active in music in churches ever since. While an undergraduate at Durham in the late 1970s he was
a founder member of his church’s music group under its then vicar, George Carey, who later became Archbishop of Canterbury. During two summer seasons in that period he was also for some months the Abbey Musician at Iona Abbey. For eleven years he was music director at St. John’s Church, Nevilles Cross, Durham, with its wide range of music styles. Active involvement in Diocesan music activities included regularly accompanying the Taizé-style services in the Cathedral and initiating a short course to give “small church” musicians a confidence-building grounding in music for worship. His hymn and song settings appear in places as diverse as the Spring Harvest songbook, the RSCM1 The Carol Book, the Methodist Wesley Music for the Millennium hymnbook, the Sound Bytes children’s songbook and the 2006 Lutheran Church hymnal in the USA. His psalm settings are regularly seen in Stainer & Bell’s Worship Live and MWF2 Sing a New Song. Other pieces have been highly placed in competitions run by the RSCM, St. Paul’s Cathedral and (in the USA) Fuller Theological Seminary. He wistfully yearns for the ability to play on the piano Debussy, Bartok and Gershwin, and on the organ Bach, Howells and (early) Messiaen.

For many years David worked as a Senior Systems Programmer at Durham University, and since 2009 has carried out similar work at the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather
Forecasts in Berkshire.

David is primarily a composer of music and secondarily an author of texts. He prefers to paraphrase biblical passages (see, for example, Great and wonderful) especially psalms, rather than write original hymns. He has composed several tunes for various writers, including, for example, Timothy Dudley-Smith and Christopher Idle. David greatly enjoys working across a wide range of musical styles. David is deeply concerned that many churches have lost the Psalms from their regular planned weekly worship, fearing that in so doing the permission to lament that the Psalms give us has been lost. David finds Amos 5:21-24 (and the rest of Amos) of particular help in his daily work as a church musician.

Hymns and songs by Lee, David

Number Hymn Name
1033 Great and wonderful