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

Latest News

Choir & Organ Composition Competition 2014 – Results

23 July 2014

Seán Doherty has won the Choir & Organ Composition Competition 2014, held in partnership with Merton College, Oxford, with his carol A Nywe Werk. Doherty declared himself ‘delighted’ to have won: ‘The opportunity to enter, with these jury members, was too good to miss.’    

Entrants were asked to submit an Advent or Christmas carol for up to 8-voice unaccompanied choir (SATB div) of a suitable standard for the Choir of Merton College, and to a text of the composer’s choice. Doherty wrote an energetic SSAATTBB unaccompanied setting of the text of an anonymous 15th-century carol in the Selden manuscript: ‘A nywe werk is come on honed’ (A new work is come on hand).   

Doherty, from Derry in Northern Ireland, studied at St John’s College, Cambridge, before engaging in postgraduate research at Trinity College, University of Dublin. Commissions have included a short opera, Number Seven, for the 2012 Cultural Olympiad, and a choral work, Doire, to celebrate Derry/Londonderry City of Culture 2013.   

A distinguished jury of Benjamin Nicholas (Reed Rubin Organist and Director of Music of Merton College, Oxford), Simon Halsey (chief conductor of the Berlin Radio Choir, chorus director of the CBSO Chorus, and choral director of the LSO and Chorus), Donald Nally (director of The Crossing, and professor at Northwestern University), Meurig Bowen (artistic director, Cheltenham Festival) and Matthew Martin (composer) chose Doherty’s piece from a total of 27 entries sent from France, Germany, Poland, the US, and the UK. Runner-up was Balulalow by Edward Nesbit, and third equal were John Wadsworth’s A baby is a harmless thing, and Shine Forth by Barnaby Martin.   

Seán Doherty wins a prize of £1,000 and will be interviewed in the November/December 2014 issue of Choir & Organ. The premiere of A Nywe Werk will be given by the Choir of Merton College, Oxford, directed by Benjamin Nicholas, on 4 December in Merton College Chapel, Oxford. 

Change of date for C&O new music premiere

22 July 2014

The premiere of Gareth Wilson's 'Prologue', in partnership with Merton College Oxford, will now take place on Thursday 30 October at Evensong and not on 12 October as previously advertised.

Choir & Organ’s New Music series is a group of specially commissioned pieces written by some of the most talented young composers around. 

In every issue of Choir & Organ magazine, you’ll find a profile of the composer providing an insight into the new work; the scores, licensed for six months, can be download from www.choirandorgan.com. 

In 2014, our New Music partner is Merton College, Oxford. The Choir of Merton College will give the premieres of our three choral commissions and the winning entry in the Choir & Organ 2014 Composition Competition. All four choral pieces will be included in the Merton Choirbook, being compiled to celebrate the College’s 750th anniversary in 2014. The two organ compositions will be premiered on the new Dobson organ in the College Chapel.

Upcoming premieres:

  • Lucy Pankhurst: DCCL:750, for organ & trumpet in B flat
    9pm, Friday 12 September
  • Gareth Wilson: Prologue – NEW DATE
    Evensong, 6.15pm, Thursday 30 October
  • Advent carol (winner of Choir & Organ Composition Competition 2014)
    5.45pm, Saturday 29 November

Genesis Sixteen appoints first student conductor

18 July 2014

Anna Jones

The Sixteen’s young artists’ scheme, Genesis Sixteen, has announced the appointment of their first student conductor. King's College, Cambridge graduate Robbie Jacobs will be the first to fill the role. Jacobs is currently studying at the Royal Academy of Music for his masters in Choral Conducting.

Jacobs has worked with the London Youth Choir and has travelled to Kigali, Rwanda to do vocal coaching.

In his new role, Jacobs will participate in all four Genesis Sixteen courses during 2014/15 and will conduct some public performances. Speaking of the impact of the Genesis Sixteen on singers, Jacobs said that it has a ‘transformative impact on their musical perspectives and increased the scope of their career aspirations’.

Genesis Sixteen aims to nurture the next generation of ensemble singers. During the course of a year, a series of week-long and weekend courses are led by key figures such as The Sixteen’s founder and conductor Harry Christophers and associate conductor Eamonn Dougan. Those taking part receive group tuition, individual mentoring and are led in masterclasses by vocal experts.

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.

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