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Over the past few weeks there has been uproar within the classical music world after the National Musicians Church, St Sepulchre-without-Newgate in Holborn, announced it would no longer be taking bookings of a non-religious nature from 2018.

The Church is where Sir Henry Wood, founder of the BBC Proms, is buried. It is also the home to a book of remembrance for musicians and windows commemorating singer Dame Nellie Melba and composer John Ireland. It has been known as the National Musicians Church for more than 70 years and is a prominent concert venue and rehearsal space that has been used by all types of musicians. Assurance had to be provided in 2013, after the appointment of Reverend David Ingall to the church, as many musicians were worried that the new priest would change the ethos of St Sepulchre as it was known. The recent move has therefore proven the need for this worry and has sparked a coming together of influential musicians to try and prevent the ban.

Since the new appointment of Reverend Ingall, the church has become part of the network founded by evangelical church Holy Trinity Brompton. The ‘evangelical group is known for its youth friendly rock-band style of worship’ and hosts the ever popular Alpha courses.  Reverend Ingall has stated in response to the reaction to the new ban; “Our ministry as the National Musicians’ Church continues to be a core part of our church’s identity and vision… While its expression may be changing, that underlying vision remains unchanged.” This, however, hasn’t settled the minds of leading musicians who believe that the “abrupt move was made without consent.”

In response to the ban on secular bookings, Richard Robbins started a petition to try and reverse the decision. He stated that “the church was particularly valued by musicians because of its heritage and for practical reasons.” He is helping to form a committee to “put forward a positive vision of what the Musicians Church actually is and to try and find a way that both music and ministry can co-exist together in a very open way.”

Photo credit: Making Music

This has consequently led to more than 50 musicians, including top composers, performers, and directors of music at cathedrals, to write a letter to The Guardian protesting against St. Sepulchre’s plans to ban non-sacred concerts. In the letter they state; “the unique ‘mission’ for St. Sepulchre’s has been to musicians, providing a welcoming space and encouraging them to be involved in running the parish. That its custodies are now willing to abandon this unique national cultural remit is difficult to understand and harder to accept.” Among those who signed the letter were Sir James MacMillan, John Rutter, Suzi Digby, Julian Lloyd Webber and Judith Weir.

Reverend Ingall has stated that “in the coming weeks we will reflect and pray, and consult with members of the musicians’ community about how best to fulfil that ministry moving forward.” The final outcome has not been announced yet, but we can hope that the hard work of Richard Robbins to start the petition and the influential musicians pays off.

Update: Over 7,000 people have signed the petition. Read all updates here.

(Written on August 29, 2017 )

Classical News

In today’s news, Iestyn Davies discusses the challenges of being Farinelli, and the Royal Northern College of Music launches its first ever four-year BMus in popular music. Also, Coady Green reports on a unique concert in the Himalayas, and The Telegraph writes Alexander Faris’s obituary

The Guardian

The King and I: Iestyn Davies on being Farinelli

In a play about the healing power of song, who does the singing? Countertenor Iestyn Davies ponders the challenges of breathing life into the castrato singer Farinelli in Claire van Kampen’s play

Classical Music Magazine

RNCM launches UK’s first four-year degree in popular music

The Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) is launching the UK’s first ever four-year BMus (Hons) degree in popular music on 1 October

The Strad

Hong Kong’s MTR reviews ban on large musical instruments following criticism from orchestras

The railway company had threatened to issue fines and refused entry to students for carrying cellos

The Telegraph

Alexander Faris, composer – obituary

Composer who wrote the theme tune for Upstairs, Downstairs and orchestrated music for Pavarotti

BBC Music Magazine

Scriabin in the Himalayas

Pianist Coady Green reports on a unique concert in the mountains

Artsjournal

Nonesuch Records Chief Robert Hurwitz To Retire After 32 Years

When executives at big record companies leave their jobs, there is usually a quick announcement and a scramble behind the scenes to install a new regime.

NPR classical

‘We Need To Be Human’: Zuhal Sultan On Starting The Iraqi Youth Orchestra

It’s difficult enough to start an orchestra, but Zuhal Sultan founded the National Youth Orchestra of Iraq (NYOI) as a teenager in the middle of a war. She brought together 40 young musicians from different Iraqi cities and sectarian backgrounds in an effort to unify a divided nation. Now, six years later, the Euphrates Institute has named her Visionary of the Year.

Berliner Zeitung

Schön Rumstehen mit Blick auf die Elbe

In Hamburg traf sich die Musikindustrie zum Reeperbahn Festival. Während in Berlin Musikindustrie-Events nie geklappt haben, sind die Hamburger ehrlich und auf Zack: Auf dem Reeperbahn Festival werden Hände geschüttelt, nicht viel mehr. Völlig ausreichend, findet unser Autor

Die Welt

Nun ward der Herbst unseres Tenorvergnügens

Der Klangritter von hohen B: Der Tenor Jonas Kaufmann räumt mit Giuseppe Verdi und Giacomo Puccini bis in die Popcharts ab. Ob CD, Kino oder Oper, er ist überall. Und er ist immer exzellent.

Musik Heute

“Opernhaus des Jahres” in Frankfurt und Mannheim

“Opernhaus des Jahres” 2015 sind die Oper Frankfurt und das Nationaltheater Mannheim. Das ergab eine Umfrage unter 50 Musikkritikern in Europa und den USA, die die Zeitschrift “Opernwelt” am Mittwoch veröffentlichte.

France Musique

Démission du chef d’orchestre Jean-Yves Ossonce, directeur de l’Opéra de Tours

Jean-Yves Ossonce, directeur du Grand Théâtre lyrique de Tours et chef de l’Orchestre symphonique Région Centre – Val de Loire – Tours a annoncé sa démission via un communiqué.

Le Parisien

La filière musicale française s’accorde sur les revenus du streaming

La filière musicale française a annoncé mardi avoir conclu un “accord” pour une “juste répartition” des revenus issus du numérique, pomme de discorde dans une industrie en crise depuis 15 ans qui voit son salut dans le développement du streaming.

Twitter

The Royal OperaMozart’s Magic Flute had its premiere in 1791

Classic FMStars so far in our radio play for Davids Tennant & Suchet More on bfast tomorrow

BBC Radio 3Fascinating. Mark-Anthony Turnage and Peter Erskine, composer and drummer, on working together
News 30th

Coady Green and Christopher Wayne Smith performing in Ladakh (Picture courtesy of Scriabin in the Himalayas)/BBC Music Magazine

 

(Written on September 30, 2015 )