As part of our 125th Anniversary Celebrations we be having a series of lunchtime organ concerts on Tuesdays, from 12.30 to 1.15pm, followed by light lunches. Starting on Tuesday September 17th, and leading up to the Tuesday before the anniversary weekend, the organists are all local to this area except Philip Scriven, who lives in Surrey, but is a “Chard boy”. Here are the dates.
September 17th – Peter Parshall
Organ Scholar of Westminster College, Oxford, between 1990 and 1993, Peter studied the organ with David Saint at the Birmingham Conservatoire. Alongside a career as a schoolteacher, in 1994, Peter was appointed Director of Music at St Mary Magdalen Church, Oxford, where, in 1997, he was instrumental in the establishment of a professional eight-voice choir, together with the commissioning of a new organ for the church. He held professional posts at Westminster College, Oxford (Director of Chapel Music) and at Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford (Organist to the Cathedral Singers of Christ Church) and was an accompanist to the Royal School of Church Music’s Southern Cathedral Singers. He has taught on Royal School of Church Music residential courses based at the cathedrals of Oxford, Durham, Canterbury and York and also at Oakham school.
After some fourteen years in Oxford, Peter moved to Dublin in 2003 where he became co-ordinator of the Irish branch of the RSCM with responsibility for the development of the RSCM on the island of Ireland, together with the implementation of its programmes of education and training. In addition to his post with the RSCM, he held posts at Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin and was Organist and Director of Music at the church of St Bartholomew, Clyde Road – now the only parish church in Ireland which maintains a choir of boys and men in addition to a thriving girls’ choir. He was an external examiner for the Royal Irish Academy of Music and remains an examiner for RSCM choral awards. Peter is delighted to have recently been made an Associate of the RSCM in recognition of his work for the organisation.
On moving to East Devon in 2011, Peter has built up a private teaching practice, and is a tutor for the PipeUp scheme run by the Diocese of Salisbury. He is Director of Music at Axminster Parish Church, Director of Axminster and District Choral Society, a member of the RSCM’s Education team and was, until July 2017, Director of RSCM Voices West. He has recently been appointed Artistic Director of the new South Wessex Organ Society which has been created in order to promote the art and appreciation of organ music through education, training, concerts and recitals. In addition, he directs Axminster and Yeovil Chamber Choirs and is Accompanist to Bridport Choral Society. He is the co-editor of the choral anthology, Weddings for Choirs, published by Oxford University Press, and a contributor to the New Dictionary of National Biography, also for Oxford University Press. As a composer, Peter has been commissioned by choirs in the UK, Ireland and the USA and his music has been performed on the BBC and RTÉ networks.
September 24th – Dr. Francis Burroughes, BEM.
October 1st – Simon Clarkson
Simon came to the West Country in 2006 to be Organist and Head of Academic Music at Sherborne Girls, after having been Director of Music at Giggleswick School, North Yorkshire, and at St Lawrence College, Ramsgate.
Educated at Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School, Blackburn, and the University of Edinburgh (Entrance Scholar) he was one of the last students of composer Kenneth Leighton and musicologist Michael Tilmouth. His main organ studies were undertaken with John Kitchen. As an undergraduate Simon held the Organ Scholarship at St Mary’s Cathedral, Edinburgh, where he played for daily services, broadcasts and tours abroad. Winner of all the available prizes at the Royal College of Organists, he gained the FRCO and ARCM Performer’s diplomas, and was a Finalist in the National Young Organist of the Year competition organised by British Gas in 1985.
He began his teaching career in 1987, and has worked in both state and independent schools, as well as in Further Education. At Sherborne, he is responsible for the Academic teaching of music, plays the organ for all services, and takes a share of the coaching and accompaniment of instrumentalists and singers. He is fully involved in the musical life of Dorset and Somerset, regularly contributing to the weekly recital series at Sherborne Abbey, and is in demand as an accompanist and continuo player. Since 1998 he has been a member of the examining panel for ABRSM, travelling extensively throughout the UK. When not involved in performing, teaching or examining music, he remains active as a composer and arranger – and has even been heard on Radio 3!
October 8th – Dr. Ian Heavisides ATCL
Ian was born in Leeds and moved to the South West over 30 years ago but still considers himself to be a Yorkshireman. He started learning the piano from any early age and started to accompany hymns and choruses for the Methodist Church Sunday School in Rawdon. When the Organist at the Church retired Ian, while still at school, was asked to replace him. He then took lessons from Fred Scarfe FRCO, the Organist of Oxford Place Methodist Church in the centre of Leeds, which resulted in passing the Grade 8 examination for Organ. By this time Ian was studying Metallurgy at Leeds University.
He has held several Organist and Choirmaster positions in both Methodist and Anglican Churches in the Leeds area, the final one being at Guiseley Parish Church which as well as being his “School Church” was where the parents of the Bronte sisters were married.
Since moving South Ian has held Organist posts at Chard Parish Church, The Minster, Ilminster and Holy Trinity Parish Church in Taunton. Currently Ian plays on rota basis in various local Churches. He has given many recitals in the Leeds and Somerset areas including several at Halifax Parish Church and played the organ for Deanery Services in Gloucester and Truro Cathedrals.
Ian is married with two daughters and two grandchildren. His working life has been mainly involved with the technical aspects of producing castings for gas turbine engines and was Vice President of the British Investment Casting Trade Association and is a Fellow of the Institute of Cast Metal Engineers.
October 15th – Peter Lea-Cox & Dr Richard Godfrey MD, FRCP, ARCO.
Peter studied organ at the Royal Academy of Music before becoming a Music Master at Oundle School, Northants. In 1973, he returned to the R.A.M. combining an administrative appointment with teaching Choral Conducting, Sight Singing and Keyboard Skills. Soon after his return to London, he was appointed Director of Music at St. Jude-on-the Hill in North London, where he presented many concerts, combining the church choir with students from the Academy.
In 1976, he inaugurated a monthly Bach Cantata Series of concerts, employing his Sight Singing Students with instrumentalists. In 1982, the group, now well known as the Lecosaldi Ensemble, were invited to start a series entitled Bach Vespers at the Lutheran Church of St. Anne and St. Agnes in Gresham Street. In 1987, Peter was appointed Cantor of St. Anne’s, where he was able to be active as a composer, writing liturgical music for each Sunday morning service, as well as building up the tradition of Bach Vespers. In 1997, he completed performances of the entire repertoire of extant Cantatas either in a concert or a service context. He was also responsible for organising the lunchtime series of concerts, which approached 100 events each year.
For thirty years, he was director of the Camden Chamber Choir. He also tutored on the annual Oxford Baroque Course. He has toured Denmark and the U.S.A. giving organ recitals and, for over twenty years, was an examiner for the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music.
Since retirement from London, Peter has spent more time at home, where he spends time researching into the music and mind of J.S.Bach, writing his own memoirs and composing. In 2012, with persuasion from a singer friend, he released a C.D. entitled ‘Of Times and Seasons’. This contains a collection of some of the many sacred and secular songs which he had been commissioned to compose.
He is married to Gillian Humphreys, the well-known local potter.
Richard is a retired medical specialist in lung disease, who still teaches for the World Health Organisation. In spare time he studied the organ with a number of teachers, including Margaret Phillips and Anne Marsden Thomas. He holds the Associateship of the Royal College of Organists, and won the RCO’s Percy Whitlock prize for organ teaching in 1999. Richard now devotes increasing time to teaching the organ, and especially concentrates on increasing the number of young organists in the Salisbury Diocese through the “PipeUp” Scheme, which provides subsidies for training young players aged 9-18. He accompanies several choirs, and gives regular concerts as solo organist and piano accompanist. He is organist at Chideock and Lyme Regis R.C. churches. As organ Consultant to the Diocese of Salisbury he understands well the challenges of playing ageing but still musically worthy Victorian instruments, and has himself built a 24-stop organ in Farley Church, near Salisbury
October 22nd – Philip Scriven
Philip is widely regarded as one of the finest organists of his generation, and is highly respected as a choral, orchestral and operatic conductor. He is currently Organist-in-Residence at Cranleigh School, co-founder and Principal Conductor of the Darwin Ensemble Chamber Orchestra, and Assistant Conductor and Accompanist of the world-renowned Bach Choir, combining these posts with a freelance recital career which takes him all over the world.
He has made numerous recordings, and his two latest CDs of jazz-inspired organ music and a transcription of Holst’s “The Planets” are soon to be released. His CD “Piping Hot” was praised in “Gramophone” magazine for “the outstanding quality of his playing … good-humoured and sparkling … a joy to listen to”, and he recently performed transcriptions of Tchaikovsky’s 4th Symphony and Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring” as part of the Grand Organ Festival in Westminster Cathedral.
Philip has worked at Westminster Abbey, St. George’s Chapel Windsor Castle, St. John’s College Cambridge and Winchester Cathedral, and from 2002-10 was Organist and Master of the Choristers at Lichfield Cathedral, where he was also the Musical Director of the Lichfield Cathedral Chorus
Born in Somerset in 1970, Philip received his early musical training as a chorister at Westminster Abbey, and a Music Scholar at Charterhouse. He went on to study at the Royal Academy of Music, Cambridge University, the Vienna Musikhochschule and the Juilliard School in New York, and his teachers have included Dame Gillian Weir, Peter Hurford, Nicholas Kynaston and Michael Radulescu. As an organist, he has held positions at St. George’s Windsor, St. John’s College Cambridge, Westminster Abbey, Winchester Cathedral and Lichfield Cathedral, where he was Director of Music (2002-2010). He regularly plays with orchestras such as Ex Cathedra, Florilegium and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and has performed with the London Mozart Players and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. He has also appeared as soloist with the Philharmonia Orchestra, the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, the Russian Philharmonic Orchestra, and together in duo with the celebrated trumpeter Crispian Steele-Perkins.
His talent as a performer and an accompanist has been recognised by numerous awards at the Royal Academy of Music and the Royal College of Organists, most notably as the RCO “Performer of the Year” in 1995. He has performed in many of the major Cathedrals and concert halls throughout the UK, and regular foreign tours have taken him to France, Germany, Holland, Belgium, Austria, Poland, Norway, Sweden, Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and, most frequently of all, America. He is one of the few organists to have performed as a soloist in Carnegie Hall. In addition to his work at Cranleigh, he teaches privately, is the lead tutor at the annual Lyme Regis Organ School, and is also Adjunct Professor of Organ and Conducting at the Hong Kong Institute of Music Plus. He has twice performed the complete organ works of J.S.Bach (once in Winchester Cathedral within the space of 24 hours, and the other as a 26-recital series at Cranleigh School), and has transcribed a number of works by Brahms, Warlock and Bernstein for the instrument. He has made a number of solo CDs, each of which has been received with wide critical acclaim – his CD “Piping Hot” was praised in The Gramophone for “the outstanding quality of his playing…good-humoured and sparkling…a joy to listen to”. Recent recordings include CDs of jazz-inspired music for organ, the inaugural recording of the new organ at Lyme Regis, and a transcription of Holst’s “The Planets”. He has also been featured regularly on Radio 2’s “The Organist Entertains.”
As a repetiteur, he has worked for English National Opera and Welsh National Opera, and has also conducted productions for Cambridge University Opera and for Pimlico Opera (“The Beggars Opera” in Winchester Prison in 2002). He was Assistant Conductor for Barroco na Bahia in Brazil (Hansel and Gretel), and also for the Glyndebourne Festival in 2002 (The Marriage of Figaro), and has conducted the Waynflete Singers and the Lichfield Cathedral Chorus (Musical Director, 2002-2010). He has also worked with the New York Youth Symphony Orchestra and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, and is co-founder and Principal Conductor of the Darwin Ensemble Chamber Orchestra.