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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The Neoclassical Organ and the Great Aristide Cavaillé-Coll Organ of Saint-Sulpice, Paris

Latest News

MacMillan's Credo is revealed at the BBC Proms

17 July 2012

James MacMillan: New premiere at the BBC Proms
James MacMillan: New premiere at the BBC Proms

James MacMillan's new festive setting of the Credo will receive its premiere at the BBC Proms on 7 August and is a highlight of the composer's residency at the Grafenegg Music Festival in Austria later in the month.

MacMillan's most recent work for choir and orchestra - a four-way commission between BBC Radio 3, the Ensemble Orchestral de Paris, Grafenegg and De Doelen Concert Hall in Rotterdam - is his first-ever setting of the Credo from the Mass; festive in mood and large in scale, the three-movement structure reflects the Trinitarian aspects of Father, Son and Holy Spirit - the Credo moves from simple choral intonation through to a complex fusion of plainsong, motet and cantus firmus techniques, capped by a joyous orchestral coda.

At the Proms, the 25-minute score is performed by the Salford-based BBC Philharmonic, with the combined forces of three choirs from Northern England under the baton of the Philharmonic's music director Juanjo Mena; MacMillan forged strong links with the orchestra during his time as resident composer-conductor. Following its premiere at the BBC Proms, the Credo travels to Grafenegg where it is performed on 9 September as part of a MacMillan residency at the festival; the French premiere is scheduled for 26 February 2013 and the Dutch premiere will follow at De Doelen Concert Hall in Rotterdam in a future season.

Winner announced for the Choir & Organ Composition Competition 2012

16 July 2012

2012 winner Seán Doherty
2012 winner Seán Doherty

Seán Doherty, 25, has won the Choir & Organ Composition Competition 2012 with his setting of Blessed be that Maid Marie. 

Doherty, originally from Derry, Northern Ireland, read music at St John's College, Cambridge before undertaking a PhD at Trinity College, Dublin. Though his PhD research concerned music theory in 17th-century England, Seán has also continued to compose. He won the St Giles' Cathedral Edinburgh Anthem Competition 2012, the Jerome Hynes Composition Competition in 2011, and is a two-time winner of the Feis Ceoil Choral Composition Competition, as well having received various other choral commissions. His passion for choral music stems from singing in Codetta chamber choir, the chapel choir of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, and the choir of St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin.

The jury for this year’s competition comprised David Halls, Sarah Baldock, Andrew Lumsden (directors of music at Salisbury, Chichester and Winchester Cathedrals) and choral composer and conductor Bob Chilcott.

The premiere of the winning piece will be given by the Choir of Salisbury Cathedral, directed by David Halls, at the Christmas Carol Service on Friday 21 Dec, 7pm and Sunday 23 Dec, 5pm.

Contemporary Swedish Twist for Schulich Music School

16 July 2012

Hans-Ola Ericsson: Named as the new Performance Area Chair and Professor of Organ and Church Music
Hans-Ola Ericsson: Named as the new Performance Area Chair and Professor of Organ and Church Music

Swedish pedagogue, organist and composer Hans-Ola Ericsson is to succeed Prof. John Grew as Performance Area Chair and Professor of Organ and Church Music at the Schulich School of Music of McGill University in Montreal, Canada.

A former pupil of Nono and Messiaen, with whom he later worked, Ericsson has an international reputation as a lecturer and performer of contemporary music; his extensive recordings include the complete organ works of Messiaen and have earned him four Swedish Gramophone Prizes.

Ericsson’s teaching engagements have included Piteå in the north of Sweden, where he chaired the Church Music and Organ department, and Darmstadt, Bremen, Riga, Copenhagen, Helsinki and Amsterdam; he was Principal Guest Organist of the Lahti Organ Festival, Finland, and from 2005 artistic consultant for the Bodø International Organ Festival in Norway.

During his 29 years at McGill, Prof. Grew built a reputation for excellence in his department. He established the university’s Early Music programme, the largest of its kind in Canada, and collaborated with Helmuth Wolff in planning the French classical organ at Redpath Hall, one of the most important concert venues in Montreal. 

Concerts at Edinburgh Festival mark Delphian Records tenth birthday

16 July 2012

Edinburgh: Delphian Records are celebrating their tenth anniversary as part of the Fringe Festival
Edinburgh: Delphian Records are celebrating their tenth anniversary as part of the Fringe Festival

Scottish label Delphian Records is celebrating the tenth anniversary of its first release with a series of concerts at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Between 5 Aug and 29 Aug, nine of its recorded artists – including John Kitchen and the choirs of St Mary’s Cathedral and Merton College, Oxford – will present music spanning five centuries in venues around the city.

Delphian Records was founded in 2000 by University of Edinburgh graduates Paul Baxter and Kevin Findlan to promote music created in Scotland. Since its first CD was released in 2002, the label has developed a unique catalogue of music which focuses on both contemporary and classical chamber music, choral, vocal, and instrumental work.

As the inspiration for founding Delphian Records, the Edinburgh International Fringe Festival is an appropriate event for the celebrations to take place. Delphian’s series includes:

8 Aug, St Cecilia’s Hall, Cowgate: John Kitchen plays music from the age of Louis XV on the 1769 Taskin harpsichord, celebrating the release of his new CD.
13 Aug, St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral: The Choir of Merton College, Oxford, directed by Benjamin Nicholas. The choir, established in 2008, is formed of 30 under- and postgraduate students from Oxford. They have toured France and the USA with performances of Bach and Mozart. 
24 Aug, St Mary’s Cathedral: a concert of music by Gabriel Jackson. The composer is marking his 50th birthday with a new disc of choral music recorded by the Choir of St Mary’s Cathedral. 
29 Aug, St Mary’s Cathedral: a candlelit recital by The Marian Consort, with works from Byrd, Robert White, Regnart and Isaac.

Tickets to the concerts cost £6-£12 and are available from the Fringe box office (0131 226 0000).

Choristers of The Chapel Royal take part in Practice-A-Thon

5 July 2012

Choristers are taking part in a two-week Practice-A-Thon
Choristers are taking part in a two-week Practice-A-Thon

Choristers of The Chapel Royal, Hampton Court Palace, are taking part in a sponsored practice to raise funds for the Choral Foundation. The Practice-A-Thon involves them in practising their voice or instruments for 15 minutes every day over a two-week period.

The challenge began on 30 June and culminates in a concert on 14 July, with current and former choristers performing in the Palace’s Chapel Royal from 10am to 5.30pm in a variety of vocal and instrumental solos and ensembles. The event is free and open to the public.

The Choral Foundation has been aiming to raise £1.5 million, half of which has been already met by donations from parishioners and the public. The money raised will go toward training the choirboys and funding the Gentleman singers. There are also hopes to restore the chapel’s organ: built by Christopher Schrider in 1711-12, it has seen modernisations take place over the years, including substantial improvements made in 1993.

Schrider was the son-in-law of royal organ builder ‘Father’ Smith, who was commissioned in 1690 to build the Chapel Royal’s organ, but his work was destroyed by a fire before its installation.

Chapel Royal Chaplain Canon Denis Mulliner said: ‘The public are most welcome to attend the services on any Sunday, as well as Holy Days. Worshippers do not pay the Palace entrance fee. The Chapel Royal is a hidden treasure, a living, vibrant church with an outstanding choir at the centre of an historic royal palace.  We would like to share this with as many visitors as possible.’

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