Martin Setchell 1949-

Martin Setchell is an organist, composer, teacher and Christchurch Town Hall organ curator. This page has brief biographical details and links to further resources.


Born and educated in Blackpool, England, Martin Setchell earned an honours degree in French and music from the University of Exeter. He went on to receive a Fellowship of Royal College of Organists, London. From there he went on to study classical organ technique with the then organist of Notre Dame, Pierre Chochereau, as well as Marie-Claire Alain, Piet Kee and Peter Hurford.


Setchell emigrated to New Zealand in 1974 to take up a place lecturing at the University of Canterbury School of Music. He is now associate professor of music, university organist and keyboard musicianship specialist.

He combines his university work with a busy schedule of recitals and concerts. He has toured Europe and played in festivals and on famous organs all over the world. Setchell has given regular performances on the Town Hall’s Rieger pipe organ since its installation in 1997, and is the organ’s curator. The organ has been inaccessible since the 22 February 2011 earthquake, but, according to a letter which Setchell sent to The Press on 27 December 2011, survived the earthquakes virtually unscathed 1.

Setchell also works as an accompanist and continuo player, on both organ and harpsichord. In addition, he conducts, acts as a Trinity College examiner, and writes music reviews for The Press.

Setchell’s organ and choral music is published by Kevin Mayhew Music and Fagus Music in England. He has also published a number of volumes of transcriptions, including a volume of his organ arrangements of Saint-Saens and Purcell, published by Oxford University Press.


He has received a Civic Award from the Christchurch City Council for services to music in the community and the Town Hall organ in particular.

More information


  1. 1. Martin Setchell, Letter, The Press, 27 December 2011, p. A8