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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.

Pull out all the stops


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

Latest News

A new organ for Keble College, Oxford

7 July 2009

Kenneth Tickell has signed a contract to build a new organ for Keble College, Oxford.

The college chapel, which houses the original of Holman Hunt’s famous painting The Light of the World, has used an electronic instrument since 1992, after the original William Hill organ fell into serious disrepair. In keeping with its surroundings, Tickell’s new instrument will embrace a Victorian ethos and will incorporate the Hill’s prospect pipes, thought to have been stencilled by the chapel’s architect, William Butterfield.

The new 4-manual tracker organ is planned for completion by Easter 2011, in time for the college’s big festival on St Mark’s Day (25 April), John Keble’s birthday and the anniversary of the opening of the chapel in 1876.

Bart Jacobs wins International Schnitger Organ Competition 2009

27 June 2009

Finalists in the International Schnitger Organ Competition 2009 played the famous Van Hagerbeer/Schnitger instrument in Grote St Laurenskerk, Alkmaar
Finalists in the International Schnitger Organ Competition 2009 played the famous Van Hagerbeer/Schnitger instrument in Grote St Laurenskerk, Alkmaar

Bart Jacobs took first prize last night in the International Schnitger Organ Competition in Alkmaar, the Netherlands. 

The young Belgian made a clear impression on audience and judges in the first round of the competition on 19 June with a programme of Bach played on the famous Van Hagerbeer/Schnitger organ in St Laurens Church. In the second round, on 23 June, he gave a sparkling performance of Sweelinck on the church's 16th-century Van Covelens organ, conveying an evident understanding of structure that eluded some of the other five semi-finalists. Around 130 people gathered to hear the finals last night, as the three competitors who had made it thus far - Bart Jacobs, David Boos (Austria) and Michael Unger (USA) - played a programme of Bach's Passacaglia in C minor BWV582 and a Trio Sonata of choice from BWV525-530, again on the Van Hagerbeer/Schnitger organ.

Jacobs commented afterwards that the thing he most enjoyed about the competition was the Hagerbeer/Schnitger organ: 'It’s unique in the world and I’ve never played it before. But I feel that it is my instrument now. It’s an incredible experience, because in Belgium there are no such instruments, so the opportunity to play these organs is important for me - although winning is very nice too!’ 

Jacobs takes a prize of Euro 5,000; second prize of Euro 2,500 and the audience prize was awarded to Unger, and Boos took the third prize of Euro 1,000. All three finalists go forward to the 2011 Grand Prix d'ECHO competition, organised in conjunction with ECHO partners, Freiberg (Germany) and Innsbruck (Austria), to mark the 500th birthday of the Van Covelens organ.

Commanding recognition

15 June 2009

Simon Preston is awarded a CBE
Simon Preston is awarded a CBE

Dr Stephen Cleobury, director of music at King's College, Cambridge, and international organist Simon Preston have received CBEs in the Queen's birthday honours. 

MBEs were awarded to Gillian Dibden, for services to youth choral music in Berkshire; Glyn Hughes, musical director of the Brymbo Male Choir, for services to music and to charity in North Wales; composer Brian Irvine and Thomas Kerr, both for services to music in Northern Ireland; Mary Parry, for services to the performing arts and to charity in North Wales; John Powell, head of music and performing arts at Davenant Foundation School in, Loughton, Essex, for services to education; and Helen Watkins-Snart, for voluntary service to the Croydon Music Festival.

Young Russian wins Choir & Organ Composition Competition 2009

8 June 2009

Young Russian Katya Kulkova wins Choir & Organ Composition Competition 2009
Young Russian Katya Kulkova wins Choir & Organ Composition Competition 2009

The winner of the Choir & Organ Composition Competition 2009 is Katya Kulkova from Moscow.

Katya’s work Stalactites beat 18 other entries from Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Israel, Italy, Germany, France, UK and USA. Jury member Judith Bingham commented, ‘I liked Stalactites for two main reasons: it was harmonically interesting and consistent (in other words, there was a personal harmonic language that was engaging and not predictable); and it had a coherent and convincing formal structure that was skilful and impressive.’ Birmingham City Organist Thomas Trotter, who was also on the jury, said, ‘The music is written in a very clear, direct way, and the character of the music leaves no doubt in the performer's mind as to how the composer wishes it to sound. This composer knows what they want to say, and it's said in an eloquent and imaginitive way.'

Katya Kulkova is interviewed in the September/October 2009 issue of Choir & Organ. Thomas Trotter will give the premiere of Stalactites in Symphony Hall, Birmingham on 2 November 2009.


Bach marathon in France

8 June 2009

Five organists will play the complete organ works of J.S. Bach in a ten-month programme split between Paris and Toulouse. Beginning on 13 September, Francis Jacob, Bernard Foccroulle, Jan Willen Jansen, Michel Bouvard and Benjamin Alard will give a monthly Sunday recital in the Musée des Augustins in Toulouse, and will repeat it the following Tuesday on the recent Aubertin organ in Saint-Louis-en-l’Ile in Paris. Bach’s works have been grouped together by themes such as ‘Passion and Crucifixion’, ‘In the light of Easter’ and ‘Bach as architect’.

The second recital, on 18 October, concludes the international organ festival Toulouse les Orgues, whose 2009 programme takes the twin themes of homage to the past and movement into the future. ‘Movement’ will be represented literally, as Paris Opéra ballerina Marie-Agnès Gillot performs in Saint-Etienne during the festival’s opening event on 7 October. Anniversaries of Handel and Haydn are of course remembered; more unusual is a recognition of 20 years after the fall of the Berlin wall; and the achievements of Louis Braille, whose alphabet by touch continues to transform so many lives 200 years after his birth, are celebrated in a performance by Marie-Ange and Eric Lebrun of works by blind organists.  The Choeur du Capitale de Toulouse makes its festival debut under its new conductor Alfonso Calani, and Les Sacqueboutiers perform Schütz madrigals and Seven Last Words. Alongside the Toulouse programme are excursions to hear organs in the region.


Complete Organ Works of J.S. Bach

Musée des Augustins, Toulouse and Saint-Louis-en-l’Ile, Paris, 13 September 2009 to 15 June 2010

Tickets: 15 euros (10 euros); season ticket: 100 euros


14th International Festival Toulouse les Orgues

7–18 October, Toulouse and the Midi-Pyrénées region of France


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