Jennifer Bate OBE, Hon DMus (Bristol), BA (Hons), FRCO, ARCM, LRAM, FRSA
We are very sad to announce that Jennifer Bate has died from cancer. She was a wonderfully supportive patron to SWO, an inspiration to countless organists, and will be greatly missed.
Jennifer Bate is the first organist in Great Britain to dedicate her entire life to a full time professional career as an organist. She continues to be a favourite at all the world’s great festivals and has performed in over 40 countries (see www.classical-artists.com/jbate).
Among her international awards are Honorary Italian Citizenship for her services to music in Northern Italy. In 1990, the French made her Personnalité de l’Année , only the third British artist after Sir Georg Solti and Sir Yehudi Menuhin to receive this distinction. Jennifer is recognised as the world authority on the organ works of Olivier Messiaen, with whom she worked extensively and became his organist of choice. In 2011, President Sarcozy appointed her to the rank of Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur, with the citation Organiste, Spécialiste de l’oeuvre de Messiaen. The same year, the French government also awarded her the rank of Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres for her work worldwide to make French organ music better appreciated.
Dr Bate has pioneered many programmes to introduce the organ to children. Her Young Person’s Guide to the King of Instruments is a virtuoso demonstration, much in demand from all age groups. Her annual Jennifer Bate Organ Academy, currently in its 15th year, is a unique course for girls aged 12-20, promoting all-round musicianship (see www.stcatherines.info/JBOA).
Harry Wakefield Bramma FRCO
Harry Wakefield Bramma is a British organist and composer of Anglican church music. He was educated at Bradford Grammar School, studying organ with Melville Cook, organist of Leeds Parish Church. He read theology and music at Oxford University, studying as Organ Scholar of Pembroke College. He graduated as a Bachelor of Arts in 1958 and a Master of Arts in 1960. Harry Bramma initially started a career in teaching. His students at the King's School, Retford, included a number of noted musicians, among them Nicholas Cleobury, Stephen Cleobury, Andrew Millington, Jonathan Nott, Adrian Partington and Geoffrey Webber. In 1976 he became Organist and Director of Music at Southwark Cathedral, and in 1989 moved on to become Director of the Royal School of Church Music. He was Director of Music at All Saints, Margaret Street, from 1989–2004.
Tom Bell BMus(Hons), GradRNCM PGDip(perf)
Tom Bell was born in Liverpool and raised in Lancashire. He studied with Kevin Bowyer at the Royal Northern College of Music, with Ann Elise Smoot in London, and with Jacques van Oortmerssen in Amsterdam. One of the leading performers of his generation, Tom has performed extensively across mainland Europe and the USA. His repertoire is broad, but a love of new music means that many of Tom’s performances have been innovative firsts. Tom is Artistic Director to the London Organ Day, teaches the organ for the Royal College of Organists and the Royal Hospital School in Suffolk, and has led or participated in many outreach projects, including Heritage Lottery-backed schemes in the City of London, Wimbledon and Southall, and the long-running Organworks project at Eton College, which works with schools in Slough. Tom is Royal College of Organists Director for the North of England, North Wales and the Isle of Man.
William McVicker is Organ Curator at London’s Royal Festival Hall and Director of Music at St Barnabas Church, Dulwich. He is Chairman of the Association of Independent Organ Advisors, Professor of Organology at the Royal Academy of Music, Organs Adviser to the Diocese of Southwark and to the Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England (CFCE).
He has performed at numerous prestigious venues, including the Royal Festival Hall, the Royal Albert Hall, Westminster Abbey, and King’s College, Cambridge. Concert highlights have included solo appearances with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and, with Orquesta Filarmónica de Gran Canaria, he has performed Saint-Saëns’s Third Symphony (three times), Poulenc’s Organ Concerto and Janácek’s Glagolitic Mass. Recent recital and consultancy work has taken him to New Zealand, Australia, Norway, Nigeria, and Penang in Malaysia. An Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Musical Instrument Technology, William was recently elected an Honorary Research Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music.