What’s New: September 2017

A number of Robert’s compositions have been uploaded to the site over the summer.

In particular, score excerpts and recordings are now online for three 2017 compositions: Resonance, for piano; Flourish, for trumpet; and Alleluia, for SATB choir.

The first of these will be performed on Friday 22 September, as part of Prescot Parish Musicians in Concert. Over an hour of music also features Rob’s piano miniature Addition I (Original), written in 2003, and the solo voice and piano versions of his 2016 sacred works Ave verum corpus and Jubilate Deo.

All are welcome to the concert, which takes place at 7pm at St Mary’s Church, Prescot. Tickets are £5 on the door, and complimentary cake and wine follows. All proceeds go to the parish.

Howard choral works to be performed in May, June

May & June promise to be busy months for performances of Dr Robert Howard’s recent choral works.

The first of four performances takes place on Thursday 18 May at St Nicholas’s Church, Sutton, St Helens. The Royal School of Church Music (RSCM) Liverpool & Isle of Man Branch will feature Robert’s Jubilate Deo as part of a workshop exploring anthems and hymns based on the psalms, including ‘Jubilate.’

Jubilate Deo will also be performed by the 100-strong Prescot Festival Chorus with Parry’s I Was Glad and Rutter’s Magnificat on the second night of the 13th Annual Prescot Festival of Music & the Arts at Prescot Parish Church, Prescot, Merseyside.  The massed choir will be conducted by James Luxton from Liverpool’s Metropolitan Cathedral.  James will return in the second half with the Metropolitan Cathedral Girl Choristers in what promises to be an evening of choral bliss.

To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Liverpool’s Metropolitan Cathedral, a concert has been organised showcasing a programme of contemporary works by local composers such as Michael Stubbs and James Smith.  Robert’s Jubilate Deo has again been picked to feature as part of this special event, to be held at the Cathedral on Saturday 24th June.

On Sunday 25 June, Prescot Parish Church Choir with organist Tim Hall will premier the revised version of Robert’s Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis.  This will feature as part of Choral Evensong at Prescot Parish Church on the final day of the town’s 10-day music & arts festival.  The original version featured as part of the 7th Annual Prescot Festival and the invitation to revise the setting came directly from the choristers.

New Solo Arrangement to Premiere Good Friday

A new arrangement of Robert Howard’s ‘Ave verum corpus’ is to be performed on Good Friday, 14 April 2017, at Prescot Parish Church.

The work was composed for SATB choir and first sung in its full choral version on Good Friday 2016, by Prescot Parish Church Choir.  Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King Choir later sang it during Mass at the cathedral with St Edward’s College.

Tenor David Kernick will sing the new solo voice arrangement at 1pm on Friday, with Tim Hall at the organ.

All are welcome to attend some or all of the services, which begin at 12 noon, 1pm (with vocal quartet items) and 2pm (with Prescot Parish Church Choir). The address is Church Street, Prescot, L34 1LA.

Howard Anthem to Feature in Met Cathedral Anniversary Concert

Robert Howard’s ‘Jubilate Deo’ will be sung as part of Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King’s 50th anniversary celebrations later this year.

The performance takes place in the cathedral on Saturday 24 June at 7.30pm, with the Cantata Choir, directed by James Luxton, the cathedral’s Deputy Director of Music. The piece was originally written in 2016 for Prescot Parish Church Choir.

The concert, marking five decades since the completion and consecration of the magnificent modern building, includes works by Mendelssohn and Beethoven, as well as other contemporary composers.

Robert enjoys a growing musical relationship with the Catholic cathedral. He is Assistant Head of Music Faculty at St Edward’s College, Liverpool, official school to the Metropolitan Cathedral Choir, and the cathedral’s Youth Choir performed his ‘Ave verum corpus’ at a Mass earlier this year.

Visit liverpoolmetrocathedral.org.uk to find out more about the cathedral and this year’s celebrations and cathedralconcerts.org.uk for more about 24 June’s concert and other upcoming events.

Latest about Composer & Conductor Robert Howard

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January was a busy month for Robert, packed with 40th birthday celebrations with friends, family, colleagues and fellow musicians.

Rob recently had the privilege of conducting the Liverpool Mozart Orchestra in rehearsal for the first time, as they prepared for their 11 February concert featuring Elgar’s Cello Concerto, Dvorak’s Symphony No. 8 and Mendelssohn’s Ruy Blas overture.

On Sunday 12 February, the new Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral Youth Choir sing Robert’s choral composition Ave verum corpus, under director James Luxton. Written for Prescot Parish Church Choir and first performed by them in Holy Week 2016, this setting of the traditional Latin text forms part of a mass at 7pm in the Metropolitan Cathedral Crypt. (Visit the Choral & Vocal Works section to listen to an electronic recording of the work.)

Finally, please join Robert and MD Jill Hyde at St Barnabas’s Church, Liverpool, as they conduct the Phoenix Concert Orchestra in An Evening at the Movies on Saturday 18 March. It starts at 7.30pm, and tickets are £6 on the door.

Pictured: Dinner with Basil, Sybil and Manuel as part of the Faulty Towers Dining Experience was a particular highlight of Rob’s 40th year so far!

‘Exceptional Service’ Award for Robert Howard

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Dr Robert Howard has received a national award for his achievements with the Prescot Festival of Music & the Arts.

Rob founded the festival in 2005 and remains its artistic director over a decade later. Having begun as a weekend event, it now runs to 10 days every June and showcases an array of musical, artistic and cultural talent from the local community, the North West region and beyond.

In recognition of his pioneering work, BAFA, the British Arts Festival Association, has presented him with the Exceptional Service Award 2016. Announced at BAFA’s November 2016 conference in Hull, the certificate was officially presented to Rob in person during the Mayor of Prescot’s Charity Christmas Concert on 8 December.

(On an a related note, that concert, which is organised annually by the Prescot Festival, attracted a record 420 people and raised over £1,100 for local charities. Local school, church and community choirs were joined by Brassworks Quintet for the lively family occasion.)

Picture: Revd John Taylor, Vicar of Prescot, presents Robert with his award

 

Upcoming Christmas Engagements

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Dr Robert Howard will be playing Elgar’s Romance (for bassoon and orchestra) this Tuesday, 6 December, with the South Liverpool Orchestra. The Christmas concert also features the music of Dvorak, Wagner and Vaughan Williams, as well as festive carols. It takes place at Hope University Chapel, Hope Park, L16 9JD, at 8pm, and costs £4 on the door. A delicious buffet is included.

Today (Sunday 4 December) saw a successful performance of Robert’s carol A Babe Is Born, by Prescot Parish Church Choir. They sing it again this Thursday night (8 December) as part of the Mayor of Prescot’s Charity Christmas Concert, at 8pm at St Mary’s Church, Prescot. Tickets are £5 on the door, and children are free with an accompanying adult.

The choir sing it for the third and final time at the Festival of Lessons and Carols on Sunday 18 December at 6.30pm, again at St Mary’s.

Photo by Alan Humphreys

Summer News You May Have Missed!

Robert conducts the Phoenix Concert Orchestra on tour in Vendée, France

Summer 2016 was an eventful one for Robert Howard.

His 2015 orchestral work Cortege, dedicated to David Kernick, was rehearsed in a workshop session by the 70-strong Uppingham Summer School Orchestra in Rutland, East Midlands, last August. The run-through was ably led by professional conductor Wyn Davies, Director of Music at New Zealand Opera.

Also in August, Robert conducted the Phoenix Concert Orchestra on a tour of the Vendée department of France, in two concerts of light music and selections from films and musicals. The first concert was outdoors in the artisan village of Sallertaine, as part of the Nocturnes Festival (pictured), while the second was at the Le Dix theatre in Nantes. Rob was joined by fellow conductor Jill Hyde, and both performances were well attended and enthusiastically received.

Howard’s Ave verum corpus at Liverpool Met Cathedral

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Robert Howard’s 2016 choral work Ave verum corpus is to be sung at Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King this October.

The Cathedral Choir will perform the work under the baton of director Dr Christopher McElroy, with James Luxton at the organ, as part of the St Edward’s College Mass at 11am on Sunday 16 October. This annual service typically attracts the cathedral’s biggest congregation of the year, with about 2,000 in attendance.

Ave verum corpus was first sung by Prescot Parish Church Choir on Good Friday 2016. Listen to that recording – and Sibelius recordings of it and its companion piece Jubilate Deo’s arrangements for solo voice and organ/piano – on the Choral & Vocal Works page.

Photo: Timothy Dutton (licensed for reuse under Creative Commons)

Prescot Parish Concert Features 2002 RA Howard Composition

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Robert Howard will perform his own 2002 solo bassoon work La Reproduction Interdite this Friday, 23 September.

The 75-minute concert also features pieces by Puccini, Schubert, Fauré and others, performed by Prescot musicians Tim Hall (organ), Laura Bonnett (flute), David Kernick (tenor) and Robert himself, on bassoon and piano.

Parish Musicians in Concert starts at 7pm at Prescot Parish Church, and tickets are just £5 on the door. Entry includes complimentary cake and wine. All proceeds go towards parish funds.

You can hear an earlier recording of Howard’s La Reproduction Interdite on the solo compositions page.