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 ARCO at the age of 16 and FRCO a year later. He read music at Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge for the M.A. degree, 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 he was appointed Sub-Organist of Liverpool Cathedral.

David now combines his cathedral position with a freelance career, both as recitalist and accompanist. He has played almost all the cathedral organs in Great Britain and in 2001 he enjoyed a stint as Acting-Assistant Organist of York Minster. He appears in concert regularly with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir and has recorded with them on several occasions.

David specialises in organ and piano transcriptions of orchestral scores and is in demand as an accompanist to choral societies in the North of England. Recent performances have included Mozart: Requiem, Poulenc: Gloria, Durufle: Requiem, Puccini: Messa di Gloria, Rutter: Requiem and Brahms: Violin Concerto. Forthcoming invitations include concerts in Prague & Brno as well as appearances in several English Cathedrals.

His non-musical interests include shipping, railways and photography.