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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.


The Neoclassical Organ and the Great Aristide Cavaillé-Coll Organ of Saint-Sulpice, Paris

Latest News

Organ compositions announced

4 August 2015

Chris Christodoulou

Craig Ogden

Master of the Queen’s Music Dame Judith Weir CBE and Thomas Trotter have announced the pieces that they have chosen for the Choir & Organ Composition Workshop for Organ on 10 September, held in partnership with the Royal College of Organists.   


The workshop – which is free of charge, and is open to composers and observers alike – will provide a unique insight into composition techniques for the organ, drawing on seven of the 17 scores submitted by composers of all ages.   

The pieces to be workshopped are:   
Ben Comeau: Cordes à tension 
Rob Crehan:  Hymn to the Martyr 
Andrew Kirk: Ostinato 45 
David Loxley-Blount: Limadie meets London

Miriam Mackie: Kept Burning

Christian Morris: Warum sollt ich 
Elizabeth Winters: Evening Voluntary   

Dame Judith commented: ‘We have received an interesting and varied group of scores, some by composers already known to the new music community, others not yet so well-known (to me at least!). In almost every case the music has been well-presented and literate. Composers vary about how many organ-specific details and registrations they include in the score – this will, I’m sure, be a discussion point in the workshop – but most seem to have imagined the geography of the instrument well, even if they aren’t organists.’   

The workshop takes place on Thursday 10 September at 2-5pm, on the new Richards, Fowkes organ in St George’s, Hanover Square, London W1S 1FX. Sign up for a free ticket here.

Choir & Organ visits Merton College, Oxford's Dobson organ

28 July 2015

In this new short-form documentary produced by Rhinegold Publishing, Maggie Hamilton travels to Merton College, Oxford, to discuss the 2013 Dobson organ with organist John Scott, and organ builders Lynn Dobson and John Panning.

Dobson and Panning explain how the organ was built to match its surrounding, and Scott demonstrates its touch and registration. 

The documentary was filmed on Saturday 26 April 2014, before the inaugural recital was given by John Scott.

Starring:

  • Maggie Hamilton, editor of Choir & Organ magazine
  • John Scott, former organist of St Paul’s Cathedral and current organist and director of music of Saint Thomas, Fifth Avenue, New York
  • Lynn Dobson, president and artistic director of Dobson Pipe Organ Builders
  • John Panning, tonal director of Dobson Pipe Organ Builders



With special thanks to Benjamin Nicholas, director of music at Merton College, Oxford.

You can read more about the Merton College organ in the March/April 2014 issue of Choir & Organ magazine:




Rob Elliott announced as new director of Cornwall choral festival

20 July 2015, Rebecca Morton

Rob Elliott
Rob Elliott

Rob Elliott has been announced as the new director of Cornwall’s International Male Voice Choral Festival, following the retirement of Peter Davies, who held the post for nine years. Elliot will lead the eighth biennial festival in 2017, which encompasses workshops, concerts and tuition for directors and singers in venues across Cornwall.   


Festival chairman Bruce Taylor said: ‘We are delighted to be welcoming someone with Rob Elliott’s formidable musical and management credentials to lead the Festival team now and into the future.’   

Born into a musical family in South Wales, Elliott’s experience includes performing, conducting, teaching and lecturing. At the age of 21, he conducted the massed male choirs at the Welsh National Eisteddfod and in 1999 he directed the English National Symphony Orchestra at the Wiltshire Music Festival. In 2001 he founded the Wessex Male Choir, who became International Male Choir Champions at the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod in 2011. Since 2008 he has been musical director of the Parkinson’s UK charity Christmas concert in London.   

‘Peter Davies and the team have created an amazing legacy with the Cornwall International Male Voice Choral Festival,’ says Elliot. ‘It not only attracts choirs and their entourages from every corner of the globe, but creates a joyful five days of concerts, events, competitions and celebrations right across Cornwall which brings more than £1 million into the local economy. It will be my challenge to build on those achievements and to ensure that this event continues to flourish and grow in importance and popularity in the years to come.’   

Inaugurated in 2003, the non-profit festival aims to encourage the development of singers, composers and conductors of all ages and strengthen national and international relations in the male voice movement. 70 choirs participated in this summer’s event, which involved 2500 singers from across the globe.

Cornwall International Male Voice Choral Festival

St Albans winners

20 July 2015

Johannes Zeinler, 1st Prize and Gold Medal winner, Interpretation
Johannes Zeinler, 1st Prize and Gold Medal winner, Interpretation

David Cassan, Tournemire Prize winner, Improvisation
David Cassan, Tournemire Prize winner, Improvisation

The competitions at St Albans International Organ Festival finished with a flourish on Friday, with two competitors in the morning’s Improvisation final, and four in the Interpretation final in the evening.

Coming from Germany and France respectively, Lukas Grimm and David Cassan both gave convincing performances of Tournemire’s Improvisation sur le Te Deum (as transcribed by Duruflé) before improvising three movements in symphonic style on the plainchant Ave Maris Stella and two themes by Piet Kee. David Cassan took the Tournemire Prize with his impressively integrated performance.

The four Interpretation finalists – Johannes Zeinler (Austria), Michal Kocot (Poland), Zita Nauratyill (Hungary) and Davide Mariano (Italy) – each peformed a Handel organ concerto with the Orchester Wiener Akademie, directed by founder-director (and jury member) Martin Haselböck, before completing their programmes with a free choice of works by J.S. Bach and other composers. Each performer shone in different ways, but the overall winner and gold medallist was Johannes Zeinler, with Davide Mariano taking the second prize (sponsored by Choir & Organ's parent company, Rhinegold Publishing).

 The winners of the other awards were:

  • Peter Hurford Bach Prize: Davide Mariano
  • Audience Prize: Zita Nauratyill
  • Paul Patterson Prize for the best performance of the commissioned work, Paul Patterson’s Volcano: Zita Nauratyill
  • Douglas May Award: Thomas Gaynor, from New Zealand

4.5% of Europe involved in choral singing

10 July 2015, Katy Wright

A study by the Voice Project has found that 4.5% of Europe’s population are actively engaged in choral singing. Singing Europe discovered that 37 million people are involved in about 1 million choirs or vocal ensembles.


The report found that singing provided significant social benefits, with positive impact on health, social integration and cultural development. It also concluded that most of the money invested by participants and funding authorities is used locally or within Europe, contributing to the economic development of the region and the continent as a whole.

The findings are based on two years of examining survey results and other data sources.

Singing Europe report


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