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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

Llandaff Cathedral music cuts

7 January 2014

Just five days before Christmas, Llandaff Cathedral carried out its threat to make five professional part-time lay clerks, a part-time choral scholar and the assistant organist redundant, in order to save £45,000 of a projected budget deficit of £80,000. 

The sackings came in the teeth of a six-week campaign to save the professional choir, orchestrated by the Incorporated Society of Musicians, which included fundraising and a petition of over 1,000 signatures. The choir will now consist of boy choristers during the week with a budget to pay adult choristers on an occasional basis for weekend services and special occasions. 

A spokesperson for the Cathedral Chapter said it had considered all the proposals put to it, but 'the new funding arrangement for the choir is the best and most responsible way to secure both its long term future, and the future of the cathedral community as a whole. We fear that the alternative of relying on constant fundraising for one area of our responsibilities would overshadow or diminish support for other pressing needs, such as the fabric of the building, and even then could not guarantee a sustainable long term solution.' The spokesperson added that the choir would strengthen relationships with other musical organisations and develop the complementary roles of the girls' and parish choirs. 

But ISM chief executive Deborah Annetts said, 'Making people redundant the week before Christmas and at the choir's busiest time of year is a shocking decision that will do lasting damage both to the musical life and the reputation of Llandaff Cathedral. ISM head of legal affairs David Abrahams added: 'This is a terrible decision with huge repercussions for the individuals involved and for Llandaff Cathedral. We believe that donations from supporters of the Save Llandaff Choir Campaign and the Choir’s own fundraising plans could have raised the necessary funds to keep these musicians employed.' 

Choral director Suzi Digby OBE joined the chorus of disapproval: 'This is utterly heartbreaking: the Cathedral Chapter must reconsider its options – the importance of choral music, as we have shown time and time again through my Vocal Futures programme – is beyond dispute. Sacking a choir five days before Christmas, denying the younger children the chance to sing with professionals, and refusing to engage in real fundraising to save the choir, beggars belief.'

Chilcott writes memorial carol

12 December 2013

Composer Bob Chilcott has written a carol in memory of church organist Alan Greaves from Sheffield who was murdered last Christmas while on his way to Midnight mass.

Chilcott has generously allowed Oxford University Press to make the sheet music available free of charge.

OUP has been inundated with requests to perform it this Christmas and has made Chilcott's carol available to download from the OUP website. 



9 December 2013

Llandaff Cathedral Choir
Llandaff Cathedral Choir

Following the Incorporated Society of Musicians’ decision to go public in condemnation of Llandaff Cathedral’s plans to sack all the adult members of its Choir due to a budget deficit, it has now reported that an extension to the period of consultation for those at risk of redundancy has been granted. Choir members were originally told they might be made redundant as soon as 6 December 2013.

The Cathedral had proposed to slim down the Choir in order to save nearly £50,000 against an anticipated deficit of £81,000. Seven men – five lay clerks, one choral scholar and the assistant organist – are at risk of redundancy and will be invited to take part in consultation meetings over the next few weeks. The move provoked outraged reactions from former choristers and the Friends of Cathedral Music, which had awarded substantial grants to the Cathedral in the past, and which had not ruled out further financial support in the future.

A spokesman said, ‘It is proposed that a budget be kept to pay adult choristers on an occasional basis for weekend services and special seasons, such as Advent and Christmas, to sing with the boy choristers in order to keep a choral tradition in the cathedral.’

The ISM, the professional body for musicians, led a campaign in response to the plans. Head of legal affairs, David Abrahams, told C&O, ‘This is great news. The ISM has been calling for an extension to the consultation period and this now gives the Chapter more time to consider the alternatives to redundancy as put forward by the ISM and others.’



22 November 2013

Fugue State Films’ DVD on the historic organs in Alkmaar, the Netherlands, has won the prestigious Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik (German Record Critics’ Prize), one of the most respected and important German prizes, with an independent jury of high-class journalists.


Alkmaar – The Organs of the Laurenskerk celebrates the world-renowned Van Hagerbeer/Schnitger and Van Covelens organs of the Dutch town, introduced by the church’s two organists, Pieter van Dijk and Frank van Wijk, alongside cameos of the instruments in Leiden’s Pieterskerk and Amsterdam’s Nieuwe Kerk. Our reviewer described it as a ‘unique collection [that will] reward many hours of watchcing and listening.’


The award marks a second win for Fugue State Films, whose previous DVD collection, The Organs of Cavaillé-Coll, also received the prize. www.fuguestatefilms.co.uk


22 November 2013


Sir John Tavener, the British composer whose musical trajectory mirrored his exploration of spirituality, has died at the age of 69. 

Many Choir & Organ readers will know Tavener’s music through singing some of his large body of religious music (The Lamb, Song for Athene, The Protecting Veil). He joined the Russian Orthodox Church in 1977, but his music reflected a far wider range of influences, as seen in his magnum opus The Veil of the Temple, the eight-hour all-night vigil (2002); indeed, the composer wrote that ‘it attempts to remove the veils that hide the same basic truth of all authentic religions.’ 

Tavener wrote a single work for solo organ: Mandelion (1981) is a 24-minute work commissioned for the 1982 Dublin International Organ Festival and was premiered in St Patrick’s Cathedral by Peter Sweeney. The composer described it as ‘a meditation upon the changing and distorting images of Christ’.   

Obituary in the January/February 2014 issue of Choir & Organ.

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