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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

Nicholas Danby Scholarship goes to Richard Brasier

29 June 2011

The Nicholas Danby Trust has announced that the 2011 Scholarship has been awarded to Richard Brasier. The £6,000 per annum scholarship is awarded biennially to a postgraduate organ student of exceptional promise, enabling them to undertake conservatoire study outside his or her own country for up to two years.

The award was announced prior to Olivier Latry’s recital at Southwark Cathedral last Thursday (23 June), and Richard was introduced to people at a reception which followed the concert.

Richard will be using the scholarship to undertake a two-year course at the Cologne Musikhochschule, where he will study with Johannes Geffert. Richard, who began his musical training on the piano aged 10, gave his first recital aged 16, just one year after he took up the organ. Prior to taking up a place at the Royal Academy of Music to study with David Titterington and Nicolas Kynaston, Richard spent a year as organ scholar Chelmsford Cathedral and two years as assistant organist at St Alfege Parish Church, Greenwich. He is currently organ scholar at St Marylebone Parish Church in central London and organist of Marylebone School for Girls. His work includes teaching instrumental and theoretical music and accompanying. More recently, he has formed a partnership with fellow RAM student and trumpeter Nathan Richards, performing both original repertoire and arrangements of instrumental works.

Each Nicholas Danby organ scholar benefits from the advice and aid of the trustees. Current trustees are: Stephen Turvey, Margaret Danby, James O’Donnell, Patrick Russill, Catherine Ennis, Peter Wright, Barry Woodman and Mary Danby Calvert.

Richard Brasier's website

CHOIR & ORGAN DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTIONS NOW AVAILABLE

23 June 2011

Choir & Organ is now available as a digital subscription and as an app for the iPad and iPhone.

Digital subscriptions cost £20.99 for 6 issues and are available through distributor PocketMags here.

The Choir & Organ app for iPhone and iPad can be downloaded for £1.99 here, and comes with one free issue of the purchaser's choice: further single issues or subscriptions may be purchased within the app.

Digital back issues are also available for download at the PocketMags site, costing £3.99 each, £10.00 for three.

C&O digital subscriptions and back issues at PocketMags

C&O apps at iTunes

Registration now open for 2011 Isle of Man Festival of Choirs

27 May 2011

For the second year running, Isle of Man Tourism is hosting the Isle of Man Festival of Choirs. The competition is to be held in the Villa Marina on 24 and 25 September 2011.

The Festival is divided into separated into three categories: ladies’, male and mixed voice choirs, with the first two in each section receiving prizes of £500 and £200 respectively. Each choir must perform three contrasting pieces, on of which must be unaccompanied. The winners in each category will then be put through to a final with a possible winnings of £1,500.

There are plenty of other things to do in the Isle of Man while you’re there: local attractions and countryside a-plenty. Home to the Celts, Vikings and the oldest continuous parliament in the world, the Isle of Man is steeped in history, and choirs can enjoy visiting the many Manx National Heritage sites dotted around the Island.

Each choir must pay an entry fee of £25. Registration details can be found at visitisleofman.com.
For more information please contact Laura Quinn on 01624 644644 or email laura.quinn@gov.im

Vehicles for prayer

26 May 2011

Zachary Wadsworth receives his prize
Zachary Wadsworth receives his prize© John Mitchell

The finals of the King James Bible Composition Awards were held in the Temple Church, London, on 17 May, compèred by British TV and radio presenter Katie Derham. The competition invited composers to write a setting of words from the King James Bible to celebrate its 400th anniversary this year. Category A was for less experienced choirs of up to 4 parts and keyboard; Category B, for experienced choirs of up to 8 parts with or without organ.

Principal adjudicator for Category A, Bob Chilcott, commented, ‘The general quality was very good. What I liked was that the composers chose rather unusual texts. We were looking for something that would have a precise shape – people need to understand it immediately. The compositional intent was very high.’ The category was won by Wiltshire schoolteacher Christopher Totney with The Mystery of Christ, setting texts from Isaiah, Revelation and Colossians; arpeggios in the piano part evoke the ‘water of life’, explained the composer. Chilcott described it as ‘having an attractive shape and sound; I could see it being sung by many different choirs.’

James MacMillan, principal adjudicator for Category B, said, ‘I was fascinated to see there was a concern by composers that they weren’t just writing concert music. When [the pieces] are done in liturgy, there has to be another kind of purpose – they are a vehicle for prayer.’ This was an important element in what the judges looked for: ‘a sense of time; first and foremost, these works are not for display’. Category B was won by Zachary Wadsworth’s Out of the South Cometh the Whirlwind, a work of almost epic proportions setting lines from the book of Job charting a trajectory from doubt toward belief. Wadsworth, a graduate of Eastman School of Music and Yale University, is pursuing a DMA in composition at Cornell University. He had flown over from Canada to hear the finals, completely unaware that his piece was to win the category. After the presentation of the awards, he described himself as ‘completely shocked! I'm deeply honoured to have been chosen as the winner, especially given the wonderful compositions of my peers. It was also quite amazing to meet so many people who have greatly contributed to the choral and vocal worlds! I was star-struck.’

The four shortlisted anthems in each of the two categories were performed by the Royal College of Music Junior Department Chamber Choir conducted by Joy Hill, with Daniel Moult at the organ and piano. Choir member Rosanna Cooper enthused, ‘I was brilliant to hear what composers of our own age did with the words and the music… the winning piece [of category B] had our vote from the beginning.’

www.kingjamesbibletrust.org

New Organ School for Dorset

26 May 2011

The all-new Škrabl organ
The all-new Škrabl organ

A serendipitous gathering of musical and organisational talent in the Dorset town of Lyme Regis has spawned an Organ School centred on the church of St Michael the Archangel, and its new Škrabl organ.

The idea of the organ school was conceived by Andrew Nicholson, who runs a bell-hanging firm (and who spearheaded the Appeal for the new organ), and Dr Richard Godfrey, a retired hospital consultant and prize-winning organ teacher with extensive experience from the Salisbury Diocese’s Pipe-Up! scheme in Dorchester.

With generous start-up support from the Tindall Trust, the School aims to be largely self-financing and will operate as a non-profit making trust overseen by Nicholson, the Ven Paul Taylor, Archdeacon of Sherborne, David Bruce-Payne and administrator Desmond Chaffey.

St Michael's Anton Škrabl organ replaced a worn out Hele organ built for St Mary Major, Exeter in 1907, and transferred to Lyme in 1939.  The III/41 mechanical action organ arrived from the factory in Slovenia in September 2009, and the installation was completed after three-months of building and voicing. The local community raised £300,000 towards the cost over a five-year period.

A three-day Winter Workshop which attracted 21 participants from as far afield as Cornwall and Kent last February has now been made an annual event, and the School's plans for the summer and autumn include a technical workshop offering tips on playing the organ with Richard Godfrey (11 June); promenade recitals run throughout the summer with Richard Godfrey (3 July), Alastair Simpson (trombone/organ 10 July), Paul Handscomb (17 July), Peter Dillstone (24 July); Linda Nicholson (31 July); Graham Davies (7 Aug), Polina Gerasimenko (piano - 14 Aug), Alison Davies and Alex Davies (saxophone and organ, 21 Aug); organ masterclasses include 'Stylistic Interpretation and Technique' with Anne Marsden-Thomas (8 Oct) and Liturgical Accompaniment with David Bruce-Payne (26 Nov).

www.lymeregisorganschool.org


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