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Choir & Organ, cover from current issue

March/April 2014 on sale from 24 February

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

Latest News

Elton John concert in aid of a new organ for the Royal Academy of Music

28 May 2009

Slavko Sereda

Elton John and Ray Cooper are to give a concert in London’s Royal Albert Hall to raise funds for a new organ in Duke’s Hall, the Royal Academy of Music announced today. The concert by Sir Elton and his percussionist colleague Cooper will be compered by actor and comedian Stephen Fry and will also feature British rock star Teddy Thompson and Academy students. 

Sir Elton was a Junior Exhibitioner at the Royal Academy of Music and commented that the training he received was ‘vitally important’ to the development of his musical career. He has already supported students there since 2002 through the Elton John Scholarship Fund; this concert will now help his alma mater to buy and install the new organ for the Academy’s principle concert hall.

The Academy’s principal, Professor Jonathan Freeman-Attwood, called Sir Elton’s close association with the institution ‘an inspiration… a supreme advocate for what the Academy represents in British cultural life.’ Head of organ studies David Titterington commented: ‘The extraordinary generosity of Sir Elton John will guarantee future generations of organ students at the Academy a world-class instrument for teaching and the performance of a wide-range of symphonic repertoire. What more could the organ world want, than the support of one of the music legends of our time?’

The concert will be on Tuesday 22 September 2009. Tickets priced from £35 to £175 are on sale from 9am Friday 29 May 2009. Box office 020 7589 8212, www.royalalberthall.com; Ticketmaster 0844 847 2450, www.ticketmaster.co.uk
; See Tickets 0871 2200 260; www.seetickets.co.uk
; Ticketline  08448 889 991, www.ticketline.co.uk

For VIP box packages only, please call Caroline Clark at the Royal Academy of Music: 
020 7873 7333, email c.clark@ram.ac.uk.

For more information on the show please visit 
www.marshall-arts.com / www.eltonjohn.com / www.ram.ac.uk

International Organ Festival at St Albans

26 May 2009

HRH The Duchess of Gloucester will attend the Three Choirs Concert on 13 July, given by the choirs of King’s College Cambridge, Westminster Abbey, and St Albans Cathedral.

A total of 21 young organists from 11 countries have won places in the final rounds of the interpretation and improvisation competitions, competing for a prize fund of over £16,000. They were chosen from a total of 49 applicants from 19 countries by a jury made up of festival founder and president Peter Hurford, artistic director David Titterington, City of Birmingham organist Thomas Trotter and Swiss organist Lionel Rogg.

Included in the line-up are three each from France, Russia, Germany, Hungary and the USA, and others from Switzerland, Korea, the Czech Republic, Australia, Switzerland and Italy. Surprisingly, for the first time no British organists made it through to the first round. Linda Sitkova from the Czech Republic returns to the competition, having won the special Jean Langlais prize at the last one in 2007. The competitions begin on 9 July.

Titterington commented: ‘It was very clear from the 49 recordings screened by the pre-selection jury that the International Organ Competition at St Albans continues to attract the very best young organists from around the world. I am certain from what we have already heard the 2009 competitions will deliver some thrilling performances, especially on the recently restored cathedral organ.’

The International Organ Festival takes place in St Albans on 9–18 July: www.organfestival.com

Orgelfestival Holland

26 May 2009

The application deadline for the Organ Academy on 21–28 June in Alkmaar has been extended to accommodate latecomers.

Open to amateur organists, organ students and professional organists, the Academy welcomes both active and non-active participants. Those interested should contact the festival immediately.

The Academy gives the opportunity to try out the oldest playable organ in the Netherlands, by Jan van Covelens (1511), and the renowned 1645 Van Hagerbeer organ, both in Grote Sint Laurenskerk.

Concert tickets can be bought in advance online; concessions and tickets not listed are only available 45 minutes before the starting-time, at the paydesk of the church concerned.

After 10 June advanced bookings can be made at the tourist office in Alkmaar.

BIOS and RCM form new partnership

26 May 2009

The National Pipe Organ Register is being expanded and made more accessible thanks to a new partnership between the British Institute of Organ Studies and the Royal College of Music in London.

Launched by BIOS in 1987, the NPOR has been in computer-based form since 1991, making available lists of organ specifications, photographs and sound files of historic British organs. More than 1,000 stop-lists are consulted daily by people around the world. The free internet service is now run on the RCM’s computers, at www.npor.org.uk.

A new sound file of organ music played from Adlington Hall, Cheshire, has just been added to the NPOR website to mark the 50th anniversary of the instrument’s restoration by Noel Mander. 

BIOS chairman John Norman says: ‘BIOS is very happy with the enthusiasm of both Paul Banks [RCM professor of performance history] and Nicholas Watkins [RCM head of ICT] to work with us on the future development of this invaluable service. Like all large databases the NPOR has some errors and omissions, and BIOS has a team of skilled volunteers updating the records in response to corrections sent in by interested organists.’

Update information should be sent to manager@npor.bcu.ac.uk. BIOS membership details are available from BIOS-membership@phmusic.co.uk.

Taxing return

26 May 2009

There are question marks over the future of the 1975 Kuhn organ that once sat in Alice Tully Hall, New York. The instrument was removed in 2006 when the hall, part of Lincoln Center, began refurbishments costing US$159 million. The hall reopened in February 2009 without the organ, which remains in store in Argyle, upstate New York. The date for the instrument’s reinstallation has changed several times. A draft contract drawn up between the hall and Kuhn Organ Builders in 2006 specified that the organ was to be returned in October 2008.

Because of construction delays the Center put off reinstallation until summer 2009. In April Lincoln Center told the New York Times that the return date was now mid-2010 because it was too soon ‘to take the hall offline’ and extra time was needed to allow construction dust to settle. However, it conceded that it still did not have the estimated $1 million in funds needed for the reinstallation, although the new date was only a year away.

Kuhn and Lincoln Center told C&O in May that they were in discussion, but refused to comment on the nature of their talks. The Center said it was ‘committed to reinstalling the organ at the appropriate time’ but did not give a date. 

Paul Jacobs, chairman of the Juilliard School’s organ department, fears that the instrument is not a priority for the Center: ‘The delay seems to indicate a lack of a vision. This is particularly unfortunate in light of the fact that numerous other concert halls throughout the United States have added pipe organs in recent years.   ‘The question of funding should have been considered years ago when every other detail concerning the hall was being addressed. Besides, the estimated cost of the organ’s reinstallation is a drop in the ocean compared with the total cost of the hall’s renovation.” 

The organ was a gift from the late arts benefactor Alice Tully, whose foundation contributed $15 million to the hall’s refurbishment. Currently, no other major concert hall in New York has a pipe organ; the 1963 Aeolian-Skinner organ, built for what is now Avery Fisher Hall, was removed in the 1970s.


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