Organist Nicholas Gale dies aged 39
19 March 2015
Gale died following a motorcycle accident
The former director of music at St George’s Cathedral Southwark Nicholas Gale has died in a motorcycle accident in Kensington. The 39-year-old was killed following a collision with a cement lorry.
Born in 1975, Gale was educated at Belmont Abbey in Herefordshire and went on to read music at Oxford University, where he was also an organ scholar. He worked at St George’s Cathedral Southwark for 13 years, after which he went on to teach music at the London Oratory School in Fulham, while also working as a freelance organist and choir master.
Gale, who described himself as an organist, pianist, liturgist, accompanist, teacher, musician fixer and music/choral director, was a respected soloist on his primary instrument of the organ, performing at St John’s Smith Square and broadcasting on BBC One and Radio 4.
Following the news of Gale’s death, colleagues and friends took to social media to pay tribute. Tenor Ben Thapa tweeted: ‘The man who gave me my first paid work in London, supported me and always raised a laugh and a glass. Taken horribly early … You will be sorely, sorely missed.’
Medal for Halsey
19 March 2015
Halsey is the recipient of Her Majesty’s Medal for Music 2014
Simon Halsey has been awarded Her Majesty’s Medal for Music 2014. Halsey – who has multiple roles including principal conductor of the Berlin Radio Choir, chorus director of the City of Birmingham Symphony Chorus, and choral director of the London Symphony Orchestra and London Symphony Chorus – said he was ‘surprised and thrilled to receive this extraordinary honour from Her Majesty the Queen. Choral music is a vital part of our national life and is such a force for social and educational good. I’d like to see this medal as recognition of the work of a whole generation of dedicated choral musicians.’
Halsey is the tenth recipient of the award, which was created in 2005 to recognise an exceptional individual or group of musicians who have had a significant impact on the musical life of the country – its first recipient was Sir Charles Mackerras. Winners of Her Majesty’s Medal for Music may be of any nationality but must have had a major influence on the musical life of the UK. Nominations are administered by a committee under the chairmanship of the current Master of The Queen’s Music, Judith Weir, who commented: ‘Simon Halsey has made a fundamental contribution to European music through his championship of choral singing as a vital part of orchestral performance, a British tradition which stretches back several centuries … His lively, participatory style has inspired a new generation of young choral directors, together with a remarkable upsurge of interest in choirs and singing in the UK.’
Silbermann journal online
19 March 2015
The organ builder's journal is available to view digitally
The journal of 18th-century organ builder Johann Andreas Silbermann has now been digitized and can be seen online; it is also due to appear in book format.
The existence of the journal, titled ‘Notes on the matters of interest seen on my journey through Saxony’, was unknown until it turned up at the London auction house Sotherby’s in November. It was bought for €140,000 by the Saxon State and University Library Dresden (SLUB). It describes the journey that Johann Andreas Silbermann – son of Andreas and nephew of Gottfried – took from February to June 1741, to get to know the terrain of his family, he himself being based in Strasbourg. En route he visited Gotha, Leipzig, Dresden, Freiberg, Berlin, and Zittau, where his uncle was in the process of building the organ in the Johanniskirche.
JOHN MCCABE DIES
14 February 2015
The distinguished composer and pianist John McCabe died yesterday, after a long illness.
Obituary in the May/June issue of Choir & Organ.
BRITTEN SINFONIA SUCCESS
10 February 2015
Edward Nesbit, 28, has been selected as the winner of OPUS 2015, Britten Sinfonia’s open submission scheme for unrepresented composers.