Commissioning young composers
17 September 2009
An exciting new partnership between the Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge, and Choir & Organ is set to give young composers the opportunity to work with one of the world's leading choirs.
Throughout 2010 St John’s will specify the theme, forces and length of each of C&O’s New Music commissions. Composers will write in consultation with Andrew Nethsingha, the College’s director of music, and the process will be followed in the magazine's regular features. All the premieres will be given by the choir or the organ scholars at St John’s and will be included in the College’s webcasting programme. Scores will continue to be available online for free download for six months. The sixth composition of the year will be the winning entry in C&O’s Composition Competition 2010 (details to appear shortly on our website).
St John’s College, which celebrates its quincentenary in 2011, has had a chapel choir since the 1670s and daily services have been sung ever since. Today the choir has an international reputation for musical excellence; a rich portfolio of recordings, regular tours in north America, and a weekly webcasting programme ensure that its voice is heard worldwide. Regular commissioning ensures a continuing freshness in repertoire alongside the classics of the English cathedral tradition. www.sjcchoir.co.uk
Richard Hickox Foundation launch
3 September 2009
A concert at London’s Barbican Centre on 15 October will see the launch of the Richard Hickox Foundation in memory of the British conductor who died prematurely in November 2008. The London Symphony Chorus with the City of London Sinfonia, conducted by Joseph Cullen and Andrew Litton, will perform works by Elgar, Holst, Vaughan Williams and Britten, reflecting Hickox’s lifelong championing of music by British composers.
Chandos Records will release at the same time a 2CD set of highlights from the 280-plus recordings Hickox made for the company. Proceeds from ‘Within a Dream – A Celebration of the Artistry of Richard Hickox’ will be donated to the Foundation, whose aims are to continue to support the causes close to the late conductor’s heart (see below).
Richard Hickox Foundation concert
Britten: Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes
Elgar: The Music Makers
Holst: The Hymn of Jesus
Vaughan Williams: Toward the Unknown Region
Felicity Palmer (ms), London Symphony Chorus, City of London Sinfonia / Joseph Cullen and Andrew Litton (dirs)
7.30pm, 15 October at Barbican Centre, London
The Richard Hickox Foundation goals are:
- To commission and financially support recordings of British composers, focusing on those of importance who have been neglected by record companies and concert promoters.
- To identify and support young conductors and singers worldwide through grants to enable the appointment of Associate Conductors (known as Richard Hickox Conducting Fellowships) and through grants for concert training for young singers (known as Richard Hickox Singing Fellowships).
- Through grants and other forms of support to encourage performances of British music outside the UK. Richard Hickox pioneered British music from Sydney to San Diego – this objective will maintain the momentum.
- To communicate information about the life and work of Richard Hickox, mainly through a new website: www.richardhickoxfoundation.com
The Richard Hickox Foundation has been set up as a company limited by guarantee (number 6858087) and will be registered as a charity under UK law. For further information, please contact: Stephen Connock MBE, Trustee, The Richard Hickox Foundation, c/o Intermusica, Crystal Wharf, 36 Graham Street, London N1 8GJ. Tel: 07976 382 498; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
‘Within a Dream – A Celebration of Richard Hickox’
Available from Chandos 28 September 2009
Music by Arnold, Bridge, Britten, Delius, Dvořák, Elgar, Grainger, Haydn, Holst, Hummel, William Lloyd Webber, Mendelssohn, Menotti, Schubert, Stanford, Tavener, Vaughan Williams and Verdi
All proceeds will go to The Richard Hickox Foundation.
Further information from: Paul Westcott, Chandos Records, Pwestcott@chandos.net, 01206 225 217, 07802 543 883
First US organ to be built in London
21 August 2009
Richards, Fowkes & Co. have signed a contract to build a new organ for St George's, Hanover Square, in London. The Tennessee-based company, which is only 20 years old, has the distinction of being the first US company to provide an organ in London. The new 3-manual and pedal instrument will be placed inside the historic case, first built in 1726 and later enlarged in the 19th century.
Ralph Richards said he was 'thrilled and honoured' to be awarded the contract in a church of such distinction. The building was designed by John James, an assistant to Christopher Wren, and houses carvings by Grinling Gibbons, a 1724 painting by William Kent, and front windows dating from 1525 by Arnold of Nijmegen. George Frederic Handel was a parishioner for 35 years.
4 August 2009
The Westphalian Organ Competition 2009 – Improvisation runs on 12–14 Nov in Altstädter Nikolaikirche in Bielefeld, Germany. For organists born after 31 December 1971. www.westfaelischer-orgelwettbewerb.de
Deadline: 31 August
The RSCM is calling for submissions for its 2009 Harold Smart Composition Competition. The theme is anthems, under five minutes, for children’s choirs. www.rscm.com/publications/haroldsmart.php
Deadline: 1 October
Details and deadlines for Musica Mundi choral competitions can be found at www.interkultur.com.
Upcoming competitions include the International Organ Competition ‘Organ Without Borders’, on 31 Aug–4 Sep in Luxembourg (www.orgue-dudelange.lu); the Gottfried Silbermann Organ Competition, on 5–20 Sep in Freiberg, Germany (www.silbermann.org); the Mikael Tariverdiev International Competition in Kaliningrad, Russia, on 6–11 Sep (www.organcompetition.ru); the Jordan International Competition in Solo Organ Playing in Columbus, Georgia, on 17–26 Sep (http://jic.colstate.edu); the 2nd Buxtehude Organ Competition, on 26 Sep–4 October in Lübeck, Germany (www.mh-luebeck.de/index.php?id=16297); the Prix d’Orgue Bach de Saint-Pierre-lès-Nemours, on 27 Sep in France (http://orgue77-musique.com); the Marcello Galanti International Organ Competition, on 3–4 Oct in Mondaino, Italy (www.concorsomarcellogalanti.org); the International Organ Competition for the Wiesbaden Bach Prize, on 22–24 Oct in Germany (www.bach-wiesbaden.de/organ_competition.htm); and the International Improvisation Competition Leipzig, on 29 Oct–1 Nov (www.organpromotion.org).
Russian organist scores four-card trick at St Albans
18 July 2009
Konstantin Volostnov took first prize tonight, worth £6,000, in the Interpretation Competition at St Albans. The 29-year-old Russian impressed the jury with his fluid rendition of Bach's Prelude & Fugue in A minor BWV 543, his commanding performance of Reger's Fantasia & Fugue in D minor which exploited the full dynamic range of the instrument, and a scintillating interpretation of Perpetuum Mobile, written by contemporary Russian composer Daniyar Dianov specifically for him. Volostnov succeeded equally in winning over tonight's audience, earning him the Audience Prize of £500; he also took the first Peter Hurford Prize (£1,000) for the best performance of Bach in any round of the competition. Lastly, his performance of Sacrificium, commissioned from John Casken specially for the competition, so impressed a member of the audience that the individual immediately approached festival artistic director David Titterington and offered prize money for it. Volostnov was overwhelmed by the accolades and said his winning the competition was very good for all Russian organists.
A highly convincing performance of 'God's Reward' from Job by fellow Czech composer Petr Eben helped Linda Sitkova to take second prize in the Interpretation Competition (£2,500). Also in the finals were Sarah Kim (Australia), whose Final from Vierne's Symphony no.3 had a sparkling vitality; and Balazs Szabo (Hungary), whose interpretation of Harpe de Marie by Jean-Louis Florentz was nothing short of gripping in its pacing and imaginative use of registration.
The Improvisation Competition was won by Jean-Baptiste Dupont, who joins the line of great French improvisers. His symphonic outworking of 3 themes set by Diana Burrell and Matthew Martin had structure and authority, and his fugal second movement won special admiration. This is the first year the prize money for the Improvisation Competition (£6,000) has matched that for Interpretation, a recognition of the uniqueness of the skills required in this particular discipline. The other two improvisation finalists were Jason Roberts (USA) and Ronny Krippner (Germany)
The final prize of the day, the Douglas May Award of £800, went to Peter Kovats (Hungary) for the best performance of any single piece by a non-prize winner; he was given the award for his performance of Tournemire's Deuxième Fresque Symphonique Sacrée, op.76.