US Premiere of Robert Howard’s Ave Verum Corpus

Soprano Lauren Sprague will give the American premiere of Robert Howard’s ‘Ave verum corpus’ in March 2018.

She will sing it in its version for solo voice and piano/organ at an evening of Holy Thursday Music Offerings on 29 March (Maundy Thursday) at Holy Family Parish Church in Concord, Massachusetts.

Originally written for Prescot Parish Church Choir and dedicated to the Reverend Canon John Taylor, ‘Ave verum corpus’ has received several local performances since it was first heard at St Mary’s Prescot on Good Friday 2016. That original SATB version will be sung again on Saturday 16 June (7pm at Prescot Parish Church) as part of the Prescot Festival, in a programme that also includes Fauré’s Requiem and Cantique de Jean Racine. As a ‘Come-and-Sing’ concert, the performance is open to all singers – see for more information.

View score samples and listen to excerpts via the Compositions page, or contact the composer about obtaining copies for performance.

New Compositions & Upcoming Concerts

Robert’s newest choral composition, ‘Alleluia,’ was sung for the first time by Prescot Parish Church Choir on All Saints’ Sunday (5 November).

The meditative work was dedicated to the memory of choir member Gerald Dyson, who passed away in October 2016. It was repeated for an All Souls Requiem Mass the following evening, Monday 6 November, and will feature again in the Mayor of Prescot’s Charity Christmas Concert (Thursday 7 December) and in the Eucharist for the Epiphany on Sunday 7 January 2018. Both take place in Prescot Parish Church.

Robert’s ‘Jubilate Deo,’ also composed for the choir, received the latest of several performances on 4 November at the wedding of Karim and Jayne Palant.

You can hear all these compositions and more on the Choral & Vocal Works page.

Finally, Robert has some conducting engagements coming up. As well as his regular conducting work with St Edward’s College, he waves the baton for the South Liverpool Orchestra Christmas Concert on Tuesday 5 December at 8pm in Liverpool Hope University Chapel, and the Phoenix Concert Orchestra Christmas Concert at The Venue, Huyton, on Sunday 10 December at 2.30pm. All are warmly welcome.

Robert Wins Knowsley Cultural Volunteer of the Year

Robert was honoured to be named Cultural Volunteer of the Year at the 2017 Knowsley Sports & Cultural Awards.

At the gala ceremony on 13 October, Robert was declared winner for his achievements as Artistic Director of the Prescot Festival of Music & the Arts, which he founded in 2005 and directs to this day.

The festival itself won Cultural Event of the Year, an honour it first held in 2015.

Pictured: Robert Howard, David Kernick, Laura Howard & Dot Howard, with Mayor of Knowsley Cllr Frank Walsh and author Frank Cottrell Boyce

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

Latest about Composer & Conductor Robert Howard


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


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


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