Professor Dr Ian Tracey DL

Professor lan Tracey, born in 1955, is one of Britain's best known and respected musicians.

He has a life-long association with the City of Liverpool and its music. A native Liverpudlian, he studied at Trinity College, London, and at St Katharine's College Liverpool, winning scholarships to study in Paris with Andre Isoir and Jean Langlais and conducting with Vernon Handley.

He was appointed organist of Liverpool Cathedral in 1980, becoming the youngest cathedral organist in Britain, since which time he has played most of the major venues in the UK, many of the prestigious organs in Europe and has made 25 extensive tours of the USA and two of Australia.

In 1985, he was appointed as Liverpool City Organist and as Chorus Master to the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Society; in which latter capacity, he has conducted over 250 concerts with the society’s orchestra and choir.

In 1988 he was appointed as a Guest Director of Music for the BBC’s Daily Service and elected Professor, Fellow and organist here at LJMU. He has played the music for our graduation ceremonies since our Polytechnic days in 1972, filling the spectacular building with melodic music for our nervous graduates and their excited friends and families at ceremonies twice a year.

“It has been one of my great privileges to preside at the console for these great celebrations for over half a century; they continue to be hugely enjoyable and still give me great pleasure.”

– Professor Ian Tracey looking back on 51 years of special graduations

In addition to the fellowship from LJMU, Professor Tracey holds the title from many prestigious musical institutions, including the Royal College of Organists, Royal School of Church Music, Guild of Church Musicians, Guild of Musicians and Singers and The Royal Society of Arts.

In 1994, he was awarded the Northwest Arts Award for Classical Music and in 2006 The University of Liverpool conferred upon him the degree of Doctor of Music, in recognition of his long and distinguished service to music in Liverpool and of his national and international reputation as a musician.

He was commissioned as a Deputy Lieutenant for the county of Merseyside in 2015.

Professor Tracey delivered a fascinating talk on Liverpool’s long history as a city of music as part of our 11th Roscoe Lecture Series in March 2008. You can listen back to the lecture on SoundCloud.

In 2008 Liverpool was the European Capital of Culture, and in his lecture Professor Tracey reflected on his hopes at the time for the legacy of the city’s status, saying: “The granting of European Capital of Culture status gives us the opportunity of showcasing the great musical talent currently present in our city and to re-assess the national and international reputation for cultural excellence which Liverpool has enjoyed throughout its long history.

“We in the city's Arts organisations now pray that a new era has dawned, and the impetus of this special year will continue in the following years, so that, along with the new buildings and roads this year will have provided the building blocks for the cultural future of our city.

“The time for Liverpool to redefine itself has come both in terms of the image it transmits and the benefits it receives, the gauntlet is down and the challenge is on.”

Talking today about that legacy, and in a year where Liverpool was ‘united by music’ as the host of the Eurovision Song Contest 2023 on behalf of Ukraine, he said: "The atmosphere in the city and its environs was positively electric; there was a warm welcome for all, huge excitement, diverse music-making at all the city venues both pop and classical, and a sense of complete unity through music. Competitors and supporters alike experienced the legendry Liverpool hospitality and Liverpool once again showed that it is a world-leader in music.”