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Choir & Organ, cover from current issue

September/October 2015 on sale from 28 August

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

Spitalfields Music appoints new chief executive

2 September 2015

Eleanor Gussman
Eleanor Gussman

Spitalfields Music has announced Eleanor Gussman as its next chief executive. The music education specialist will assume the position in October 2015 to lead the charity’s festivals and its learning and participation programme.


Gussman has worked in music education for over a decade. As head of LSO Discovery, she directed LSO Play and the LSO Soundhub, coordinated a number of opportunities which included arranging for 80 young musicians from East London to perform in the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics, and embedding creative music practice in classrooms across East London through a systematic Continuing Professional Development programme. Prior to leading LSO Discovery, Eleanor oversaw the LSO’s artist development programme and worked for the Asian Music Circuit. Most recently, she has acted as a consultant for clients including the London Sinfonietta and Wellcome Trust.

She said of the appointment: ‘I am absolutely delighted to be joining Spitalfields Music in the lead up to the 40th anniversary in 2016. The organisation’s world-class programming, award-winning education programme and setting in the heart of East London make it irresistible. I am greatly looking forward to building upon the exceptional work to date and to working with Maurice and the team to shape the future direction of Spitalfields Music.’

Professor Maurice Biriotti, chair of Spitalfields Music, said: ‘Eleanor’s superb musical and artistic integrity, combined with her passionate belief in the power of music, make her an excellent leader for our organisation. Her commitment to using music to inspire and enrich individuals and bring communities together will doubtless allow her to excel in her new role.’

Spitalfields Music’s learning and participation programme, which celebrated 25 years in 2014, brings participatory music projects to members of the local community in schools, community centres, hospitals and libraries across Tower Hamlets. The inaugural Takeover Spring Festival (curated and produced by pupils at three local Tower Hamlets schools) took place in 2015.

Spitalfields Music

Cheltenham Bach Choir appoints new music director

2 September 2015

David Crown has been appointed as the new music director of the Cheltenham Bach Choir.


Crown is currently music director of the Reading Phoenix Choir, the Oxford Singers and the vOx chamber choir in Oxford. He teaches singing at Oxford and Bristol Universities, and is also director of music at Somerville College, Oxford.

Choir chair Susan Gargett said: 'We are delighted to welcome David to the Cheltenham Bach Choir as we approach our seventieth anniversary.  We are particularly looking forward to the leadership and insights of such an experienced singer. The choir has gone from strength to strength in recent years, and we expect David will help us to build on this momentum as we move into our eighth decade.'

David’s inaugural performance with the choir will be on 24 October, when he will direct Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, and Carissimi’s Jepthe at the Parabola Arts Centre in Cheltenham.

The Cheltenham Bach Choir is a 100-strong choral society, covering repertoire from the 16th century to present day. Each year the choir presents at least three major concerts in venues including the Cheltenham Town Hall, Tewkesbury Abbey and Gloucester Cathedral.

Cheltenham Bach Choir

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


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