Ian Sadler began his musical training as a boy chorister for five years at St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, UK. He then won a Music Scholarship to The King’s School, Canterbury. Following high school, at age 17, he won the Organ Scholarship to Bristol University. During postgraduate study at London University, Ian held the Organ Scholarship at St. Paul’s Cathedral from 1978-80. Ian holds degrees in musicology and education, with organ diplomas from Trinity College of Music and The Royal College of Organists. Before moving to Canada his final engagement in the UK was to play the organ in the movie, Chariots of Fire.
Ian moved to Canada in 1980 following his appointments in Toronto as Director of Music at Grace Church-on-the-Hill and Choral Director at Upper Canada College. As an organist, Ian has represented Canada internationally on many occasions. In 1986, the year that he became a Canadian citizen, he won 1st prize at the Syracuse International Organ Playing Competition in the USA. As a Canadian recitalist, tours have since taken him to Denmark, Sweden, Germany, France (Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris), Austria (Vienna’s St. Stephen’s Cathedral), Australia (Sydney, Newcastle, Adelaide and Melbourne), the USA (New York, Boston, Grand Rapids, Ann Arbor, San Francisco and Hawaii) and back to the UK (Winchester Cathedral, Truro Cathedral, Norwich Cathedral, York Minster, St. Giles - Edinburgh, Coventry Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, King’s College Cambridge & St. Paul’s Cathedral). Highlights of Ian’s career have included, representing Canada as the organist for the United Nations 50th Anniversary Celebrations in San Francisco, being awarded the honorary adjunct position of Professor of Music by Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario - a position which he held for 8 years - representing Canada as the first Canadian juror at the International Liszt Organ Playing Competition held at the Liszt Academy in Budapest, Hungary and being presented with a juno award for a choral CD.
Ian has also attempted to reach an ever-increasing audience for the organ with his ‘organ only’ oratorio and large work accompaniments. Annually he plays for many Canadian choirs in works such as Handel's 'Messiah', Bach’s 'Christmas Oratorio', 'St. Matthew Passion' and 'St. John Passion', Haydn’s 'Creation', Mendelssohn's 'Elijah', Mozart, Brahms, and Verdi 'Requiems' and Poulenc's 'Gloria' . Ian’s recording discography is extensive with 8 solo organ CDs and over 35 choral CD recordings on current release. In 1999, Ian was presented with a Juno award for a choral CD. His solo CDs include recordings on major organs in Toronto – Roy Thomson Hall, Yorkminster Park Baptist Church and St. James’ Cathedral. Ian has been involved with the launching of the organs at three major concert halls in Canada. He was invited to perform a programme of British music for the inaugural series of organ recitals at Jack Singer Hall, Calgary. He played the first recital in the inaugural series at Toronto’s Roy Thomson Hall and performed with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra in a programme entitled ‘A Night At The Movies’, to inaugurate the organ at the Winspeare Centre.
For his dedication to promoting the organ and Canadian music, both at home and abroad, The Royal Canadian College of Organists honoured Ian in 2007 with their highest award, ‘Fellowship of The Royal Canadian College of Organists’.
Ian is Organist of St. James’ Cathedral in Toronto. Alongside his duties at St. James', Ian is Conductor of The Stratford Concert Choir, a position he has held since 1989. He is also Artistic Director and Conductor of The Cathedral Singers of Ontario, a choir which he founded in 1999. Ian will conduct this latter choir for a weeks residency at Chichester and Winchester Cathedrals this winter and Ely Cathedral this summer.