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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Goodbye old friend – the Canterbury organ restoration begins

June 19, 2018

The restoration of the organ at Canterbury Cathedral has begun, with some radical changes to the position of the pipework and console. Harrison & Harrison are working on the creation of new pipework in their Durham workshops, while Viscount Organs discuss the challenges of providing a digital replacement to maintain the musical life of the Cathedral for the next two years.

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Improve your improvisation this Summer

June 5, 2018

If you're finding the requirements to improvise at the organ a bit daunting, or want to take your own skills to the next level, then read about two courses coming up in July which are focussed solely on improvisation for organists of all standards - one with tutor Ansgar Wallenhorst, left. There are also now two improvisation teaching videos to watch here on iRCO, which include exercises and a reading list to download.

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Overcoming the misery of performance anxiety

May 25, 2018

Performance anxiety is common at all levels, and musicians are now catching up with sportsmen and women in acquiring techniques to overcome it. Knowing you're performing way below your capability is immensely frustrating - here are some resources to help your public performances be as good as the ones you produce in private.

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Top opportunity for young organists – registration opens for this year’s Northern Ireland Organ Competition

May 13, 2018

The Northern Ireland International Organ Competition, which takes place between 13th and 15th August in Armagh, has grown into an excellent opportunity for organists age 21 and under. This year there are increased prize funds, and recital opportunities for senior category prize winners at a range of international venues. The competition has been a stepping stone for many young players to establish their careers and take the next step forward. Dame Gillian Weir chairs the jury, and entries for this year close in July.

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A memorable day at Southwark Cathedral – Conferment 2018

March 14, 2018

Last Saturday, in the splendid setting of Southwark Cathedral, the RCO presented Diplomas and Certificates to 49 members of the college who were successful in the examinations in the past year - and for the first time this included the RCO's new qualification, the Certificate of Accredited Membership (CAM). Distinguished guests were awarded the RCO Medal, and Peter Stevens gave the Ede & Ravenscroft recital - pictures of the day's event as it unfolded.

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New Flentrop organ revealed at the Royal College of Music

February 16, 2018

The new Flentrop organ at the Royal College of Music in London is still to have its first proper public appearance, as it were, but already it's gathering appreciative comments from those who've had a chance to play it. Flentrop Orgelbouw have created an instrument with a warm, clear sound that, although it has only 34 stops, is convincing, on its own terms, in French, North German, English, Baroque and Romantic repertoire. Thomas Trotter will give the opening recital on 25th February, to round off an organ festival that celebrates the organ music of composers associated with the College since the time of Parry.

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A Liverpool Father Willis – an instrument for all

February 12, 2018

The Liverpool Blue Coat School has a national treasure in its assembly hall - a 1874-built Father Willis organ. Thanks to support from the National Lottery, the school is developing a project to restore it, to be a focus for music within the school, and also to support a new Blue Coat Organ Scholarship. This scholarship will not only involve the restored Father Willis, but will extend to the use of both the Liverpool Cathedral and Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral organs.

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The organ on film – Will Fraser and Fugue State Films

February 5, 2018

Ten years ago Will Fraser spotted a market for recordings of keyboard instruments, using the global reach of the internet to find their niche market. "I wanted to produce films that you can't find on television, knowing there was an audience which would react when word of them arrived on the web. And out of that, Fugue State Films was born." He talks about the challenges of fundraising and filming Fugue State's acclaimed organ series, especially the recently released box set on Max Reger, their biggest project so far.

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