The Archdiocese of Westminster announced that Martin Baker had resigned, effective 31 December 2019. Further details can be found at https://catholicherald.co.uk/news/2020/01/07/westminster-cathedrals-master-of-music-resigns/
The choir is the premier Roman Catholic choir in the country, with a boarding school from which boy choristers are drawn. Recently the school announced it was changing from a 7-days-a-week boarding policy to 5 days a week. This caused a furore (as reported at https://www.praytellblog.com/index.php/2019/05/20/disharmony-at-westminster-cathedral-choir-school/ ), effectively limiting choristers to those living in the London area. The full choir no longer sings on Fridays and Saturdays.
Three of the best trebles left and are now at Christchurch, Oxford, and elsewhere, and other singers are said to have left in addition. It also appears that Baker was not consulted ahead of the decision to change the boarding policy.
The grapevine says that Baker had not been seen at the Cathedral since mid-October, missing liturgies including a joint Evensong with Westminster Abbey, although his resignation on 31 December was only announced today, 7 January. The loss of this gifted musician, well known as an organist and brilliant improviser as well as a choral director, will be keenly felt.
Others have said that a boarding school is an anachronism in today’s day and age, and some have crticised Baker for maintaining a full choral Eucharist that excludes the assembly from the Sanctus, etc, despite the statement in the 1967 Vatican document Musicam Sacram, para 16c, that ” the usage of entrusting to the choir alone the entire singing of the whole Proper and of the whole Ordinary, to the complete exclusion of the people’s participation in the singing, is to be deprecated. “