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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

Results of fifth NIIOC announced

26 August 2015

David Graham, Alexander Hamilton, Erwan le Prado, and David Hill
David Graham, Alexander Hamilton, Erwan le Prado, and David Hill

Alexander Hamilton
Alexander Hamilton

Alexander Hamilton, organ scholar at St George's Chapel, Windsor, won the senior category of the fifth Northern Ireland International Organ Competition (NIIOC), which was held in St Patrick’s Church of Ireland Cathedral in Armagh between 24 and 26 August.

The 19-year-old wins a £1,000 cash prize and a range of recording and concert engagements (including recitals at Trinity College Cambridge, Westminster Abbey, St Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast and Christ Church, Dublin).

Laurence Long (Royal College of Music), came second in the senior class and won the Stephen Corry Award for a stand-out performance of any piece except Bach. Yanis Dubois (Caen Conservatoire) came third and won the Bach Prize, while Henry Brearley (Stockport Grammar School) was highly commended.

Matthew Breen won the intermediate class of the competition. Thomas Maxwell won the junior class, in which Niall Barrett was highly commended.  

Erwan Le Prado (Caen Conservatoire) chaired the judging panel, which was completed by David Graham, Professor of organ at the Royal College of Music, and David Hill, chief conductor of the BBC Singers. They praised the standard and musicianship of the competitors and the variety of their programmes.

Richard Yarr, chair of NIIOC, said: 'We are recognised as the go-to competition for organists aged 21 and under. Our previous four winners are ambassadors for NIIOC and have begun accomplished careers in music. Alexander Hamilton is set to be another.'

Previous winners include Andrew Forbes (2014), Richard Gowers (2013) and Benjamin Bloor (2012).

The Northern Ireland International Organ Competition

Radio 3 launches Breakfast Carol Competition 2015

25 August 2015

Roger McGough
Roger McGough

Radio 3 has launched its Breakfast Carol Competition for 2015. Composers are invited to write a choral setting for ‘Comes the Light’, a poem commissioned specially for the occasion from Roger McGough.

The six shortlisted carols will be performed live on Radio 3’s Breakfast in the lead up to Christmas by the BBC Singers, directed by chief conductor David Hill. The winning carol, which will be decided by public vote, will be performed live on Radio 3’s Breakfast on 23 December and played throughout Christmas day on Radio 3.

The shortlist will be compiled by a panel made up of Jamie W. Hall, (bass with the BBC Singers), Griselda Sherlaw-Johnson of Oxford University Press, Michael Emery (lead producer, BBC Singers) and Master of the Queen’s Music Judith Weir, and chaired by David Hill.

The Radio 3 Breakfast Carol Competition launched in 2014. Jacqueline Burley won the inaugural competition with her setting of ‘Can It Be True?’ by Susan Hill.

The deadline is 3 November 2015. The music should be for SATB choir, with or without a piano accompaniment. The finished composition should be not more than four minutes long.

Comes the Light
by Roger McGough

Follow the star’s beckoning light
Break the silence of the night
Gently open the cattle-shed door
See the baby lying in straw
Sing out for the mother and the child she bore
Sing out for the mother and the child she bore.

Sing out for the earth, its health and renewal
Its wealth universal, equally shared
Through winter’s darkness, bleak and cruel
Comes the light, sing out and be heard.

Sing out…
For those with faith and those without
For those who hope and those who doubt
For those who mock, lay waste and fight
For those who would put out the light
Sing out…

Follow the shepherds’ marvelling gaze
Echo their wonder, join in their praise
Annus mirabilis, who can ignore
A miracle like this with love at its core
Sing out for the mother and the child she bore
Sing out for the mother and the child she bore.

Sing out for the earth, its health and renewal
For the birth of our saviour, the Jesus boy
Through winter’s darkness, bleak and cruel
Comes the light, sing out for joy.

Radio 3 Breakfast Carol Competition

St Thomas Church summons candidates to audition

24 August 2015

The St Thomas Church, Leipzig has summoned four candidates to audition for the post of choirmaster.

  • Markus Teutschbein of Knabenkantorei Basel
  • Clemens Flämig, choir director of Stadtsingechor to Halle
  • H.C. Markus Johannes Langer of Rostock Mottenchor
  • Matthias Jung, head of Saxon Vocal Ensemble and the Dresden Boys’ choir
The four candidates will each rehearse motets and a Bach cantata with the St Thomas Boys' Choir, the Gewandhaus Orchestra, soloists and organist Ullrich Böhme as part a trial week, during which they will also be interviewed by the selection committee.

The position has existed since the Reformation, and is considered one of the most prestigious positions in Germany.

St Thomas Church

Second 'One Day One Choir' event approaches

21 August 2015

The second 'One Day One Choir' event will take place on 21 September (World Peace Day). The global choral initiative encourages people to sing together in aid of peace.

The event, which launched in 2014, will take place annually until 2018, marking the centenary years of WWI. The initiative is hoping to mobilise the biggest choir in the world for peace in 2018, marking 100 years since the end of WWI. 

Anyone can join in either by dedicating something they are singing to Peace Day or by creating a performance with a focus on peace. Those who cannot sing on the day itself, can still be part of 'One Day One Choir' by singing for peace in the week leading up to Peace Day.

The project was launched by Jane Hanson, a London-based choir director and educator.

One Day One Choir

Genesis Sixteen appoints new conducting scholar

18 August 2015

Sarah Latto
Sarah Latto

Sarah Latto has been announced as the Genesis Sixteen conducting scholar for 2015/16. She follows Robbie Jacobs, the inaugural conducting scholar.

Latto read music at Cambridge University, where she held a choral scholarship with Sidney Sussex College and studied conducting with David Skinner and Stephen Layton. She continued her studies in Brighton with Deborah Roberts and John Hancorn, where she worked closely with Brighton Early Music Festival as a vocal coach and director, and conducted the BREMF Community Choir and the BREMF Consort in performance. In 2014, she was selected for the Association of British Choral Directors bursary for young conductors, through which she worked with the Royal Opera House Thurrock Community Chorus.

She currently directs Tapestry, a 16-piece vocal ensemble based in Berkshire which explores 19th- and 20th-century repertoire for women's voices, and the North Downs Consort. She is also musical director and vocal coach with the arts department at Brunel University

Harry Christophers, founder and conductor of The Sixteen, said: 'The conducting scholarship is a truly unique opportunity not only to work alongside myself and associate conductor Eamonn Dougan, but also to direct a group of young singers training to become top level professionals. I am very pleased to welcome Sarah to the scheme and look forward to working with her over the coming year.'

Genesis Sixteen is The Sixteen's free young artists' scheme which provides group tuition, individual mentoring and masterclasses from leading industry figures for talented young ensemble singers. The scheme is now in its fifth year and has welcomed its 100th participant.

Genesis Sixteen

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