The Blue Coat School’s success with organ scholarships for teenagers

May 31, 2021

Back in 2018 we reported on a Liverpool school with ambitions for its historic, but neglected school organ. Almost three years on, we can now report on the success of their project not only to completely restore their Father Willis instrument, but to create a system of organ scholarships for teenage organists from the school.

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Anna Hallett inaugurates Young Voices for RCO News

May 28, 2021

Our twice-yearly print publication, RCO News, contains a new series.  We've asked younger members of the College to give us their perspective on learning the organ, and tell us of their concerns as they develop their skills and careers as musicians in the twenty-first century, and teenage organist Anna Hallett has written the first article for us.

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Woman Composer Sunday inspires churches, cathedrals and organists

March 31, 2021

On Sunday 7 March, the eve of International Women's Day, organists (and a few choirs too) took to social media to celebrate Woman Composer Sunday, a joint initiative by the Society of Women Organists and the RCO.  Organists were asked to perform a piece of music by a woman composer that day, and post it to Twitter, Facebook or YouTube. StopPress reports on the inspiring results.

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Winter Conference beats the winter blues

February 25, 2021

The RCO's first-ever Winter Conference this February was devised as the pandemic lockdown continued to prove a barrier to organists and organ enthusiasts getting together in person.  RCO Director Simon Williams decided to build on the experience through 2020 of putting all the major RCO courses online, with a new format - a complete virtual conference, with seminars, presentations, recitals, a keynote speech and a trade show. Over 200 people attended the three day event, including StopPress Editor, Morwenna Campbell-Smith, who writes this report.

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Women composers for the organ celebrated on Woman Composer Sunday

February 11, 2021

An annual celebration of women composers has been launched by the Royal College of Organists and the Society of Women Organists. Sunday 7 March 2021 - the nearest Sunday to International Women’s Day on 8 March – will be celebrated as Woman Composer Sunday. Here on StopPress we have inspiration and wide-ranging resources for organists looking for repertoire by women composers.

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The Scott Brothers Duo introduce children all over Europe to the pipe organ

January 3, 2021

In 2019 the European Cities of Historical Organs (ECHO), an association of nine cities with historic organs in nine EU countries, adjudicated on a competition for a project to introduce children to the organ.  The winners were a pair of British musicians, the Scott Brothers Duo.  Jonathan Scott tells us about their winning project, and how they have been able to continue to work through the Covid-19 lockdown across Europe.

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Learning during lockdown : 16 Advice on conducting orchestras, and the AGO’s journal explored

November 26, 2020

A benefit of our new reciprocal membership arrangement with the American Guild of Organists is free access to their journal The American Organist. We look at the magazine in more detail, and also preview a new addition to our choral and conducting resources on iRCO: two films on working with orchestras from conductor Nicholas Cleobury. 

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Learning during lockdown : 15 Organs and organ building

October 29, 2020

There are of course differences between individual grand pianos, and cellos, and flutes, but of all musicians, organists have to be the most prepared to adapt, often at short notice, to enormous variation in the size, shape and scope of their instrument. This month's Learning during Lockdown focusses on the instrument and its builders, and how all this variety came about.

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Learning during lockdown : 14 Beethoven and the organ

September 23, 2020

Organists really do have something to shout about regarding Beethoven after all, says Richard Brasier, in a new film that is the RCO's contribution to the celebrations around the 250th anniversary of Beethoven's birth this year.  In Learning during Lockdown this month we look at Beethoven's relationship with the organ, and at the wider legacy of organ music from the Classical period.  We also note how two organists took a major role in shaping the content of the live music this year's COVID-constricted BBC Promenade Concerts in the Royal Albert Hall.

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Welcome to StopPress, the RCO blog for organists and choral directors. More about the people behind it here.

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