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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

Sir David Willcocks (30 December 1919 – 17 September 2015)

17 September 2015

Sir David Willcocks
Sir David Willcocks

Choral conductor, organist and composer Sir David Willcocks died peacefully at home this morning (17 September), aged 95.

Born in Newquay, Cornwall, Willcocks was a chorister at Westminster Abbey and music scholar at Clifton College, Bristol before being appointed organ scholar at King’s College, Cambridge in 1939.

He served in the British Army during World War II, receiving the Military Cross for his actions on the night of 10/11 July 1944, before returning to the university in 1945 to complete his studies. In 1947, he was elected a Fellow of King’s College; in the same year, he became organist at Salisbury Cathedral, moving to Worcester in 1950.

He will be best remembered by many for his time as director of music at King’s College, Cambridge (1957-1974). He  leaves behind a considerable legacy in the shape of his arrangements and descants of Christmas carols (published in the five Carols for Choirs anthologies) and his recordings with the college choir.

During his time at King’s College, Willcocks also served as the organist of Cambridge University, conductor of the Cambridge University Musical Society, and as university lecturer. He was appointed music director of the Bach Choir in 1960.

After leaving Cambridge, he was appointed music director emeritus, and became director of the Royal College of Music, a post he held until 1984.

In the 1971 Queen’s Birthday Honours, he was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire, and was created a Knight Bachelor in 1977 in the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Honours.

Martin Goetze (1951-2015)

8 September 2015

Organ builder and restorer Martin Goetze (1951-2015) died on 23 August.

Goetze's first experience of organ building was with Grant, Degens and Bradbeer in Northampton in 1971. He continued with Gabriel Kney in London, Ontario, before starting the firm Goetze and Gwynn with Dominic Gwynn in 1980.

Initially based in Northampton, Goetze and Gwynn moved to a purpose built workshop at Welbeck near Worksop in north Nottinghamshire in March 1985. The company, which specialises in the restoration of pre-Victorian British organs, completed its 100th project in 2014.

The company's restoration of the Thaxted organ in 2013 received great acclaim, as did its recreation of the Wetheringsett and Wingfield organs. Other lauded achievements include the restoration of the 1826 Elliot organ at Belton Hall and the 1829 Bishop organ at St James Bermondsey

Christopher Batchelor, president of the Institute of British Organ Building, wrote: 'Martin’s kind and gentle manner belied the depth of his understanding and knowledge of organs in general. All of us have experienced his generosity and encouragement, and we will remember him as an organ builder who contributed uniquely to organ building in the UK, as well as a man of great humour and integrity.'

A memorial service to celebrate the life of Martin Goetze will be held on 24 September at 6pm at St.Anne’s Church, Worksop, Nottinghamshire, S80 1NJ. Light refreshments will be served in the church hall after the service. There is ample parking at the church and in the neighbouring streets.

Goetze and Gwynn

Cornelius Edskes (1925-2015)

8 September 2015

Cor Edskes
Cor Edskes

Cornelius ('Cor') Edskes, an authority on the history of organ building in Northern Europe, has died.

Edskes acquired practical knowledge of organ building through the Dutch firm Doornbos. He acted as consultant for the restoration of many of Europe's most important historical organs, working with the firm Marcussen & Son on the instruments in Roskilde Cathedral and Amsterdam's Nieuwe Kerk. 

He restored a number of instruments throughout Germany and Holland with the German organ builder Jürgen Ahrend, including Arp Schnitger's largest surviving organ at St Jacobi, Hamburg. 

Edskes was awarded an honorary doctorate by Göteborg University in 1996. The degree was conferred on the grounds that: 'For more than 40 years, Cor H. Edskes has embodied a model integration of scholarship, musicology, technical research and performance. His decades of highly interdisciplinary achievements as a foremost organologist have resulted in the creation of a legacy: in the absence of which, the remarkably high standards of contemporary organ-building and restoration could not have been achieved.'

Arnfinn Tobiassen appointed artistic director of the Norsk orgelfestival

8 September 2015

Arnfinn Tobiassen has taken over as artistic director of the Norsk orgelfestival. He succeeds Kolbein Haga, who co-founded the festival, as the event celebrates 25 years.

Tobiassen studied at the Royal Academy of Music with James O’Donnell, David Titterington, Lionel Rogg and Susan Landale. He was assistant organist at the Dutch Church in London between 2003 and 2010, during which time he also held positions as organ scholar at St Paul’s Knightsbridge and assistant organist at St Michael’s and All Angels, Croydon. In 2010, he was appointed Kantor at the Parish of St Olav’s, Avaldsnes.

He took part in the inauguration series of the new organ at Stavanger Konserthus in 2013. In October, he will release his first recording on LAWO Classics (featuring music by Trond Kverno).

Tobiassen said: ‘Taking over after Kolbein Haga was a wonderful challenge which was impossible to refuse. His fastidious work over the last 25 years makes this a most well run festival, and I shall look forward to continuing to develop the festival along with some fantastic colleagues in Stavanger and Sandnes.'

Now Scandinavia’s second longest running organ festival, the Norsk orgelfestival came about to showcase the new instruments which had been built in the Karmøy and Haugesund area. The city of Stavanger, which has hosted the event since 2006, acquired a IV/63 Ryde & Berg organ in 2012 and a newly renovated Reil instrument for the domkirke earlier this year. 

Norsk orgelfestival

Friends of Cathedral Music appoints new president

7 September 2015

Stephen Cleobury
Stephen CleoburyNick Rutter

The Friends of Cathedral Music (FCM) has announced Stephen Cleobury as its new president. He is to take over from Christopher Robinson, who is retiring, as the organisation celebrates its 60th anniversary in 2016.

Cleobury has been closely connected with cathedral music since he was a chorister at Worcester Cathedral in 1958. He held positions as organ scholar at St John's College, Cambridge and sub-organist of Westminster Abbey before becoming master of music at Westminster Cathedral in 1979. He became director of music at King’s College, Cambridge in 1982, and was president of the Royal College of Organists from 1990-1992.

The president-elect said that he was honoured to be linked with FCM, describing it as ‘an organisation which does so much wonderful work to support music in our cathedrals, churches and colleges at a time when there are increasing financial pressures on choral foundations.’

FCM chairman Peter Toyne said: ‘I am delighted that we have yet another internationally renowned and respected musician as our next president, and equally pleased that Christopher Robinson, who has been our inspirational president for the last twelve years, will continue to take an active interest in furthering the future development of our essential mission in safeguarding the priceless heritage that is cathedral music.’

Friends of Cathedral Music

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