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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.


Pull out all the stops

Latest News

International Organ Festival Starts Next Week

29 June 2011

We are now just one week away from the International Organ Festival of St Albans, which takes place on 7-16 July 2011.

This year, the competitions feature a special commission from John McCabe, called Esperanza, which will be played in the Interpretation quarter-finals. Competitors in the semi-finals of both the Interpretation and Improvisation competitions will be required to perform with percussion.

The shortlisted competitors include four organists from the UK. A full list of competitors is below:

  • Kyle Babin (USA)
  • David Baskeyfield (UK)
  • Thomas Corns (UK)
  • Paul Goussot (France)
  • Steven Grahl (UK)
  • Babett Hartmann (Germany)
  • Heejin Kim (South Korea)
  • Hyerim Kim (South Korea)
  • Jiyeon Kim (South Korea)
  • Erik Kolind (Denmark)
  • Péter Kováts (Hungary)
  • Ronny Krippner (Germany)
  • Sebastian Küchler-Blessing (Germany)
  • Ka Young Less (South Korea)
  • Geerten Kiefting (Netherlands)
  • Samuel Liégeon (France)
  • Jason Roberts (USA)
  • Yu Sasaki (Japan)
  • Martin Sturm (Germany)
  • Simone Vebber (Italy)
  • Christian Wilson (UK)
As well as the competition events, the festival also includes organ recitals by jury members Simon Preston, Daniel Roth, Tong-Soon Kwak, Bine Katrine Bryndorf, Helmut Deutsch and Martin Jean; and a wide range of events, including the Three Choirs Concert with the cathedral choirs of St Albans and Winchester and the Choir of New College, Oxford, a festival art exhibition, the Early English Organ Project and a film focusing on organs from the Dutch city and province of Groningen. The festival ends with a celebratory Ceilidh in the Old Town Hall.

A full programme of events can be found here.

International Organ Festival

Ray of Hope for University Music

29 June 2011

The Director of Music’s office at Strathclyde University, Glasgow, has won a partial reprieve following the publication of plans to disband the department. The reprieve for the music department comes in the context of wider-spread cuts in courses at the Universities of Strathclyde and Glasgow that gave rise to student protests at the beginning of June. The protests culminated in student’s occupying the Geography and Sociology Department on the eve of the court hearing to decide the future of the departments.

The proposals, which were part of a cost-cutting exercise by the university’s principal Prof. Jim McDonald, threatened the future of the University Music Society, which runs a 40-piece chamber choir, a symphony orchestra, a concert band, big band and Celtic ensemble. This is turn would leave students on the BA Applied Music course, who are required to participate in the groups, high and dry; the move also threatened to make a white elephant of the new Bach-style Kögler organ in the university’s Barony Hall.

Now a stay of execution has given the department three years to bring in additional income through donations, sponsorship and ticket sales.  The cuts, set to save £244,000, have sparked condemnation from leading figures in arts and education:

  • Composer James MacMillan said that cuts ‘amounted to vandalism’.
  • Actor Peter Capaldi, who began his career in the Strathclyde Theatre Group which uses the Ramshorn, said he was ‘alarmed and upset’ by the proposals.
  • A former vice-principal, Emeritus Professor Peter Reed, accused Strathclyde of having ‘tunnel vision’.
An online petition declared that ‘the sum of money which the university stands to save… is an absolute pittance compared to the loss of cultural knowledge, resources and overall immense reputational damage that it stands to suffer.’

Defending the proposals, McDonald told journalists: ‘From 1 August we anticipate a funding cut of about £12 million, but we still want to invest in those areas that are critical in delivering our strategic objectives to develop Strathclyde as a leading international technological institution.’ He insisted culture and arts had not been singled out: ‘Strathclyde has been, and will continue to be, committed to culture and the arts because we genuinely believe it enhances our students’ experience, but we have to address how we sustain and maximise the potential for these activities as we are doing in all other areas.’

The renowned American philosopher Noam Chomsky, known as the ‘father of modern linguistics’, also entered the debate, describing McDonald’s vision of a ‘Massachusetts Institute of Technology of the Clyde’ as ‘very odd,’ telling journalists: ‘If the goal is to turn Strathclyde into the MIT of Scotland by curtailing programmes in the social sciences, it is the MIT of half-a-century ago that is envisioned, if even that.’

Nicholas Danby Scholarship goes to Richard Brasier

29 June 2011

The Nicholas Danby Trust has announced that the 2011 Scholarship has been awarded to Richard Brasier. The £6,000 per annum scholarship is awarded biennially to a postgraduate organ student of exceptional promise, enabling them to undertake conservatoire study outside his or her own country for up to two years.

The award was announced prior to Olivier Latry’s recital at Southwark Cathedral last Thursday (23 June), and Richard was introduced to people at a reception which followed the concert.

Richard will be using the scholarship to undertake a two-year course at the Cologne Musikhochschule, where he will study with Johannes Geffert. Richard, who began his musical training on the piano aged 10, gave his first recital aged 16, just one year after he took up the organ. Prior to taking up a place at the Royal Academy of Music to study with David Titterington and Nicolas Kynaston, Richard spent a year as organ scholar Chelmsford Cathedral and two years as assistant organist at St Alfege Parish Church, Greenwich. He is currently organ scholar at St Marylebone Parish Church in central London and organist of Marylebone School for Girls. His work includes teaching instrumental and theoretical music and accompanying. More recently, he has formed a partnership with fellow RAM student and trumpeter Nathan Richards, performing both original repertoire and arrangements of instrumental works.

Each Nicholas Danby organ scholar benefits from the advice and aid of the trustees. Current trustees are: Stephen Turvey, Margaret Danby, James O’Donnell, Patrick Russill, Catherine Ennis, Peter Wright, Barry Woodman and Mary Danby Calvert.

Richard Brasier's website

CHOIR & ORGAN DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTIONS NOW AVAILABLE

23 June 2011

Choir & Organ is now available as a digital subscription and as an app for the iPad and iPhone.

Digital subscriptions cost £20.99 for 6 issues and are available through distributor PocketMags here.

The Choir & Organ app for iPhone and iPad can be downloaded for £1.99 here, and comes with one free issue of the purchaser's choice: further single issues or subscriptions may be purchased within the app.

Digital back issues are also available for download at the PocketMags site, costing £3.99 each, £10.00 for three.

C&O digital subscriptions and back issues at PocketMags

C&O apps at iTunes

Registration now open for 2011 Isle of Man Festival of Choirs

27 May 2011

For the second year running, Isle of Man Tourism is hosting the Isle of Man Festival of Choirs. The competition is to be held in the Villa Marina on 24 and 25 September 2011.

The Festival is divided into separated into three categories: ladies’, male and mixed voice choirs, with the first two in each section receiving prizes of £500 and £200 respectively. Each choir must perform three contrasting pieces, on of which must be unaccompanied. The winners in each category will then be put through to a final with a possible winnings of £1,500.

There are plenty of other things to do in the Isle of Man while you’re there: local attractions and countryside a-plenty. Home to the Celts, Vikings and the oldest continuous parliament in the world, the Isle of Man is steeped in history, and choirs can enjoy visiting the many Manx National Heritage sites dotted around the Island.

Each choir must pay an entry fee of £25. Registration details can be found at visitisleofman.com.
For more information please contact Laura Quinn on 01624 644644 or email laura.quinn@gov.im


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