An internationally acclaimed organist who faced child sex charges has been found dead.
David Sanger, 63, appeared in court earlier this week, accused of eight counts of gross indecency against young males under 16 between 1978 and 1982.
His body was discovered by a police officer at a house in Embleton, near Cockermouth, Cumbria – believed to be his home – at 11.10am today. His death is not being treated as suspicious. In October 2008, Sanger was appointed president of the Royal College of Organists, whose patron is the Queen, having been a member since the age of 15.
He was educated at the Royal Academy of Music and went on to become professor of organ at the establishment and also a guest professor at the Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen. The vice president of the Cumbria Society of Organists, who lived at The Old Wesleyan Chapel, Embleton, is understood to have been teaching organ at Oxford and Cambridge Universities and was a visiting tutor at the Royal Northern College of Music.
He was arrested earlier this month following a Metropolitan Police investigation into claims of historic sex offences. Scotland Yard confirmed he was charged with gross indecency and appeared before magistrates on Tuesday, when he was released on bail. Sanger was next due to appear at Workington Magistrates’ Court on July 21. A spokeswoman for Cumbria Police said: “At 11.10am today the body of a man was found by a police officer in a house in Embleton.
“An investigation was launched immediately by West Cumbria CID and police can now confirm that he has been formally identified as 63-year-old David Sanger, of The Old Wesleyan Chapel, Embleton.
“His immediate family and the Coroner have been informed.
“There are not thought to be any suspicious circumstances and the police are not looking for anyone else in connection with the death.
“Mr Sanger had appeared in court on May 25 in relation to historic sexual charges being investigated by the Metropolitan Police and had been bailed by the court.”
The Independent Police Complaints Commission has been informed as a matter of routine because of previous police contact, the spokeswoman added.
When announcing his presidency, the Royal College of Organists (RCO) stated that Sanger was “one of the world’s most accomplished concert organists, and a highly regarded teacher” who had played at the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall.
Also a recording artist who has made more than 20 CDs, the RCO said he was currently consulting on the installation of a new Bach-style organ for the University of Strathclyde and also a new organ project at the Icelandic Concert Hall in Reykjavik.
He was due to stand down as RCO president at the end of the 2010/2011 college year.
He was made a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music in 1985.