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Internationally renowned musicians to perform at York Minster  in a series of Summer Organ Recitals   

17 May, 2023

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Join internationally renowned musicians for a series of summer recitals showcasing world class musicians and York Minster’s spectacular Grand Organ.

The summer recitals will take place on Thursday evenings from 20 July to 24 August and feature world class organists including award-winning performer John Scott Whiteley, Organist Emeritus of York Minster; Katherine Dienes-Williams, the first ever female President of the Cathedral Organists’ Association and the first woman to hold the most senior musical post in a Church of England cathedral; Robert Quinney, Associate Professor, Organist and Tutorial Fellow in Music at the University of Oxford; and experienced cathedral musician Colin Walsh.

Accomplished soloists from York Minster’s own acclaimed Music Team – Robert Sharpe, Director of Music, and Benjamin Morris, Assistant Director of Music, both experienced musicians performing in the UK and abroad – complete the line-up.

The unique sound of York Minster’s magnificent Grand Organ – which returned to use at the cathedral in 2021 following a multi-million pound refurbishment – will be showcased through an exciting and diverse range of music. Highlights include well known and much loved compositions such as Bach’s “Wedge” Prelude & Fugue, Widor’s Sixth Symphony in its entirety, as well as Robert Quinney’s own transcription of Vaughan Williams’ Fifth Symphony. Impressive contemporary pieces from Kerensa Briggs, Ghislaine Reece-Trapp and Philip Moore will showcase the drama and poetry of the instrument.

Robert Sharpe, Director of Music at York Minster said: “I am looking forward to the second series of summer recitals on York Minster’s refurbished Grand Organ and to welcoming our distinguished guest recitalists who have chosen a superb selection of traditional and contemporary music for their programmes. Do join us for what promises to be another great series of recitals.”

Tickets for the recitals are available now via www.yorkminster.org priced at £12, with a combined season ticket price of £60 for all six recitals. A concession ticket price of £5 for under-27s is also available.

Organist and programme details:

Thursday 20 July, 7pm – John Scott Whiteley
Biography:
John Scott Whiteley is Organist Emeritus of York Minster and Organist of Hull City Hall. During the past twenty years he has become known for his performances on BBC2 and BBC4.

After studying with Ralph Downes, Fernando Germani and Flor Peeters, he won the 1976 National Organ Competition of Great Britain. He has given recitals at the Royal Festival Hall, Symphony Hall, Notre-Dame-de-Paris, St Petersburg Mariinsky and for international festivals in Belgium, Germany, Italy, Poland, Switzerland, Russia and the UK. For over twenty years he toured the USA. Recent recital programmes have included a new Toccata by Sir James MacMillan, commissioned for John to play at the 2019 Three Choirs Festival.

John has made five DVDs and fifty-three CDs, including Great Romantic Organ Music, which appeared for eight years in the Penguin Good CD Guide. He has recently recorded the complete Trio Sonatas of J. S. Bach for Fugue State Films.

John has composed 25 works for organ and 17 church compositions. He has written articles about Bach for The Organ Yearbook, The RCO Journal, the Bach-Jahrbuch and a forthcoming Routledge anthology. He is a contributor to Grove’s Dictionary, an editor of the Journal of the British Institute of Organ Studies and a Consulting Editor for OUP.

Programme:
Charles-Marie Widor (1844-1937), Symphony VI in G Minor, Op. 42
  i Allegro   ii Adagio   iii Intermezzo   iv Cantabile  v Finale
James Macmillan (b 1959), Gaudeamus in loci pace (1998) & Toccata (2019)
John Scott Whiteley (b 1950), Canon on a theme of John Goss for organ with pedal divide (2022)
Joseph Jongen (1873-1953), Prelude and Fugue in E flat, Op. 121
Pierre Cochereau (1924-1984), Sortie sur Adeste fideles (24 December 1968) (trans. F. Lombard)

Thursday 27 July, 7pm – Benjamin Morris
Biography:
Benjamin Morris is Assistant Director of Music at York Minster. In this role, he plays for services and accompanies the choir in the Minster’s daily cycle of music, in concerts, tours, recordings and broadcasts, and assists in the training of the boy and girl choristers.

Prior to this, he was Organ Scholar and then Assistant Organist at Jesus College, Cambridge, graduating with First-class honours in Music. Before starting university, Ben spent a year as Organ Scholar at Gloucester Cathedral.

With recent venues including Sage Gateshead, Selby Abbey, Leeds Town Hall and Westminster Cathedral, Ben is active as a soloist for recitals and other performances. He has performed as organ soloist under Sir Roger Norrington, Howard Shelley, Paul McCreesh, and Sir Stephen Cleobury, and has played organ and harpsichord continuo alongside His Majesty’s Sagbutts and Cornetts, The Saraband Consort and Britten Sinfonia. He is a prizewinning Fellow of the Royal College of Organists.

Programme:
J. S. Bach (1685-1755), Prelude and Fugue in E minor, “The Wedge”
Amy Beach (1867-1944), Prelude on an old folk tune
William Byrd (c1539-1623), The Carman’s Whistle
Cecilia McDowall (b 1951), Church bells beyond the stars
Constance Warren (1905-1984), Heather Hill (arr. B. Morris)
Julius Reubke (1834-1858), Sonata on the 94th Psalm

Thursday 3 August, 7pm – Katherine Dienes-Williams
Biography:
Katherine Dienes-Williams was appointed Organist and Master of the Choristers at Guildford Cathedral in January 2008, the first ever female appointed to such a post in the Church of England, following six years as Director of Music at the Collegiate Church of St. Mary, Warwick. In May 2022 she was voted the first ever female President of the Cathedral Organists’ Association.

Katherine was born and educated in New Zealand and was Organ Scholar at Wellington Cathedral when she was appointed Assistant Organist. In 1991 she took up the post of Organ Scholar at Winchester Cathedral and Assistant Organist at Winchester College. She has also held posts as Organist and Assistant Director of Music at the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King, Liverpool, Assistant Organist and Director of the Cathedral Girls’ Choir at Norwich Cathedral, and Director of Music at the Collegiate Church of St. Mary, Warwick.

She is a Council member of the Royal College of Organists, a trustee of the Organists Charitable trust and the Young Organ Scholars’ Trust and is a regular guest choral workshop leader in the UK, South Africa, the USA, Canada, Australia and several European countries. Katherine has given organ recitals in the UK, New Zealand, Germany, USA, Bermuda, the Netherlands, South Africa, Australia, Spain, and Singapore. She has performed with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, the Hallé, the City of London Sinfonia, Southern Pro Musica and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. In 2018 she performed the Saint-Saëns Organ Symphony in with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and with Southern Pro Musica. She is an active composer, having received commissions in the UK, the USA, and New Zealand.

Katherine holds a Master of Arts in Music and Liturgy from Leeds University. She features both as organist and choral conductor on several recordings. She has twice directed the St. Thomas’ girl choristers’ course in New York and has co-directed a Rodolfus Foundation junior choral course. She is a Knight of the Grand Order of Vitéz and a Knight of the Order of St. Ladislau.

Programme:
Edward Bairstow (1874-1946), Prelude in C
James Nares (1715-1783), Introduction and Fugue in A minor
Nadia Boulanger (1887-1979), Trois improvisations
Edward Bairstow (1874-1946), Evening Song
Francis Jackson (1917-2002), Diversion for Mixtures
Philip Moore (b 1943), Variations on ‘Helmsley’
Ghislaine Reece-Trapp (b 1992), In paradisum
T. Tertius Noble (1867-1953), A Summer Idyll
Kerensa Briggs (b 1991), Prelude on ‘Pange lingua
Edward Elgar (1857-1934), Sonata in G
     i. Allegro maestoso 

Thursday 10 August, 7pm – Robert Quinney
Biography:
Robert Quinney was born in Nottingham, UK, and began his musical life as a chorister, initially in Dundee Cathedral Choir. He began playing the organ at the age of ten, and was subsequently Organ Scholar at King’s College, Cambridge, where he completed his undergraduate and graduate studies.
A performing career took him to London, working first at Westminster Cathedral and for nine years as Sub-Organist at Westminster Abbey, during which time he performed at several national and international events. After a short period as Director of Music at Peterborough Cathedral he moved to Oxford in 2014. He directs the world-famous Choir of New College, Oxford, where he is also a Tutorial Fellow in Music. In the faculty of music he gives lectures for the Techniques of Composition and Choral Performance papers, and has taught on the subject of keyboard music of J. S. Bach.
Alongside his work at Oxford he maintains a busy schedule as a solo organist, and makes frequent appearances as a guest conductor, notably with the BBC Singers. He is also Director of the Edington Festival of Music within the Liturgy.

Programme:
J. S. Bach (1685-1750), Toccata and Fugue in D ‘Dorian’
Herbert Howells (1892-1983), Rhapsody No 1 in D flat
J. S. Bach (1685-1750), Two preludes on Dies sind die heilgen zehn Gebot
Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958), Symphony No 5 in D (arr. R. Quinney)

Thursday 17 August, 7pm – Colin Walsh
Biography:
Colin Walsh’s association with cathedral music goes back nearly fifty years. He has served, in various capacities, St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, Christ Church, Oxford (where he studied with Simon Preston and Nicholas Danby), Salisbury Cathedral (as assistant to Richard Seal) and St Albans Cathedral. He went to Lincoln Cathedral in 1988 as Organist and Master of the Choristers, becoming Organist Laureate in 2003 and Organist Emeritus in 2021.

As an organ recitalist he has played across the UK, most European countries, the USA, Australasia, Hong Kong and Russia. His studies in Paris with Jean Langlais inspired him to specialise in 19th and 20th century French organ music. His recordings as a choral conductor, accompanist and soloist number over forty over many years and various labels.

He teaches in Cambridge and elsewhere and is an honorary Doctor of Music from the University of Lincoln.

Programme:
Walter Alcock (1861-1947), Introduction and Passacaglia
Joseph Jongen (1873-1953), 1. Choral 2. Cantabile 3. Toccata
J. S. Bach (1685-1750), Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor
CH Tournemire (1870-1939), Fantaisie- Improvisation sur l’Ave Maris Stella   (recons. M. Duruflé)
Louis Vierne (1970-1937), Pièces de Fantaisie, Suite 3, Op 54
    ii. Impromptu
Jean Langlais (1907-1991), Hommage à Rameau
    iii. Évocation

Thursday 24 August, 7pm – Robert Sharpe
Biography:
Robert Sharpe has been Director of Music at York Minster since September 2008, having previously held posts at Truro Cathedral, Lichfield Cathedral, St Albans Abbey and Exeter College, Oxford.
His work centres around the daily choral tradition of York Minster with its two treble lines of boys and girls, both of which he trains, and in addition he performs frequently as an organ soloist and accompanist, having played in many parts of Europe and the USA as well as at major venues in the UK.
He has made numerous recordings with the choirs of Truro and York, all of which have received acclaim in the musical press.

Programme:
Francis Jackson (1917-2022), Prelude for a Solemn Occasion
Maurice Ravel (1875-1937), Le Tombeau de Couperin
    v. Menuet (arr. E. Wiersingha)
Kerensa Briggs (b 1991), Light in darkness
J. S. Bach (1685-1750), Fantasia & Fugue in G minor
Florence Price (1887-1953), Adoration
Percy Whitlock (1903-1946), Fantasie Choral No 2
Edward Bairstow (1874-1946), Nocturne
Claude Debussy (1862-1918), String Quartet in G minor
    iii. Andantino 8 (arr. A. Guilmant)
Marcel Dupré (1886-1971), Évocation
    iii. Allegro deciso 8’

Tickets for the recitals are available now via www.yorkminster.org priced at £12, with a combined ticket price of £50 for all five recitals. A concession ticket price of £5 for under-27s is also available.

 

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