Choir & Organ, cover from current issue

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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

RCM to digitise UK’s music instrument collections

12 November 2015, Coriander Stuttard

When the doors to the Royal College of Music’s Museum temporarily close to the public for the building developments announced earlier this year, its curators will begin a project to digitise the entire musical instrument collection held in the UK, bringing the accessibility of the collections up to date with a more technology-focused audience.

Thanks to a grant from the Higher Education Funding Council’s Catalyst Fund, the Royal College of Music in partnership with the Royal Academy of Music, the Horniman Museum and University of Edinburgh will deliver a cutting edge, multi media platform to explore the 40,000 fine and rare instruments housed in over 100 collections in the UK which otherwise stay tucked away, many out of public sight.

An important collaboration with Google Cultural Institute will ensure the virtual collection is set to reach the widest public audience. Gabriele Rossi Rognoni, curator of the RCM’s Museum of Music explains, ‘it is tremendously exciting to work with Google to enable so many people to connect with these beautiful and fascinating objects in a myriad of new ways.’ He elaborates, ‘to give an example – you could be walking in Hyde Park and through your phone you could discover that you can see the earliest surviving string keyboard instrument nearby.  You could listen to it, read about it – and then go and see it!’

The MINIM-UK (Musical Instrument Interface for Museums and collections) is the first complete UK digitised database and Rossi Rognoni explains that it is an important way of preserving the wonderful treasures which are ‘part of our national heritage.’ The collections across the UK span every type of instrument – from the ‘Viotti ex-Bruce’ violin, made by Stradivarius in 1709, to a pair of bone clappers in the form of human hands made in Egypt around 3,500 years ago or the world’s only octave contrabass serpent – and users will be able to listen to samples of many as well as seeing a visual image with information to read.  

MINIM-UK will share data with a European commission funded project MIMO and with Europeana, joining the UK’s collection to the wealth of cultural exhibits across Europe and providing a strong multi-media platform to engage, educate these special collections. It is expected to be completed in Autumn 2017.

In early December, the Royal College of Music Museum, in partnership with Google Cultural Institute, launches a virtual exhibition of some of the non-instrument aspects of its collection such as its sculptures, photos, prints and paintings, including a famous portrait of Joseph Haydn painted by Thomas Hardy in London in 1791.

Putting these exhibits in the public eye while the museum is closed for development, curator Rossi Rognoni explains: ‘thanks to the wonders of modern technology we have so many ways to allow people to explore all of our treasures before we re-open at the heart of a transformed Royal College of Music in 2018.’

Royal College of Music Museum

Hereford Cathedral Choir to receive £40k grant

11 November 2015

Hereford Cathedral Choir
Hereford Cathedral ChoirDominic Harbour

Hereford Cathedral Choir is to receive a grant of £40,000 from the Friends of Cathedral Music. The money will used to build funds, enabling the choir to secure its future and maintain its musical heritage.

Roger Bishton, the FCM's national secretary, will present the cheque after the choir's advent carol service on 29 November.

Canon Andrew Piper, precentor at Hereford Cathedral, said: ‘The Chapter is very grateful for the financial support, the goodwill, and the keen interest shown in the work of the music department by the Friends of Cathedral Music. The cheque presentation on Advent Sunday afternoon will be a wonderful postscript to what is always a moving and beautiful service’. 

The organisation has awarded almost £3 million since its foundation in 1956; this year it has donated almost £300,000.

Friends of Cathedral Music

RSCM appoints Adrian Lucas as head of choral studies

10 November 2015

Adrian Lucas
Adrian Lucas

The Royal School of Church Music (RSCM) has appointed Adrian Lucas as its head of choral studies. 

His responsibilities will include training choir leaders at parish level, overseeing RSCM choral courses and events, and directing the Millennium Youth Choir.

Lucas was master of choristers at Worcester Cathedral for 15 years, during which time he directed the five editions of the Three Choirs' Festivals which took place in Worcester. Four years ago he left the position pursue freelance work as a conductor, organist and examiner, and also set up his own record company, Acclaim Productions.

He said of the appointment: 'Having grown up as a parish church chorister, I have a background with the RSCM going back many years. It is a great pleasure to be stepping into this role and I hope to bring in some of the skills and expertise I have gained in choral work over the last 30 years to the job.'

RSCM deputy director Rosemary Field said: 'I am excited to have a musician of Adrian’s calibre join the RSCM’s education department; his vision and energy are exactly what we need to support choral singing in our modern church.'

The head of choral studies post is the latest in a number of appointments made by the RSCM to develop its training programmes for choirs, congregations, instrumentalists and worship leaders.

Royal School of Church Music

Hallé welcomes new choral director

5 November 2015

Matthew Hamilton
Matthew HamiltonPedro Malinowski

The Hallé has announced the arrival of Matthew Hamilton, its new choral director.

Hamilton, who is also associate director of London Symphony Chorus, and musical director of New London Chamber Choir and Reading Bach Choir, has previously worked with BBC Singers, BBC Symphony Chorus and directed his own choirs across north west England. In 2010, he won the Bramstrup Conducting Award (Denmark).

He said: 'Coming to be choral director at the Hallé feels like being given a new and well-made instrument to play, and I’m so excited to start the work of learning how to make it sound to its full potential, and putting it at the service of some thrilling music.

'The Hallé increasingly are putting choral music at the very heart of musical life here in Manchester, and it’s hugely exciting to be a part of that.'

Hamilton will prepare the Hallé Choir for all major choral events in the forthcoming seasons, including Handel’s Messiah and the Hallé Christmas carol concerts in 2015.

Click here to watch an interview with Hamilton.

Matthew Hamilton

King's Singers announce first US summer school

5 November 2015

The King's Singers have announced their first US summer school.

The event will take place 13-19 June 2017 at DePauw University, Indiana, while the next edition of the UK summer school will take place 17-22 July 2017 at Royal Holloway, University of London.

The inaugural summer school took place at Royal Holloway in July 2013, with sessions led by Stephen Darlington, Eric Whitacre, and Alexander L'Estrange.

The ensemble will work one-on-one with each ensemble, identifying specific targets and aims. Groups will be able to participate in workshops and masterclasses, and will come together at the end of each day to put advice into practice in a choral setting.

Applications should be received by the end of January 2016.

King's Singers Summer School

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