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Choir & Organ, cover from current issue

March/April 2014 on sale from 24 February

Choir & Organ is the leading independent magazine for all professionals and amateurs in the choral and organ worlds – whether you are an organist, choral director or singer, organ builder, keen listener, or work in publishing or the record industry, Choir & Organ is a must-read wherever you live and work.

Every two months our expert contributors bring you beautifully illustrated features on newly built and restored organs, insights into the lives and views of leading organists, choral directors and composers, profiles of pioneering and well-established choirs, and topical coverage of new research, festivals and exhibitions. In keeping with our commitment to music at the cutting edge, we commission a new work from a young composer in every issue, making the score freely available for download and performance.

Our international news and previews, with breaking stories, key awards and forthcoming premieres, combine with reviews of the latest CDs, DVDs and sheet music, and listings of recitals, festivals and courses, to keep you up to date with events and developments around the world.


Pull out all the stops

Editorial

Maggie Hamilton, editor Choir & Organ

Maggie Hamilton - Editor
From the current issue of Choir & Organ


PROTECTION MONEY

So the axe finally fell at Llandaff. Just five days before Christmas – one of the busiest times of year for cathedrals – five lay clerks, one choral scholar and the assistant organist were made redundant. In our January/February issue, which had gone to press the previous week, we had gladly announced a stay of execution as the consultation period was extended following pressure from the professional music world, spearheaded by the Incorporated Society of Musicians. Our optimism was premature: whatever the reason for the extension – and for the sake of their credibility, the Chapter should allow no room for suspicion that the exercise was akin to the 1980s feasibility studies on coal mines that had already been condemned to closure – the decision came soon afterwards to save the Cathedral £45,000 through the redundancies rather than seek to avoid them by pursuing alternative fundraising plans, not least the Choir’s own. It stretches the imagination to interpret it, in the words of a Chapter spokesperson, as ‘the best and most responsible way to secure its long term future…’ It was a sad end to a troubled year at Llandaff, where the Dean resigned in May after a disagreement with the Choir about fees for a television appearance.


Despite a measure of public funding for music in the UK, there is a widely held view that music is expendable and that musicians don’t deserve to be paid (or paid much) because ‘they’re doing what they love’ (are we to assume bankers don’t enjoy their jobs?). Even in one of my local supermarkets, where shoppers can drop plastic tokens into tubs to indicate which organisation they would like donations to be made to, an excellent local junior choir that achieved a national profile was trailing decisively behind its competitors, whereas the tubs bulged for hedgehog rescue (I kid you not). We cannot wait for better times; we need to be proactive now to champion and protect this area of life and the values it stands for. So David Hill’s Letter from Yale (p.16) is timely, as he looks at funding strategies in the US. Yes, it is a wealthy country; but it is significant how many individuals and corporations channel money into the arts. There is no doubt that Americans appreciate the value of music, witnessed by their generous funding of university and church music departments (how many British organists and choir directors migrate across the Atlantic?); and this appreciation is matched by a professional approach to fundraising. It comes down to what we believe in and whether we’re prepared to fight for it. Can we learn from America, to help to prevent future Llandaffs?

In The Next Issue of Choir & Organ: MAY/JUNE 2014 ISSUE On sale from 26 April

In building an organ for the historic Grace Church in New York City, Taylor & Boody drew inspiration from English cathedral instruments of the late 19thcentury. What is the result? 

Meurig Bowen, director of Cheltenham International Music Festival, explains why it is important to continue commissioning new works, even when funding is scarce. 

The new Casavant organ for the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal will be inaugurated in May. Designer Didier Grassin describes the process of creating its floating façade. 

Edward Higginbottom is leaving New College, Oxford, after 38 years as director of music. What changes has he seen during his time in the post? 

On our tour of European Cities of Historic Organs, we head to the southwest of France, to Toulouse, home to instruments by Cavaillé-Coll and the Puget dynasty. 

The Saint Louis Chamber Chorus and director Philip Barnes are champions of contemporary repertoire. A new CD of US music will be released in April, and in May they premiere a work by composer-in-residence Yakov Gubanov.

Plus…International news and previews, regular columns, specialist reviews, and our 2014 Festivals supplement.


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