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ST ALBANS DIAMOND JUBILEE

ST ALBANS INTERNATIONAL ORGAN FESTIVAL (IOF) has announced its programme for 2023.

The 60th edition of the festival in the Hertfordshire city will run from 3-15 July, and will present a combination of concerts and the International Organ Competition.

Visiting artists include The Tallis Scholars in a 50th anniversary programme of works by composers from Byrd, Palestrina and Gombert to Rutter, Pärt and Muhly (6 July). Andrew Lucas conducts St Albans Bach Choir and the Choristers of St Albans Cathedral in Berlioz’s Te Deum, followed by Thomas Trotter performing Saint-Saëns’s Symphony no.3 ‘Organ’ with the Britten Sinfonia under the baton of David Hill (8 July).

Chamber music is provided by tenor James Gilchrist in a recital of 20th-century English song, with Anna Tilbrook (piano) (3 July), and by violinist Rachel Podger with Christopher Glynn (fortepiano) (4 July); pianist and IOF patron Angela Hewitt plays works by J.S. Bach and Schumann’s Sonata no.1 (9 July); and piano quartet Kaleidoscope Chamber Collective (which includes cellist and former BBC Young Musician of the Year Laura van der Heijden) presents works by Fanny Mendelssohn, Mozart, Errollyn Wallen and Dvořák (11 July). And in a different vein, the legendary jazz singer Elaine Delmar is joined by Barry Green (piano) and Simon Thorpe (bass) (10 July).

As the festival’s name suggests, there is no shortage of organ recitals, with four lunchtime Bach Corner programmes in the Cathedral. The competition jury members also give solo recitals as follows: Pieter van Dijk (all-Bach programme, 8 July); Todd Wilson (Widor, Hancock, Bizet arr. Lemare, Conte and Reubke, 9 July); Bine Bryndorf (Couperin, Muffat, J.S. Bach, Krebs and Radulescu, 10 July); Jean-Baptiste Robin (programme to be announced, 13 July); Rie Hiroe (programme to be announced, 14 July); and Franz Danksagmüller (improvising a soundtrack, with live electronics, to the silent horror film Der Golem, 12 July). Master of the King’s Music Judith Weir, who has composed the Interpretation Competition’s commissioned work, is in conversation with festival director David Titterington (1pm, 5 July); and there will be a screening of Organ Stops: Saving the King of Instruments, a one-hour documentary film about the attempts to save pipe organs as churches and other venues across Britain close down (4 July).

Festival director David Titterington told C&O: ‘It is hard to believe that we are celebrating 60 years since Peter Hurford had the idea to set up an organ festival in St Albans. Since then, it has developed considerably and established itself as arguably the pre-eminent competition of its kind in the world. We will be hosting 24 pre-selected competitors from across the world, together with internationally renowned soloists and ensembles performing music from the Renaissance to the 21st century. At the heart of St Albans is the glorious cathedral in which most of the events take place, only 30 minutes from central London. A warm welcome awaits you.’

Tickets are on sale to the general public from 20 April; organfestival.com

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Master of the King’s Music Judith Weir has composed the commissioned work for the Interpretation Competition choirandorgan.com

NEWS IN BRIEF

The US organist and composer Daniel Chorzempa died on 25 Mar at the age of 78. Chorzempa studied music and architecture at the University of Minnesota, then continued his music studies in Cologne. Originally making his name as a pianist , he then turned his focus to the organ. He gave recitals at London’s Royal Festival Hall in 1976 and 2004.

Richard Moore moves to be sub-organist at Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford after Easter 2023, succeeding Benjamin Sheen, who has moved to be director of music at Jesus College, Cambridge. Moore’s successor at Guildford Cathedral will be Asher Oliver.

In its tenth anniversary year, London’s LGBTQ+ chamber choir The Fourth Choir has appointed Jamie Powe as its new music director as from Sep 2023.

Paul Cutts has been appointed CEO of the national charity Sing for Pleasure, which offers choral conducting training, choral courses, and singing education resources.

Daniel Harding has been appointed as music director of the Orchestra and Chorus of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, as from October 2024. He succeeds Antonio Pappano, who will become director emeritus.

The Association of Anglican Musicians has awarded the inaugural BrittenbackMeezan Presidential Award to Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, Auburn, Alabama, and its choirmaster and minister of music, Dr Matthew Hoch. The new award is an annual grant of US$4,000 for small- and mid-sized congregations in the Episcopal Church to encourage the development of skills to enhance worship through music.

Universal Music Group (UMG) has announced the acquisition of the independent British classical label Hyperion Records.

MAY 2023 CHOIR & ORGAN 7

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