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

Spitalfields organ contract signed

2 November 2009

William Drake has signed an agreement with Christ Church Spitalfields, London, to restore its 1735 Richard Bridge organ.

This signing marks a significant stage in rehabilitation of the church, which fell into disrepair during the 20th century but which has been undergoing a major restoration programme since the 1960s and which finally reopened in 2004. The organ, well known for its sound and its magnificent case, is the only large English organ to survive from the age of Handel, but it has not been heard for over half a century: during the building works it was dismantled and kept in store.

Consultant Dr William McVicker commented, 'The organ’s value is immense. It is a remarkable survival of the period and represents a jewel in the crown of Hawksmoor’s masterpiece of Christ Church. But it also represents a missing piece in the jigsaw of 18th-century musical culture.'

William Drake already has an impressive portfolio of historic organ restorations, including Lulworth Castle Chapel, Dorset (1780-5) St Paul, Deptford (c.1745), St Anne, Limehouse (1851) and the Ball Room organ in Buckingham Palace (1818,1855).

The work is estimated to take four years and to cost over £1 million. Support has been pledged from around the world and the Friends of Christ Church Spitalfields, who are managing the project, are raising the remaining funds.

For more information and to support the project please contact +44 (0)20 7859 3035,



27 October 2009

The Oxford Organ Conference will take place on 15–18 April 2010 at Merton College, on the theme of ‘The British Organ in the Twentieth Century and Beyond'. 

This is the last conference of a four-year sequence entitled ‘The Organ in England: Its Music, Technology, and Role through the Second Millennium’, organised by the Betts Fund of the University of Oxford, and the British Institute of Organ Studies. The Royal College of Organists will be holding its spring meeting in Oxford at the same time and some joint events will be included in the Programme.  

300-word proposals for 20-minute papers and lecture-recitals are welcome on any and all relevant topics. The organisers offer the following broad areas as suggestions for possible lines of enquiry, but these are not meant to be limiting:  

  • The organ in musical and artistic culture  
  • The changing sound of the organ from Edwardian to neo-baroque to modern  
  • The rediscovery of the organ case – its form and function   
  • The interest in new organs in historic styles   
  • The presentation of the organ in audio and visual media   
  • Historically informed performance and the organ 
  • Organ Builders   
  • The decline of 19th-century factory builders and the rise of a new generation   
  • The impact of electrical and electronic technology for organ control and sound 
  • The rediscovery of classical principles  Changing attitudes to conserving and treating old organs   
  • The impact of imported organs in the UK  Future clients for future organs   
  • Specific builders 
  • Composers, performers, and teachers
  • Who wrote for the organ and what did they write? 
  • Who performed it? 
  • Who were the prominent teachers, and what was their impact?  
  • Organ builders and organists in association
  • The emergence of amateur and professional associations for organists and organ builders, and their impact   
  • Twentieth-century icons
  • Organs, organists or advisers who reshaped organ culture in the UK 

Abstracts ARE due by 11 December, with responses from the panel of readers by 18 January. For more information, please contact: Dr Katharine Pardee, Betts Scholar in Organ Studies, Director of Chapel Music, Wadham College, University of Oxford

Bringing joy to the world

14 October 2009

A concert tour of Karl Jenkins's most recent two choral works has just been announced, to tie in with the release of his latest EMI recording, Stella natalis, a Christmas themed album released in mid-November.

The five-concert Stella natalis UK tour features Tenebrae and an instrumental ensemble conducted by Jenkins. 
28 November Chelmsford Cathedral (includes world premieres of Stella natalis and Joy to the World)
2 December St Albans Cathedral
4 December Clifton Cathedral Bristol
19 December Banbury St Mary's Church
22 December Norwich Cathedral

Boosey & Hawkes's website gives more information on the new works:
EMI's website includes a video interview with the composer: 
Jenkins is now writing a new Gloria for choir and orchestra, to be premiered by the Really Big Chorus at the Royal Albert Hall on 11 July 2010. 

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.

Richard Hickox Foundation launch

3 September 2009

Courtesy Chandos Records

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:

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:

‘Within a Dream – A Celebration of Richard Hickox’

CHAN 10568(2)

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,, 01206 225 217, 07802 543 883

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