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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

Peterborough Cathedral’s music director takes prestigious post at University of Oxford

18 March 2014

Robert Quinney to depart from Peterborough Cathedral
Robert Quinney to depart from Peterborough CathedralEric Richmond

The director of music at Peterborough Cathedral, Robert Quinney, has been appointed as organist and tutorial fellow in music at New College, Oxford, and as a lecturer in the University of Oxford Music Faculty.

Undertaking this prestigious position will see Quinney succeed Professor Edward Higginbottom who has held the role for 37 years.

Quinney, who began working at Peterborough Cathedral in Easter 2013, said of his departure: ‘Whilst I am very sad to be leaving Peterborough Cathedral after such a short time, when I was invited to apply for the appointment at New College I knew that a position such as this comes up only once in a generation. 

‘Peterborough Cathedral is a place with tremendous potential, borne of a real commitment to high musical and liturgical standards. It has been a tremendous pleasure to work here, with so many talented colleagues and such a supportive community, and I will continue to devote all my energies to the development of the cathedral’s music in the time left before we move. I have no doubt that an excellent field of candidates will be attracted to the post.’

The Dean, the Very Revd Charles Taylor, said that it was ‘very sad to be losing Robert after so short a time’. But reflected on Quinney’s achievements during his time at the cathedral: ‘Already he has made a significant contribution to the continuing development of music here at the cathedral and in the city. His recent live broadcasts on BBC Radio 3 were widely acclaimed throughout the region. 
‘We are of course pleased for Robert and actually quite proud that Peterborough has proved to be a springboard to such a significant job in the musical world. We wish him and his family every blessing as they prepare for the move. Meanwhile we look forward to continuing to work with Robert as he puts his energies into the development of the music and life of the cathedral.’

BBC Radio 3 to broadcast New Music partnership premieres 

14 February 2014

Following Choir & Organ's New Music partnership with the BBC Singers in 2013, the concert of premieres that took place on 28 January in St Paul's Knightsbridge will now be broadcast over 4 days on BBC Radio 3 during the week beginning 3 March, as per below (with approx. times): 

Monday 3 March

Anne-Marie O’Farrell: Skimming Stones
BBC Singers / Matthew Hamilton (dir)

Anthony Fort: Firewalk
James McVinnie (organ)

Catch up now at www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03wpqg1

Tuesday 4 March
Rubens Askenar: Cuerpos Futuros
BBC Singers / Matthew Hamilton (dir)

Catch up now at www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03wpthd

Wednesday 5 March
Mantas Savickis: All nature has a feeling
BBC Singers / Matthew Hamilton (dir)

David Loxley-Blount: Sonus Repercussus
(winning entry in the 2013 Choir & Organ Composition Competition, held in partnership with the St Albans International Organ Festival)
James McVinnie (organ)

Listen live on BBC Radio 3 – www.bbc.co.uk/radio3

Thursday 6 March
Ben Parker: The Affects of a Butterfly
BBC Singers / Matthew Hamilton (dir)

Listen live on BBC Radio 3 – www.bbc.co.uk/radio3

Musical Feast

22 January 2014

On 7 February at 7.30pm Olivier Latry, organiste titulaire of Notre Dame, Paris, gives a recital in Ripon Cathedral to launch the celebrations and rededication of its refurbished Harrison & Harrison organ.


The IV/59 instrument dates back to 1912. It has been restored and altered at various points during the 20th century and in 2000 the builders added a new, additional, mobile nave console. The most recent work – which included the removal of half an inch of dust on the casework – was carried out by the builders in 2013.


Andrew Bryden, the Cathedral’s director of music, commented, ‘The improvement in the organ’s tone and performance since its refurbishment is impressive. I am delighted to welcome Olivier Latry here to give its official relaunch recital in a programme which will certainly showcase the amazing variety of musical colours which the instrument offers.’


Bryden joins the St Cecilia Orchestra on 8 February for a Gala Concert including Poulenc’s Organ Concerto and Saint-Saëns’s Symphony no.3, conducted by Xenophon Kelsey. And on Sunday 9 February at 10.30am Bishop James Bell will rededicate the organ during the Parish Eucharist.


The celebrations continue with further organ recitals by Ben Horden (14 Feb), Andrew Bryden (21 Feb) and Justin Miller (28 Feb), all at 7.30pm.


Tickets for the Celebrity Recital and Gala Concert are available from the Cathedral Giftshop and the National Centre for Early Music www.ncem.co.uk or tel 01904 658338 (there is a £1 booking charge for online and phone bookings). Accompanied under-16s are free for all these concerts.

Olivier Latry Celebrity Organ Recital tickets: Adult £20, £15; Students: £5

St Cecilia Gala Concert tickets: £16, Concessions £14, Students £5

Other organ recitals in this series: Tickets £8, available from the Cathedral Giftshop or on the door.

The organ builder William Drake has died

22 January 2014

The organ in Christ Church, Spitalfields, currently being restored
The organ in Christ Church, Spitalfields, currently being restored

William Drake, organ builder, died on 11 January. He leaves an opus of notable organs, including recently the organ in the OBE chapel of St Paul’s Cathedral, London.  His colleagues are continuing his work, including the restoration of the important 1735 Richard Bridge organ in Christ Church, Spitalfields, London.

John Norman

Llandaff Cathedral music cuts

7 January 2014

Just five days before Christmas, Llandaff Cathedral carried out its threat to make five professional part-time lay clerks, a part-time choral scholar and the assistant organist redundant, in order to save £45,000 of a projected budget deficit of £80,000. 

The sackings came in the teeth of a six-week campaign to save the professional choir, orchestrated by the Incorporated Society of Musicians, which included fundraising and a petition of over 1,000 signatures. The choir will now consist of boy choristers during the week with a budget to pay adult choristers on an occasional basis for weekend services and special occasions. 

A spokesperson for the Cathedral Chapter said it had considered all the proposals put to it, but 'the new funding arrangement for the choir is the best and most responsible way to secure both its long term future, and the future of the cathedral community as a whole. We fear that the alternative of relying on constant fundraising for one area of our responsibilities would overshadow or diminish support for other pressing needs, such as the fabric of the building, and even then could not guarantee a sustainable long term solution.' The spokesperson added that the choir would strengthen relationships with other musical organisations and develop the complementary roles of the girls' and parish choirs. 

But ISM chief executive Deborah Annetts said, 'Making people redundant the week before Christmas and at the choir's busiest time of year is a shocking decision that will do lasting damage both to the musical life and the reputation of Llandaff Cathedral. ISM head of legal affairs David Abrahams added: 'This is a terrible decision with huge repercussions for the individuals involved and for Llandaff Cathedral. We believe that donations from supporters of the Save Llandaff Choir Campaign and the Choir’s own fundraising plans could have raised the necessary funds to keep these musicians employed.' 

Choral director Suzi Digby OBE joined the chorus of disapproval: 'This is utterly heartbreaking: the Cathedral Chapter must reconsider its options – the importance of choral music, as we have shown time and time again through my Vocal Futures programme – is beyond dispute. Sacking a choir five days before Christmas, denying the younger children the chance to sing with professionals, and refusing to engage in real fundraising to save the choir, beggars belief.'

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