Young Russian wins Choir & Organ Composition Competition 2009
8 June 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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Choruses are good for you: official
2 June 2009
Cheerful: Oklahoma's Canterbury Choral Society
Choral singing is the most popular form of participation in the performing arts for both adults and children in America.
That is one of the findings of a new report from Chorus America, which found that an estimated 32.5 million adults regularly sing in choruses in the US, up from 23.5 million estimated in 2003. When children are included, there are 42.6 million Americans singing in choruses in 2009. More than one in five households have at least one singing family member.
The study also draws links between choral singing and success in life, stating that greater civic involvement, discipline, and teamwork are just a few of the attributes fostered by singing with a choral ensemble.
Among the findings were that choral singers donate 2.5 times more money to philanthropic organisations than the general public; 96% of choral singers surveyed who are eligible voters said they vote regularly in national and local elections, compared with 70% of the general public; and choral singers are at least two times more likely to attend theatre, opera, and orchestra.
Looking at children in choruses, the report said that 71% of parents with singing children felt that the children had become more self-confident; 90% of educators believe singing in a choir can keep some students engaged in school who might otherwise be lost; and children who participate in a chorus get significantly better grades than children who have never sung in a choir – 45% of parents whose children sing state their child receives 'all or mostly A's' in mathematics (compared with 38% of non-choir parents) and 54% get 'all or mostly A's' in English and other language arts classes (43%).
Chorus America chairman Todd Estabrook said: 'The data in this report suggests that it would be a mistake not to leverage the benefits that choruses bring to children, adults, and the communities they serve. Simply put, if you’re searching for a group of talented, engaged, and generous community members, you would do well to start with a chorus.'
The full report and an executive summary are available online at www.chorusamerica.org.
Elton John concert in aid of a new organ for the Royal Academy of Music
28 May 2009
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
International Organ Festival at St Albans
26 May 2009
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