CIOC Festival almost doubles audience numbers for 2015
28 October 2015
The 2015 edition of the Canadian International Organ (CIOC) Festival welcomed more than 3,100 spectators - almost twice the number who attended the last festival in 2013.
The increase in attendance has been attributed to an increased number of events, and collaborations with the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, the Festival des couleurs de l’orgue français and McGill University.
Highlights of the 2015 festival included recitals from organists including Réjean Poirier (Québec), Shen Yuan (China) and Jean Guillou (France); an organ crawl on 17 October (featuring three organs in downtown Montréal); and a masterclass with Jean Guillou on 18 October.
The festival culminated in a gala concert on 16 October at the Notre-Dame Basilica, held in memory of CIOC co-founder Noël Spinelli. The creation of the Spinelli Prize was announced during the event: the inaugural $5000 award will be awarded by the jury in 2017 for the best performance of a work in one of the three competition rounds.
CIOC is devoted to the promotion of organ music in Québec and Canada through outreach activities, concerts and an annual festival held in October each year, during which a competition is held every third year.
Canadian International Organ Competition
Christmas carol concert in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support
28 October 2015
Macmillan Cancer Support is to hold its 2015 Christmas Carol Concert on 3 December in the Guards Chapel, London.
The event will include performances from pianist Janina Fialkowska, baritone Benjamin Appl, accordionist Martynas Levickis, and the London Contemporary Orchestra.
The audience will be invited to join the Royal Military Chapel Choir in singing festive carols, while Dame Diana Rigg, Michael Fox and Jason Isaacs will give readings.
Doors will open at 6.10pm, and the event will begin at 7pm. Tickets cost from £40, with all proceeds going to the charity.
Macmillan Guards Chapel Christmas carol concert
New work for organ and orchestra to receive Liverpool premiere
28 October 2015
Mike Stubbs' concertante for organ and orchestra will receive its premiere at 7.30pm on 14 November in Liverpool's Metropolitan Cathedral.
The work is based on an idea which Stubbs first explored whilst studying with composer Simon Holt, to whom it is dedicated.
Cathedral organist Richard Lea, who will perform the solo part, said of the work: 'As with all Mike's music, this piece seems to me completely original, and contains some really fiery music, maybe a sort of divine madness? To meet the composer, you really do wonder where this stuff comes from. There's also some eccentric and quirky material - I think I know where this comes from....!'
The concert also includes Schubert’s overture to Alfonso und Estrella, his ‘Unfinished’ Symphony, and a selection of choral music by Brahms (including the Schicksalslied).
Tickets cost £10 (concessions £7; under-25s £3). They are unreserved and usually available at the door.
Cathedral concert: 14 November
Shrewsbury Choral Society presents 'The Magnificence of JS Bach'
28 October 2015
Shrewsbury Choral Society is to present an evening of music by Johann Sebastian Bach in Shrewsbury Abbey on 14 November at 7.30pm.
The programme comprises Bach's Magnificat in D major and his cantatas 'Wachet auf, ruft uns die stimme' and 'Meinen Jesum, lass ich Nicht'.
The society will be directed by Martin Charles Cook and joined by Gillian Winstanley (soprano), Helena Cooke (contralto), Peter Bates (tenor) and Damien O'Keefe (bass). The Shrewsbury Sinfonia will provide accompaniment.
Society chairman Thelma Foster said: 'This pre- Christmas concert will be a splendid introduction to the glory of the Christmas season. I am confident that the audience will be thrilled and pleased with the superb programme of music that we will present to provide an evening of pure delight.'
Tickets cost £12 adults (£5 for students and children).
Shrewsbury Choral Society
Winners of Young Choristers of the Year announced
23 October 2015
Agatha Pethers and Angus Benton
Angus Benton, 11, from Winchester College Chapel, and Agatha Pethers, 14, from St Catharine's College Chapel, Cambridge, have been named as the winners of the 2015 Radio 2 Young Choristers of the Year competition.
Benton and Pethers each received a trophy and £500 worth of singing lessons. They will also have the opportunity to take part in a range of radio and television programmes over the year for BBC Religion and Ethics, in addition to wider BBC engagements.
Pethers said of her success: 'On the one hand, the competition aspect was a bit nerve-wracking - the others all sounded very good. On the other hand, the performance aspect felt very natural. This was partly because the acoustic of St Martin-in-the-Fields is quite similar to Catz Chapel.
'I think singing services every week (as I’ve been lucky enough to have done now for seven years) is a great preparation. Dr Wickham’s got us used to singing like we only have one chance to get it right, while knowing there’s always next week. It helps us focus, concentrating on getting things right, rather than worrying about getting them wrong.'
The grand finale of this year's competition took place at St Martin-in-the-Fields, London. Eight contestants from around the UK performed in front of a panel comprising choral director Suzi Digby, choral director and arranger Simon Lole, singer-songwriter Dionne Bromfield, and chaired by composer John Rutter.
Simon Lole said: 'It never ceases to amaze me how these young choristers produce such incredibly musical performances, year after year, under such pressure. The standard in 2015 has been really excellent and we have two very worthy winners who will carry the beacon of young choristers everywhere for the next twelve months. Choral music is clearly still very much alive and kicking!'
Jury chair John Rutter said: 'Another stellar competition this year, with an amazing group of finalists, two worthy winners, and a lovely warm supportive atmosphere in the audience. It's always a joy to be involved with this competition, which celebrates the huge contribution made by young people to choral singing in our nation - something to be proud of.'
Past winners have appeared on radio and television, received recording contracts, performed in West End musicals and sung with leading vocal ensembles.
Young Chorister of the Year 2015
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