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.

Pull out all the stops

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

Latest News

Choral conducting open masterclass

25 August 2011

Paul Brough is giving an open choral conducting masterclass on 19 September at the Royal Academy of Music in London. Brough, an RAM alumnus and now a professor, will coach RAM students as they conduct the BBC Singers. 

The masterclass (10.30am–1pm and 2pm–3.45pm) will be followed by an informal concert at 4pm.

 Admission is free, and no tickets are required.

The BBC Singers are giving the Scottish premiere of James MacMillan's St John Passion on 29 September in City Halls, Glasgow, with Mark Stone taking the part of Christ.

Fiery start to inaugural Northern Ireland International Organ Competition

25 August 2011

Ben Comeau, from Truro Cathedral (second from right), winner of the senior category of the Northern Ireland International organ Competition, with judges (left to right)  Colm Carey, Thierry Mechler and David Hill

The senior section of the inaugural Northern Ireland International Organ Competition (NIIOC), held in Armagh on 22–23 August, was won by Ben Comeau (18) from Truro. Described by jury chairman Thierry Mechler as ‘a fantastic player and a real musician’, Comeau is a former chorister of Truro Cathedral and is about to take up an organ scholarship at Girton College, Cambridge. His NIIOC programme consisted of J.S. Bach’s Trio Sonata no.4 in E minor BWV 528, and part of his own transcription of Stravinsky’s The Firebird. The jury felt that his performance revealed ‘brilliance and profound musicianship’.

The NIIOC was launched this year in association with the Charles Wood Summer School. It is the only competition in the UK and Ireland to cater specifically for accomplished organists aged 21 and under. With a prize of £1,000 and recitals in Belfast, Dublin and Trinity College, Cambridge, the senior section for organists of post-Grade 8 standard attracted 15 entrants from cathedrals, schools and conservatoires around the UK and Ireland.  Second place went to Benjamin Bloor from St George’s Chapel, Windsor, and third place to Ghislaine Reece-Trapp of Guildford Cathedral. Richard Gowers from Eton College was highly commended for his performance of the Toccata by his grandfather, Patrick Gowers.


The intermediate competition for players at Grades 6-8 was won by Donal McCann (12), a chorister at St Peter’s R.C. Cathedral, Belfast, and the junior competition for Grades 4 & 5 by Killian Farrell, 17, from Dublin.

According to chair Richard Yarr, NIIOC came about as a response to demand from local organists who wanted to encourage, challenge and celebrate the talents of young performers in a competitive environment.  Thierry Mechler’s fellow judges were Belfast City Organist Colm Carey, and David Hill, chief conductor of the BBC Singers, who told C&O that NIIOC provided an excellent stepping-stone into the world of competitions for young performers who would get lost in a bigger event with a higher age limit.

Chorister support

25 July 2011

Choristers at Gloucester Cathedral receive support from the Friends of Cathedral Music

A donation of £10,000 has been made to Gloucester Cathedral to support the Friends of Cathedral Music (FCM) Chorister scheme. after Evensong on 10 July 2011 by the Friends of Cathedral Music (FCM) to support the FCM Chorister scheme. FCM secretary Roger Bishton presented the cheque to the cathedral’s Dean, the Very Reverend Stephen Lake, after Evensong on 10 July.


The Dean responded: ‘Music is at the heart of so much that we do here at Gloucester Cathedral, and the ongoing support we receive from the Friends of Cathedral Music means a great deal to us. Choral scholarships are important, as they enable our talented young singers to further their musical development.’


Roger Bishton commented: ‘The opportunity to support a choral scholar and to strengthen the musical talent which already exists is something FCM regards as worthy of support and meets our objectives in safeguarding the priceless heritage of cathedral music in Britain.’


The choir of Gloucester Cathedral will take part in the famous Three Choirs Festival, this year in Worcester, from Saturday 6 August.


Crowdfunding raises £80,000 for The Organs of Cavaillé-Coll

25 July 2011

The organ in Saint-Ouen, Rouen, will feature on a new DVD about Cavaillé-Coll

In just three months, Fugue State Films has raised £80,000 for a full-length documentary film about 19th-century organ builder Aristide Cavaillé-Coll. The money was raised by 419 funders, who donated sums between £45 and £10,000; Fugue State Films has invested £40,000.

The Organs of Cavaillé-Coll, which will begin filming on 12 September in Saint-Ouen, Rouen, is the most significant crowd-funded film about classical music. It marks both the 200th anniversary of Cavaillé-Coll’s birth and the forthcoming 150th anniversary of his organ at Saint-Sulpice, Paris. Presented by English organist Gerard Brooks, it will include interviews with and performances by famous French organists and scholars.

Will Fraser of Fugue State Films commented: ‘We’ve raised £80,000 in three months. Crowdfunding was straightforward and fun, and easier than trying to raise that amount of money from a broadcaster or a cultural organisation. We now have complete freedom to make the film we want to, and it will be our biggest and most important production thus far. We look forward to using crowdfunding again on our next project.’

Full details can be found at

International Organ Competition at St Albans: The Winners

18 July 2011

David Baskeyfield, who has won the Interpretation Competition and the Audience Prize at the International Organ Festival of St Albans 2011

The Interpretation Competition of the International Organ Festival at St Albans was won on Friday night by David Baskeyfield (UK); the Improvisation Competition was won by Paul Goussot (France).

In the finals Baskeyfield beat Steven Grahl (UK), Ka Young Lee (South Korea) and Simone Vebber (Italy) to take the coveted prize. The set work – André Isoir's Variations on a Huguenot Psalm – gave the opportunity for each organist to demonstrate a wide range of tone colours available on the Cathedral's 1962/2009 Harrison & Harrison organ. The last of the finalists to perform – beginning his 45-minute recital at 10pm – Baskeyfield said afterwards that he had chosen his programme bearing in mind that the audience would already have hear a lot of organ music and would probably be tired. So alongside the bigger works of Bach's A minor Prelude & Fugue, BWV 543 and the final movement from Vierne's Organ Symphony no.6, the audience heard the elegantly ornamented Mozart Andante in F, KV616, and the delicate filigree writing of Vierne's Naïades from Pièces de Fantaisie. His performance was so well received that he was also awarded the Audience Prize.

Baskeyfield is having a successful year, having already come second in Pipeworks, the Dublin International Organ Competition, last month. He is a currently a doctoral student at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York.
The three finalists in the Improvisation Competition – Goussot, Samuel Liégeon (France) and Erik Kolind (Denmark) – were presented with themes composed by Loïc Mallié from which they improvised a three-movement symphony of 20 minutes. Goussot is titulaire of the Dom Bedos organ at the Abbey of Ste-Croix, Bordeaux, and a harpsichord professor at the Conservatoire of Chaville.

Other prizes were awarded to: Simone Vebber (the Peter Hurford Prize for the best performance of a work by JS Bach); Kyle Babin (the Douglas May Award for his performance of Thierry Escaich's Ground II for organ and percussion); and Ka Young Lee, who was runner-up in the Interpretation Competition, also won the prize for the best performance of the Commissioned Work, John McCabe's Esperanza

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