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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Learning during lockdown : 13 harmony from beginner to FRCO…and live looping

August 27, 2020

We are recording our current series of live webinars on harmony for the RCO examination written papers, so they can be viewed on iRCO.  This month's Learning during Lockdown suggests how you could use these, and other resources, to start or continue your studies of harmony, depending on your existing knowledge.   We also introduce live looping, an improvisatory technique from the world of electronic music, which can be creatively applied to the organ.

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Learning during lockdown: 12 resources for organ-only church services

July 30, 2020

Current guidance from the Church of England allows for the organ to be played for communal church services, which recommenced earlier this month.  However there can be no group singing or chanting while worshippers are present, though a single singer or cantor is permissible.  This month's Learning during Lockdown explores options for suitable organ music when the staples of the organist's repertoire—hymns, mass settings, and choral accompaniment— are excluded.

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Hands across the pond – the new AGO/RCO affiliation

July 16, 2020

The College has just announced a new reciprocal agreement with colleagues in the American Guild of Organists, which allows members of either organisation to join the other as affiliate members, and benefit from a range of perks.  We look at the AGO and what it can offer RCO Members, and at other American resources that might be of interest.

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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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