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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.


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Latest News

British firm to build the largest pipe organ in NewZealand

18 July 2014

The Malvern firm of Nicholson & Co has been commissioned to build their largest organ so far, for Holy Trinity Cathedral in Auckland, New Zealand. The organ will also be the company’s first in the southern hemisphere.

Featuring two stunning cases by leading designer, Didier Grassin, the ‘New Voice’ organ will sit on either side of the crossing in chambers made available by the removal of the nave bridge. From this position, the organ will speak with into both the chancel and the nave, while drawing the eye through the dramatic new vista opened up along the length of the building.

With 90 speaking stops and 5,215 pipes, the organ will be the largest in New Zealand, and the largest church organ to be made in Britain for 70 years. It will be played from two identical consoles: a fixed console in a loft above the Cathedral’s Marsden Chapel, and a movable console in the nave, each with four manuals and 122 drawstops, and equipped with the latest playing aids.

Work in Nicholson’s Malvern factory will start in July 2015, with completion in the Cathedral by October 2017.

Jacobs School of Music student wins national competition

18 July 2014

Jonathan Rudy with Janette Fishell
Jonathan Rudy with Janette Fishell

Jonathan Rudy, a student at Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, has won the audience prize and first prize at the National Young Artists Competition in Organ Performance.

Rudy, a native of Batavia, Illinois, said, ‘I was honoured to be competing in this event alongside such high levels of performance ability and musical talent.’ His prize includes two years of concert management and assistance in career development from Karen McFarlane Artists.

A doctoral student in organ and sacred music, Rudy has been learning with Janette Fishell, chair of the Jacobs Organ Department, throughout his M.M. and D.M. studies at the school, and has also studied improvisation with Bruce Neswick. Fishell commented: ‘From the first lesson I gave Jonathan in his MM studies, I could sense that he had a deep musicianship and a compelling vibrancy in his playing… he loves a challenge and has embraced every learning curve with a positive attitude and enormous commitment.’

The competition was held as part of the biennial national convention of the American Guild of Organists on June 23 in Boston.

Composer and C&O contributor Patric Standford dies aged 75

16 May 2014

Choir & Organ contributor and classical music critic Patric Standford has died suddenly at the age of 75.

Patric Standford (born John Gledhill in Barnsley in 1939, but adopted at the age of four following the death of his mother) was introduced to classical music at Ackworth School. Following National Service in the RAF, he went aged 22 to the Guildhall School of Music in London. In 1964 he won the Mendelssohn Scholarship and studied with Gianfrancesco Malipiero and Witold Lutoslawski in Venice and Warsaw respectively.

From the late 1960s onwards, Standford’s career as a composer soared, producing A String Quartet (1965), Notte (1968), First Symphony (The Seasons); Christus Requiem (1972), Christmas Carol Symphony (1978), Fifth Symphony (1985). This period also saw his teaching career blossom: he became a Professor of Composition at the Guildhall, taught from 1969 to 1980 and was made a Fellow in 1972. After returning to his home county of Yorkshire, he became Head of Music at Bretton Hall in 1980, retiring from the role in 1993. Standford continued to teach at Huddersfield University until the death of his wife Sarah in 2011, after which he moved to Suffolk.

Standford had a significant presence in musical organisations, including a period as Chairman of the Composers’ Guild of Great Britain, the British Music Information Centre and for the Hinrichsen Foundation.

Standford continued to write, compose and teach up until his sudden death on 23 April 2014.    

Grahl named director of music at Peterborough Cathedral

16 May 2014

Steven Grahl is to succeed Robert Quinney as director of music at Peterborough Cathedral. He will take up his new post in September 2014. 

In addition to being organist and director of music at St Marylebone Parish Church, London, and principal conductor of Guildford Chamber Choir, since 2007 Mr Grahl has been assistant organist at New College, Oxford, to which Quinney has just moved as director of music, following the retirement of Edward Higginbottom.

The Very Revd Charles Taylor, Dean of Peterborough, said: ‘When Robert was appointed to New College Oxford we knew he was going to one of the top musical foundations in the country, so we are very pleased to have attracted some traffic in the opposite direction! … Steven is a man of energy and vision and we look forward to working with him.’

Steven Grahl is a prize-winning graduate of Magdalen College, Oxford, and the Royal Academy of Music, of which he was elected an Associate in 2010. He was an interpretation finalist in the International Organ Competitions at St Albans (UK) in 2011, and in Dudelange (Luxembourg) in 2013. He is a Junior Fellow of Birmingham Conservatoire, chairman of the Association of Assistant Cathedral Organists, and a member of the Oxford University Faculty of Music.

St Albans launches 2015 Organ Competitions

14 May 2014

(from left) Stephen Boffey, chairman; The Right Worshipful the Mayor of St Albans City and District, Councillor Annie Brewster, and David Titterington, artistic director
(from left) Stephen Boffey, chairman; The Right Worshipful the Mayor of St Albans City and District, Councillor Annie Brewster, and David Titterington, artistic director

On 9 May, the 2015 St Albans International Organ Festival Competitions were launched in St Albans Old Town Hall.

The competitions – in Interpretation and Improvisation – are open to organists under the age of 33.

Following a recorded pre-selection round, the Competitions will take place on 8–18 July 2015 and will be at the heart of a multi-faceted international arts festival featuring classical music and music from around the world, dance, jazz, talks, demonstrations and an art exhibition.

Special features of the 2015 competition are:

  • Interpretation Quarter-finalists will perform a new work commissioned from the renowned composer Paul Patterson.
  • For the first time, there will be a concerto final round for the Interpretation Competition, with the celebrated orchestra Wiener Akademie, directed by Martin Haselböck.
  • Improvisers will perform ‘in alternatim’ with sung chant and an array of percussion in the Semi-final rounds. 
  • For the first time, one round of the Interpretation Semi-final will move to Christ Church, Spitalfields, London and feature the recently restored 1735 Richard Bridge organ.

The recorded pre-selection round will be adjudicated by French organist Eric Lebrun, Thomas Trotter and David Titterington, the Festival’s artistic director; jury members for the finals in July 2015 will be Michel Bouvard (France), Hans Davidsson (Sweden), Bernhard Haas (Germany), Martin Haselböck (Austria), James O’Donnell (UK), Jakyung Oh (South Korea) and Carole Terry (USA).

Details of the Competition and the Festival will be available at www.organfestival.com.

Closing date for receiving entries: 16 March 2015


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