David Houlder was born in Liverpool but is also a proud Prestonian. Educated at Preston Grammar School, he studied organ there with John Robinson, gaining his FRCO at the age of seventeen. He read music at Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge (he is a Cambridge MA) continuing his organ studies with Arnold Richardson in London. He embarked upon a teaching career as Music Master at Wirral Grammar School for Boys. From 1981 to 1999 he was Director of Music at Liverpool's historic Blue Coat School.
In 1987 David was appointed Sub-Organist of Liverpool Cathedral, latterly combining that position with a freelance career, both as recitalist and accompanist. He has played all of the cathedral organs in England and in 2001 he enjoyed a stint as Acting-Assistant Organist of York Minster.
He appeared in concert regularly with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir and has recorded with them on several occasions. More recently, he has appeared with the renowned Black Dyke Band and played with them in a spectacular concert at Birmingham Symphony Hall that was recorded and released on DVD.
In November 2003, after nearly thirty years music-making on Merseyside, David accepted the position of Sub-Organist at Leeds Parish Church. In addition to accompanying the daily choral services, he directs two choirs and is organist to St Peter's Singers with whom he toured Mallorca in 2009 and Brittany in 2011.
David specialises in organ and piano transcriptions of orchestral scores and is in great demand as accompanist to choral societies on both sides of the Pennines. He is chief accompanist to Halifax Choral Societ and Organist & Associate Conductor of Doncaster Choral Society. Recent performances have included Bizet: Te Deum, Cherubini: Mass in C minor, Durufle: Requiem, Kodaly: Missa Brevis, Puccini: Messa di Gloria, Rossini: Petit Messe Solenelle (Piano and Harmonium parts - though not simultaneously!), Verdi: Requiem (a work very rarely performed on the organ) plus Organ Masses by Langlais, Vierne and Widor.
His non-musical interests include shipping, railways and photography.