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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

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

Royal School of Church Music reveals recipients of honorary awards for 2014

18 March 2014

Harry Christophers is to be awarded with a fellowship of the RSCM
Harry Christophers is to be awarded with a fellowship of the RSCM

The Royal School of Church Music (RSCM) has announced the recipients of this year’s honorary awards for outstanding contributions to church music.

Harry Christophers, founder and conductor of The Sixteen, is to be awarded with a fellowship of the RSCM for his work of bringing Renaissance church music in particular, back into the churches and cathedrals for which it was written. 

Others who will also be awarded with RSCM fellowships include Dr Stephen Darlington, director of music at Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, recognised for maintaining exemplary daily standards of service and performance; foundation dean of Liverpool Hope University and long-standing member of the RSCM council Dr Ian Sharp; and Professor JR (Dick) Watson, Emeritus Professor of English at Durham University, for his contribution to the editing of hymns.

Andrew Reid, Director of the RSCM says of this year’s honorary awards: ‘These awards are made to those who have given great service to church music, whether through the work of the RSCM, or in a number of other ways. I would like to thank everyone who submitted nominations of those whose contribution at local, area, national or international level too often goes unrecognised. We look forward to celebrating the work of this year’s recipients at our Celebration Day’.  
The Celebration Day for 2014’s winners will take place at Hereford Cathedral on 4 October 2014. Recipients will be presented with their awards by chairman of the RSCM Council Lord Brian Gill. ‘It always gives me great pleasure to personally present these awards,’ Lord Gill says. ‘They are our annual opportunity to honour and thank those who have given distinguished service to the cause of church music and to RSCM in particular.’ 
For the full list of those to receive Honorary Awards from the Royal School of Church Music, visit the website.


Royal Holloway music department celebrates music award with The Queen

18 March 2014

Royal Holloway becomes the first music department to receive a Regius Professorship
Royal Holloway becomes the first music department to receive a Regius Professorship

The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh visited Royal Holloway, University of London on 14 March to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee Regius Professorship of Music, which was awarded by the Queen in 2013.

Twelve Regius Professorships were presented to university departments as part of the Diamond Jubilee, with Professor Julian Johnson awarded the first title of Regius Professor of Music in April 2013. Johnson was head of the department of music from 2010 to 2013.

A ceremony took place to recognise Royal Holloway’s music department’s exceptional standards of teaching and research. A plaque was unveiled by The Queen to mark the visit and Regius Professorship. 

Professor Paul Layzell, principal of Royal Holloway, said of the visit: ‘It was a great honour to have Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh here at Royal Holloway to celebrate the Regius Professorship. We hope she enjoyed her visit here as much as we enjoyed having her.’

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