All this extra practice time….

March 19, 2020

As Covid-19 shuts down concert halls, schools and churches, RCO colleagues suggest ways in which the spare time created in musicians' lives can be used constructively, with suggestions for practice timetables, repertoire, and building new skills for the future.

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A wealth of notable instruments for the IAO Festival in Edinburgh this July

February 3, 2020

The City of Edinburgh is the venue for this year's Incorporated Association of Organists' Festival, taking place over a long weekend from 24th-28th July.  'The Festival was last held here in 1994, and a number of notable instruments have been built, remodelled or restored since then, so a return visit is overdue!' says IAO President, John Kitchen. StopPress looks in detail at the instruments and events on offer.

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In memory of W T Best: The Musicians’ Company Award for Organists

January 29, 2020

Over sixty years ago, the Musicians' Company, one of the historic livery companies of the City of London, inaugurated a scholarship in memory of the great Victorian concert organist, W T Best. This year the award has been renamed The Musicians' Company Award for Organists, and candidates between the ages of 18 and 26 are invited to apply: the deadline for this is the end of February 2020.

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The English Organ – a musical and social history from Fugue State Films

December 6, 2019

Like any cultural or technological artefact, the organ represents its time and the people who built it. A new feature length documentary by Fugue State Films traces the history and development of the organ and its music from c1550 to the present.

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La Revolte storms through Westminster Cathedral

November 29, 2019

Jean Guillou was a composer, improviser and performer frustrated by the lack of vision for the future of the organ as an instrument. His thoughts on how the organ could develop outside of the church and religion led to a remarkable 25-minute piece La revolte des orgues, which was given its UK premiere this month in Westminster Cathedral, as part of a nine-organ extravaganza, presented by the Cathedral in association with the RCO and Viscount Classical Organs.

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So what does an organ consultant actually do?

November 19, 2019

Because pipe organs are so long-lived, the need to commission a new one, or renovate an old one, doesn't arise very often.  However when work is needed, an adviser is required with answers to all the ensuing musical, technical, acoustical, architectural and historical questions. The Association of Independent Organ Advisers (AIOA) exists to provide and accredit these experienced specialists. Organist Tom Bell talks about his own organ consultancy work towards becoming an accredited AIOA member.

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Nine organs, one concert: La Revolte des Orgues at Westminster Cathedral

October 23, 2019

Performers from six European countries will come together in Westminster Cathedral on 20th November, to perform the UK premiere of Jean Guillou's spectacular La Révolte des Orgues, a 25-minute piece for percussion, and no fewer than nine organs.  Some of the musicians have played La Révolte before, but not all, and rehearsal time is limited, starting on 17th November, when Viscount Organs will install seven digital instruments, to add to the Cathedral's Apse and Grand pipe organs.

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Improve your conducting skills with top choral trainer David Hill

October 8, 2019

If, like many organists, you are already leading a choir, but feel diffident about your conducting technique, then join an exceptional RCO choir training workshop coming up in November.  David Hill, one of the country's leading choral trainers, will be directing a day workshop on choral conducting on Saturday 2nd November, in St Mary's Church in Newark. Experienced choral conductors will have the opportunity to take their conducting skills to the next level, and there are plenty of places for observers.

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Young Hungarian organist wins Northern Ireland competition

September 30, 2019

Ivan-Bogdan Reincke, 21, from Hungary has won first prize in the Northern Ireland International Organ Competition (NIIOC), held at St Patrick’s Church of Ireland Cathedral, Armagh, in August this year. This is the ninth year of the NIIOC, and this year competitors came from the USA and Australia for the first time, as well as six European countries.

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RCO students explore the Cavaille-Coll organs of Paris

September 20, 2019

This year's RCO study trip was focused around organ music of the French Romantic period, in particular the music of Jean Langlais and Oliver Messiaen.  Twelve RCO students, led by RCO tutor Richard Brasier, visited four churches in the center of Paris over several days in June, to play on instruments by the builder Aristide Cavaillé-Coll.  Rachel Pickering was one of these students, and she sent us this account of the trip.

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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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