Birmingham hosts season of RCO choral and organ events

Birmingham hosts season of RCO choral and organ events


Musicians young and old will be gathering in Birmingham for events throughout April and May to celebrate choral and organ music.

The events organised by the Royal College of Organists (RCO) range from an open-to-all choral extravaganza at St Philip’s Cathedral to a very special masterclass with renowned recitalist and teacher Ludger Lohmann.

RCO Head of Education and Outreach Simon Williams said: “This series of events will offer something for everyone involved or interested in organ and choral music, from talented young musicians and amateur choral singers to more experienced musicians keen to learn from one of the world’s finest recitalists.

“Birmingham, with its central location and wonderful array of instruments at St Chad’s, St Phillips, the Town Hall and Symphony Hall, is the perfect home for such a wide ranging season.”

The season starts with two events to celebrate the visit to Birmingham by Ludger Lohmann, international recitalist and Professor of Organ at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik, Stuttgart.

Prof Lohmann will be playing a recital at Symphony Hall on Wednesday 30 April 2008, featuring Bach’s Fantasia and Fugue in G minor, Froberger’s Fantasia I on ‘Ut Re Mi Fa Sol La’, and Buxtehude’s Chorale Fantasia, Nun freut euch, lieben Christen g’mein.

On the eve of his recital (Tuesday 29 April) Prof Lohmann will teach a special class at St Chad’s Cathedral, focusing on German Romantic organ music by Mendelssohn, Rheinberger and Reger, an area for which Prof Lohmann is particularly noted. Professor David Saint, Organist at St Chad’s Cathedral and Associate Dean at Birmingham Conservatoire, will lead a preparatory class on Tuesday 22 April, helping prospective players for Ludger Lohmann’s class with matters of technique, interpretation and registration. Observers are also welcome at both classes.

On Saturday 10 May, amateur singing enthusiasts are invited to sing Gabriel Fauré’s Requiem at a ‘bring it and sing it’ event in St Philip’s Cathedral in the centre of Birmingham.

The event offers up to 400 choir members and other music enthusiasts the chance to rehearse and perform Gabriel Fauré’s Requiem in one day. Fauré’s setting of the words of the Requiem Mass is one of the best known pieces in the choral repertoire, an eloquent devotional work, which is predominantly lyrical but also with moments of intense drama.

To mark the centenary of the birth of Vaughan Williams the event also includes the Five Mystical Songs for baritone and choir, which end with the rousing setting of George Herbert’s ‘Let all the world in every corner sing’.

The performance will be led by RCO President Peter Wright, with the Cathedral’s Assistant Organist Stuart Nicholson realising the orchestral parts on the organ. The event begins at 12.30pm and will end at approximately 5pm.

The final event is aimed firmly at young organists of all levels, as well as young pianists who want to try the organ. Presented in association with Oundle for Organists, the Get Ahead! event on Monday 26 May (Bank Holiday Monday) will see musicians aged nine to 19 years given invaluable tuition and guidance in small graded groups on the magnificent instruments at Symphony Hall, the Town Hall, and St Chad’s Cathedral.

For more information on all of these events, visit www.rco.org.uk/education_college_events.php, email events@rco.org.uk or call 05600 767237.

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