The hymn tune IRBY was composed by Henry J. Gauntlett and is usually associated with the text “Once in Royal David’s City” for the Christmas season. It is the traditional tune for the opening of Lessons and Carols and King’s College, Cambridge every year.
Concert organist McNeil Robinson has been praised by the international press as one of America’s leading virtuosos especially as an improviser. One of the most prominent musicians in New York City, McNeil Robinson has been organist and choirmaster at Park Avenue Synagogue since 1966 and served as music director and organist for Park Avenue Christian Church (1984–2007). Prior to his appointment at Park Avenue Christian, Robinson led a legendary music program for the Church of St. Mary the Virgin for two decades. Concurrently, he was director of music for the Church of the Holy Family, the parish church of the United Nations (1967–1978), and as director of music at the Trinity Institute, Trinity Church Wall Street (1970–1976). He served as Director of Music and Organist at Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church until his deteriorating health forced him to retire. He passed away on May 9, 2015.
A graduate of the Juilliard School, Robinson is now chairman of the organ department of the Manhattan School of Music. His students (such as Justin Bischof and Jason Roberts) have won top awards in national and international organ competitions. He is also active as a conductor and has recorded for a number of commercial record labels including Decca and Musical Heritage Society.