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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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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