Bringing young people to the organ – a European competition

September 28, 2018

Nine European cities with a heritage of historic organs invite entries for a competition to devise an organ-related musical event to bring young people to the instrument. The winning project will be performed at organ festivals around Europe next year, and the deadline for entries is the end of December 2018.

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Father Willis gets the rock-star treatment – Organ Reframed 2018

September 13, 2018

The powerfully Gothic surroundings of James Cubitt's Union Chapel in north London are the setting for the third Organ Reframed this October, where the 1877 Henry Willis organ will star in a festival designed to introduce new artists and new audiences to its versatility. Booking has opened for the only event of its kind in the UK: Organ Reframed focuses on commissioning new music from composers at the contemporary cutting edge to firmly embed a 19th century instrument in the music of the 21st century.

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RCO students survive the long, hot summer of 2018

September 3, 2018

Heat rises, and many organs are in lofts well above ground level, observes Simon Williams - and surviving the heat in the summer of 2018 was just another challenge for students on the two flagship RCO courses in July and August. A report on how students of all ages came away inspired, with pictures.

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A helping hand for the village organist

August 27, 2018

The RCO is running a Village Organists' Workshop in September, for all those parish musicians working in small churches who would like access to support and advice. The workshop welcomes pianists who would like to try the organ under expert guidance, as well as more experienced parish organists who would like to try a larger instrument than usual. It will be held in the glorious setting of the northern Lake District, at St Kentigern's Church.

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The winner of the inaugural IAO/RCO Organ Playing Competition

August 13, 2018

This year's Incorporated Association of Organists (IAO) Music Festival in Peterborough hosted the first IAO/RCO Organ Playing Competition, open to organists between the ages of 18 and 26 years. The finals were held in Peterborough Cathedral, on the last evening of the Festival, with the three competition finalists giving a 40-minute recital in front of adjudicators, Martin Baker, Edward Higginbottom and Steven Grahl.

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Playing Brahms in Berlin

August 6, 2018

The RCO runs study trips abroad - a splendid opportunity to play organ repertoire on the instruments for which it was written. Robbie Carroll went on a recent RCO study trip to Germany, playing Brahms, Reger and Reubke on organs in Berlin, Leipzig and Merseburg. He sent us this personal account of the trip.

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The complete organ works of Messiaen – in a day

July 31, 2018

The Stavanger Konserthus in Norway aims to create innovative programming around its 2012 Ryde & Berg organ, and on 17th November 2018 will present Messiaen Complete - all the organ works of Olivier Messiaen in one day, over 9 hours with 8 international organists. The project combines the formal recital with a more free audience experience, and includes video projection and lighting design by one of the country's leading video designers.

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Organists in an earthquake zone

July 16, 2018

Organists here in the UK have their worries, but coping with the effect of a 6.3 earthquake on their livelihoods isn't one of them. The earthquakes in Christchurch, New Zealand, in 2010 and 2011 damaged and destroyed many churches and pipe organs. But some, due to both circumstances and craftsmanship, survived, and in 2018 they are beginning to be heard again.

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Sara Rothwell – first winner of the Freemasons’ Prize

July 3, 2018

Sara Rothwell studied the organ from the age of 16, but only recently decided to take an RCO Diploma examination - winning both the Freemasons' Prize and a John Birch scholarship in the process. She describes the challenges of taking the exam, and how she prepared for it.

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