Fiery start to inaugural Northern Ireland International Organ Competition
25 August 2011
The senior section of the inaugural Northern Ireland International Organ Competition (NIIOC), held in Armagh on 22–23 August, was won by Ben Comeau (18) from Truro. Described by jury chairman Thierry Mechler as ‘a fantastic player and a real musician’, Comeau is a former chorister of Truro Cathedral and is about to take up an organ scholarship at Girton College, Cambridge. His NIIOC programme consisted of J.S. Bach’s Trio Sonata no.4 in E minor BWV 528, and part of his own transcription of Stravinsky’s The Firebird. The jury felt that his performance revealed ‘brilliance and profound musicianship’.
The NIIOC was launched this year in association with the Charles Wood Summer School. It is the only competition in the UK and Ireland to cater specifically for accomplished organists aged 21 and under. With a prize of £1,000 and recitals in Belfast, Dublin and Trinity College, Cambridge, the senior section for organists of post-Grade 8 standard attracted 15 entrants from cathedrals, schools and conservatoires around the UK and Ireland. Second place went to Benjamin Bloor from St George’s Chapel, Windsor, and third place to Ghislaine Reece-Trapp of Guildford Cathedral. Richard Gowers from Eton College was highly commended for his performance of the Toccata by his grandfather, Patrick Gowers.
The intermediate competition for players at Grades 6-8 was won by Donal McCann (12), a chorister at St Peter’s R.C. Cathedral, Belfast, and the junior competition for Grades 4 & 5 by Killian Farrell, 17, from Dublin.
According to chair Richard Yarr, NIIOC came about as a response to demand from local organists who wanted to encourage, challenge and celebrate the talents of young performers in a competitive environment. Thierry Mechler’s fellow judges were Belfast City Organist Colm Carey, and David Hill, chief conductor of the BBC Singers, who told C&O that NIIOC provided an excellent stepping-stone into the world of competitions for young performers who would get lost in a bigger event with a higher age limit.
25 July 2011
A donation of £10,000 has been made to Gloucester Cathedral to support the Friends of Cathedral Music (FCM) Chorister scheme. after Evensong on 10 July 2011 by the Friends of Cathedral Music (FCM) to support the FCM Chorister scheme. FCM secretary Roger Bishton presented the cheque to the cathedral’s Dean, the Very Reverend Stephen Lake, after Evensong on 10 July.
The Dean responded: ‘Music is at the heart of so much that we do here at Gloucester Cathedral, and the ongoing support we receive from the Friends of Cathedral Music means a great deal to us. Choral scholarships are important, as they enable our talented young singers to further their musical development.’
Roger Bishton commented: ‘The opportunity to support a choral scholar and to strengthen the musical talent which already exists is something FCM regards as worthy of support and meets our objectives in safeguarding the priceless heritage of cathedral music in Britain.’
The choir of Gloucester Cathedral will take part in the famous Three Choirs Festival, this year in Worcester, from Saturday 6 August.
Crowdfunding raises £80,000 for The Organs of Cavaillé-Coll
25 July 2011
In just three months, Fugue State Films has raised £80,000 for a full-length documentary film about 19th-century organ builder Aristide Cavaillé-Coll. The money was raised by 419 funders, who donated sums between £45 and £10,000; Fugue State Films has invested £40,000.
The Organs of Cavaillé-Coll, which will begin filming on 12 September in Saint-Ouen, Rouen, is the most significant crowd-funded film about classical music. It marks both the 200th anniversary of Cavaillé-Coll’s birth and the forthcoming 150th anniversary of his organ at Saint-Sulpice, Paris. Presented by English organist Gerard Brooks, it will include interviews with and performances by famous French organists and scholars.
Will Fraser of Fugue State Films commented: ‘We’ve raised £80,000 in three months. Crowdfunding was straightforward and fun, and easier than trying to raise that amount of money from a broadcaster or a cultural organisation. We now have complete freedom to make the film we want to, and it will be our biggest and most important production thus far. We look forward to using crowdfunding again on our next project.’
Full details can be found at www.fuguestatefilms.co.uk/cavaille-coll
International Organ Competition at St Albans: The Winners
18 July 2011
The Interpretation Competition of the International Organ Festival at St Albans was won on Friday night by David Baskeyfield (UK); the Improvisation Competition was won by Paul Goussot (France).
In the finals Baskeyfield beat Steven Grahl (UK), Ka Young Lee (South Korea) and Simone Vebber (Italy) to take the coveted prize. The set work – André Isoir's Variations on a Huguenot Psalm – gave the opportunity for each organist to demonstrate a wide range of tone colours available on the Cathedral's 1962/2009 Harrison & Harrison organ. The last of the finalists to perform – beginning his 45-minute recital at 10pm – Baskeyfield said afterwards that he had chosen his programme bearing in mind that the audience would already have hear a lot of organ music and would probably be tired. So alongside the bigger works of Bach's A minor Prelude & Fugue, BWV 543 and the final movement from Vierne's Organ Symphony no.6, the audience heard the elegantly ornamented Mozart Andante in F, KV616, and the delicate filigree writing of Vierne's Naïades from Pièces de Fantaisie. His performance was so well received that he was also awarded the Audience Prize.
Baskeyfield is having a successful year, having already come second in Pipeworks, the Dublin International Organ Competition, last month. He is a currently a doctoral student at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York.
The three finalists in the Improvisation Competition – Goussot, Samuel Liégeon (France) and Erik Kolind (Denmark) – were presented with themes composed by Loïc Mallié from which they improvised a three-movement symphony of 20 minutes. Goussot is titulaire of the Dom Bedos organ at the Abbey of Ste-Croix, Bordeaux, and a harpsichord professor at the Conservatoire of Chaville.
Other prizes were awarded to: Simone Vebber (the Peter Hurford Prize for the best performance of a work by JS Bach); Kyle Babin (the Douglas May Award for his performance of Thierry Escaich's Ground II for organ and percussion); and Ka Young Lee, who was runner-up in the Interpretation Competition, also won the prize for the best performance of the Commissioned Work, John McCabe's Esperanza.
5 July 2011
Gerard Brooks will give a 40-minute recital of French Romantic organ music in a concert to raise funds for a new full-length documentary DVD about the life and work of Aristide Cavaillé-Coll.
The film is being produced by Fugue State Films to mark the 200th anniversary of the master organ builder’s birth, as well as the upcoming 150th anniversary of his organ at St Sulpice, Paris.
Will Fraser of Fugue State Films said: ‘We’ve raised £77,000 of our £80,000 goal – this fundraiser will be a fun event that will help us raise the last £3,000. It’ll also let us tell everyone how we intend to produce what will be our biggest and most important production thus far.’
The concert is being held at 7.30pm on Wednesday 13 July in St James, Clerkenwell, London EC1. Admission: free for everyone who has already subscribed or invested; for others £10, including a free drink (entrance fee will be refunded for those who pre-buy a DVD.
Details are at http://www.fuguestatefilms.co.uk/cavaille-coll
Contact Fugue State Films at 020 7502 6861, firstname.lastname@example.org
Directions to St James Church, Clerkenwell Close, London, EC1R 0EA: http://www.jc-church.org/findus.htm