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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

Trailblazing organ builder Peter Collins dies

26 October 2015

Peter Collins's last organ, for the 2015 St Albans International Organ Festival
Peter Collins's last organ, for the 2015 St Albans International Organ FestivalStephen Boffey

British organ builder Peter Collins died on 24 October, after a short illness.   

Collins established his own organ building firm in 1964, and over a period of 50 years brought an individual – and sometimes maverick – approach to his craft, pushing boundaries and sometimes courting controversy. 

As an apprentice, Collins trained first with Bishops (London) and then Rieger (Austria) in the early days of the Orgelbewegung, the impact of which encouraged him to build neo-Classical instruments with mechanical action. From initial box and chamber organs, Collins developed and expanded his business in the UK – notably for St David's Hall, Cardiff, and St Peter Mancroft, Norwich – and abroad, with an organ for Queensland Conservatorium in Brisbane, Australia; in the late 1990s, he collaborated with Allen Organs in building a hybrid instrument for Trönö Church in Sweden, a move which generated much criticism in the organ building world but which Collins continued to defend. A new mechanical action instrument for the 2015 St Albans International Organ Festival – Collins had already built the Festival's own Silbermann-inspired organ in 1989 – was to prove his last opus. 

A tribute to Peter Collins's life and work will be published in the January/February 2016 issue of Choir & Organ; his family are planning a Memorial Concert and wish to raise money for the LOROS Hospice and Cancer Research.  www.petercollinsltd.com

Winners of Young Choristers of the Year announced

23 October 2015

Agatha Pethers and Angus Benton
Agatha Pethers and Angus Benton

Angus Benton, 11, from Winchester College Chapel, and Agatha Pethers, 14, from St Catharine's College Chapel, Cambridge, have been named as the winners of the 2015 Radio 2 Young Choristers of the Year competition.

Benton and Pethers each received a trophy and £500 worth of singing lessons. They will also have the opportunity to take part in a range of radio and television programmes over the year for BBC Religion and Ethics, in addition to wider BBC engagements.

Pethers said of her success: 'On the one hand, the competition aspect was a bit nerve-wracking - the others all sounded very good.  On the other hand, the performance aspect felt very natural.  This was partly because the acoustic of St Martin-in-the-Fields is quite similar to Catz Chapel.

'I think singing services every week (as I’ve been lucky enough to have done now for seven years) is a great preparation. Dr Wickham’s got us used to singing like we only have one chance to get it right, while knowing there’s always next week. It helps us focus, concentrating on getting things right, rather than worrying about getting them wrong.'

The grand finale of this year's competition took place at St Martin-in-the-Fields, London. Eight contestants from around the UK performed in front of a panel comprising choral director Suzi Digby, choral director and arranger Simon Lole, singer-songwriter Dionne Bromfield, and chaired by composer John Rutter.

Simon Lole said: 'It never ceases to amaze me how these young choristers produce such incredibly musical performances, year after year, under such pressure. The standard in 2015 has been really excellent and we have two very worthy winners who will carry the beacon of young choristers everywhere for the next twelve months. Choral music is clearly still very much alive and kicking!'

Jury chair John Rutter said: 'Another stellar competition this year, with an amazing group of finalists, two worthy winners, and a lovely warm supportive atmosphere in the audience. It's always a joy to be involved with this competition, which celebrates the huge contribution made by young people to choral singing in our nation - something to be proud of.'
Past winners have appeared on radio and television, received recording contracts, performed in West End musicals and sung with leading vocal ensembles. 

Young Chorister of the Year 2015

Frauenkirche anniversary concert to be broadcast live

22 October 2015

The anniversary concert marking ten years since the reconstruction of the Dresden Frauenkirche will be shown live on 24 October 2015 from 8pm on the Dresden Music Festival website and on Medici.tv.

The Dresden Music Festival is marking this occasion with a programme based on Dresden's musical history. The Orpheus Orchestra will perform Schumann's second symphony; excerpts from Mendelssohn's A Midsummer Night's Dream; and La Muse et le Poète by Saint-Saëns (a friend of Schumann's, and the first to conduct the composer's second symphony).

The programme also includes the European premiere of a new work by Wolfgang Rihm commissioned specially for the occasion. The Duo Concerto for violin, cello and orchestra will be performed with Jan Vogler and Mira Wang as soloists.

The Frauenkirche was built in the 18th century and was destroyed in the Allied bombing during World War II. Work to rebuild the church began after the reunification of Germany, and was completed in 2005.

Following the live broadcast in the internet the concert will be available in free replay on medici.tv for 90 days. 


RCO survey 2015

19 October 2015

Organists and choral directors are invited to complete the Royal College of Organists survey 2015.

The survey is part of a consultation process which will help the College and its partner organisations to shape future services and support for organists and choral directors.
The results will be used to develop new services, benefits and partnerships which will ensure that the College is best placed to help musicians of every age, level of attainment and ambition to meet the realities of a 21st-century musical life.

The survey should take no more than 10 minutes, and should be completed by 31 October. 

RCO survey

Applications open for the Last Choir Singing Competition 2016

14 October 2015

2015 winners Anchorsholme Primary Academy with Simon Bowman and Jonathan Ansell
2015 winners Anchorsholme Primary Academy with Simon Bowman and Jonathan Ansell

Applications for the Last Choir Singing Competition 2016 are now open.

The competition is open to choirs comprising Lancashire junior school children between Year 3 and Year 6. The winning choir will receive £1,000 in vouchers towards music equipment for their school and the True Bearing Last Choir Singing 2016 trophy. Each runner-up will receive £500 and winners of the regional heats will receive £250.

Each choir will compete in regional heats throughout February and March 2016, with the overall winners announced at the final, which will take place at King George’s Hall, Blackburn on 17 June.

The competition is sponsored by True Bearing Chartered Financial Planners in partnership with the Lancashire Music Hub, Blackburn with Darwen Music Hub and Blackpool Music Service.

George Critchley, chairman of True Bearing Chartered, said: ‘Last year’s competition was a huge success with around 1,500 children taking part in 45 choirs. We are delighted to bring it back for a second year and we aim to increase the number of contestants to 5,000. The UK has one of the most respected Choral traditions in the world and I am so proud to be part of that tradition with our support and sponsorship of Last Choir Singing. 

‘We wanted to give something back to a community that has supported our firm over the last 12 years. As organiser and main sponsor, True Bearing is keen to raise awareness of singing in junior schools and to demonstrate that music education is alive and well in Lancashire!’

The deadline for entries is 30 October 2015.

Last Choir Singing

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