Choir & Organ, cover from current issue

January/February 2016 issue on sale now

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

Preview: Barbican 2016/17 season

26 January 2016

The Barbican's 2016/17 season includes a Massed Voices concert series, featuring landmarks of the choral repertoire.

The London Symphony Orchestra will present five major choral works with the London Symphony Chorus and Monteverdi Choir. The concerts will feature performances of Mendelssohn’s Symphony No 2, Hymn of Praise, with Sir John Eliot Gardiner and his Monteverdi Choir (16 & 20 October); John Adams’ El Niño, conducted by the composer (4 December); Fabio Luisi conducting Brahms’ German Requiem (19 March); and a performance of Bruckner’s Te Deum with conductor Bernard Haitink (28 May).
The BBC Symphony Orchestra and BBC Symphony Chorus will also perform three large-scale choral works. Rachmaninov’s choral symphony The Bells (28 October), Berlioz’s Grand messe des morts (13 November at the Royal Albert Hall) and Dvořák’s Requiem (13 April).
Britten Sinfonia will be joined by Harry Christophers and The Sixteen for the world premiere of James MacMillan’s Stabat Mater (15 October), and will celebrate Easter with a Good Friday performance of Bach’s St John Passion with Mark Padmore and Britten Sinfonia Voices (14 April).

Barbican: Classical 16/17

Gesualdo Six launch composition competition

25 January 2016

Composers are invited to submit a new work for the Gesualdo Six's inaugural composition competition.

The competition is divided into two categories: 18 years and under, and 19 years and above. The chosen texts for composers to set include poems by Christina Rossetti and Emily Brontë, as well as words by Gesualdo and Shakespeare.

The winning works will be premiered by the ensemble at St John's Smith Square on 19 June and will be considered for publication by Novello & Co Ltd. A prize fund of £1000 is available.

Entries should be submitted by 5pm on 15 April.

Gesualdo Six: composition competition 2016

Sir James MacMillan commission to reopen Mackintosh Building

25 January 2016

GSA choir director Jamie Sansbury with Sir James MacMillan in the Mackintosh Building
GSA choir director Jamie Sansbury with Sir James MacMillan in the Mackintosh Building

A new work by Sir James MacMillan will receive its premiere at the reopening of the Mackintosh Building at the Glasgow School of Art (GSA)

Creative Scotland has awarded National Lottery funding of £4,000 towards the commission, with further support from the GSA.

The text for the new work is taken from a poem written by former GSA director Francis (Fra) Henry Newbery, who played an important part in commissioning the Mackintosh Building.

The new work will be performed by the GSA Choir.

GSA director Tom Inns said: 'We wanted to mark the re-opening of the Mackintosh Building in a very special way, and what better way to celebrate the re-opening of a creative masterpiece than with the world premiere of a work by such an eminent composer? We are thrilled that Creative Scotland has recognised the cultural significance of this project.'

'I have been impressed with the sounds his choir make and am delighted that they have asked me to write for them,' said Sir James. 'I'm proud that the new piece will mark the reopening of this important building. This is a project of hope and determination to overcome the disaster which befell the school in 2014.'

The category-A listed building, which was recognised as a fine example of art nouveau architecture, was stricken by a fire in 2014. Many students lost work towards their final-year degree show, but the building's archives were saved.

Glasgow School of Art

Organ course: Playing with confidence

21 January 2016

An organ course on 'Playing with confidence' will take place between 17 and 19 February at the church of St Michael the Archangel, Lyme Regis.

The course, which will use the church's new Skrabl instrument, will be lead by Philip Scriven and the other tutors include Peter Parshall (Axminster), Richard Godfrey, David Bruce-Payne (former organist at Birmingham Cathedral), Ian Curror (London Mucis Colleges), Alex Davies (St Michael's) and David Davies (Exeter Catherdral).

It will include talks and discussions, demonstrations and group study sessions, as well as trips to Honiton, Ottery St.Mary and Exeter Cathedral and St.Michael’s Mount Dinham (Exeter).

For more information, call Linda Nicholson on 01297 445865 or email linda@lymeregisorganschool.org.

Lyme Regis Organ School

Choir of St John's Cambridge launches new record imprint with Signum Classics

21 January 2016

The Choir of St John's College Cambridge has launched a new record imprint with Signum Classics.

The 'St John's Cambridge' label will release all forthcoming recordings by the choir, as well as chamber music and recitals from current members and alumni.

The label's first release, Deo, will feature choral and organ works by Jonathan Harvey, who studied at the college. The recording features works including The Annunciation and The Royal Banners Come - both written for the choir - as well as Holy Ghost, I love the Lord and two works for organ (Toccata for organ and tape and Laus Deo). The CD will be released in May.

The second release, which is due in autumn, will feature music for Advent and Christmas. The recording will include Michael Finnissy's John the Baptist, composed for the choir and winner of a British Composer Award.

Other future releases include a programme of violin works performed by Julia Hwang, a former category finalist in BBC Young Musician of the Year and an undergraduate at the college.

Andrew Nethsingha, director of music at St John’s College, confirmed that the label would be releasing around three recordings per year.

He said: 'This is an exciting time for both the Choir and the College of St John’s Cambridge. With the creation of the St John’s Cambridge imprint with Signum, we are able to showcase both the repertoire of the choir and also the astounding musical talent of the college. 

'I’m looking forward to presenting a diverse range of ambitious choral and recital repertoire on the label.'

The Choir's previous recordings have been with Chandos, with releases including works for choir and harp (2012), choral classics, works by Wesley (2013) and Christmas carols (2011).

Choir of St John's College Cambridge

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