Howard Premieres Planned for Advent & Christmas Season

Robert was delighted with the stirring performance of his Magnificat and Nunc dimittis given by Liverpool Cathedral Youth Choir at Evensong on Saturday 24 November. The choristers of St Mary’s Prescot, for whom the setting was originally written, attended and were given a warm welcome by the presiding priest and the cathedral’s Director of Choral Outreach, Stephen Mannings, who recently joined the bass section at Prescot.

On Tuesday 4 December, Robert will accompany his wife, Laura Howard, as she sings two of his Christmas carols. The first will be the premiere of Once in Royal David’s City, in its flexible version; the second is A Babe Is Born. The occasion is the South Liverpool Orchestra Christmas Concert at 8pm in St James’s Methodist & United Reformed Church on Church Road South, Woolton, L25 7RJ. Tickets are £4 on the door, which includes a post-concert buffet and drinks. See www.south-liverpool-orchestra.co.uk.

On Thursday 6 December, the full choral version of Once in Royal David’s City will be sung for the first time by Prescot Parish Church Choir, under the baton of David Kernick and with the composer at the piano. A quintet from Allerton Brass and several community and school choirs complete the programme for the Mayor of Prescot’s Charity Christmas Concert, which takes place from 7pm to 8.15pm in Prescot Parish Church, Church Street, L34 1LA. Tickets are just £5 on the door, including festive refreshments, and children under 16 are free with a paying adult. See www.prescotfestival.co.uk.

Prescot Parish Church Choir will sing Rob’s setting of For Mary, Mother of Our Lord at their Sung Eucharist on Sunday 23 December at 10am (Fourth Sunday of Advent) and will sing Once in Royal David’s City a second time, at Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve, Monday 24 December, at 11.30pm.

Successful Festival, Robert Howard Performances

Two of Robert’s choral compositions featured in this year’s Prescot Festival, with the 2016 setting of the Ave verum corpus receiving a performance by a massed choir of an unprecedented 120 singers from across the North West on 16 June. (Pictured. Photo: Alan Humphreys)

Alleluia, written in memory of Gerald Dyson in 2017, was the anthem for Festival Choral Evensong, closing the 10-day event on Sunday 24 June. Gerald was a long-time member of Prescot Parish Church Choir, who sang the piece accompanied by parish organist Tim Hall.

The festival, which Rob founded in 2005 and continues to direct, was a great success, welcoming over 1,600 people to a series of concerts and arts events in venues throughout Prescot and Whiston.

Performances & Premieres Ahead

More performances of Robert’s works are lined up for later this year. His new anthem For Mary, Mother of Our Lord will receive its first performance on Sunday 9 September in Prescot Parish Church, during the 10.30am Eucharist. It has been composed especially for the occasion of the 2018 Patronal Festival and dedicated to the church and to the composer’s own mother, Dorothy Howard.

The trebles of Prescot Parish Church Choir sing Jubilate Deo at Parish Musicians in Concert on Friday 21 September at 7pm in Prescot Parish Church. The concert will also see premieres of three early works by Robert Howard: piano miniatures Pastoral Intermezzo and Prelude in F (both 1993), and Pierrot (1992), for solo bassoon; each piece will be played by the composer himself. For just £5 on the door (u16s free with a paying adult), audiences will enjoy about 75 minutes of music from organist Tim Hall and soloists, followed by complimentary cake and wine.

On 6 October St Helens Choral Society will perform three of Rob’s motets – Ave Verum Corpus, Alleluia and Jubilate Deo. The concert, entitled ‘O Radiant Dawn – A Celebration of 20th & 21st Century Choral Music’ and conducted by Stephen Newlove, will take place at St Thomas’s Church in St Helens (Peter Street, WA10 2EB – please note the change of venue from that advertised earlier) at 7.30pm. Call 01695 625500 for ticket reservations or email info@sthelenschoralsociety.org. The cost is £10, or £1 for students.

Then on 17 November, Liverpool Mozart Orchestra will feature Robert’s 2015 work Cortege as part of a WWI remembrance concert in Liverpool’s Capstone Theatre.

Performances ahead for Robert Howard Compositions

Following the successful US premiere of Robert’s Ave verum corpus during Holy Week, several performances of his other works are ahead in May.

Prescot Parish Church Choir will revisit Ave verum corpus during Eucharist at Prescot Parish Church on Sunday 13 May. All are welcome, and entry to the service is, of course, free.

The composer will play some of his own solo bassoon pieces on Tuesday 15 May as part of a concert with the South Liverpool Orchestra, which he conducts. Among them will be his early piece The Clown (listen here). The event starts at 8pm at St James’s Methodist/URC Church on Church Road South, Woolton, Liverpool, L25 7RJ. Tickets are £4 on the door.

Finally, last year’s choral work Alleluia is being sung as part of the RSCM Liverpool Come & Sing at St Nicholas’s Church in Sutton (New Street, St Helens, WA9 3UB) at 7pm on Thursday 17 May. The event takes the form of a workshop rehearsal under conductor Dr Ian Sharp, accompanied by organist George Swift, followed by a short service of worship. It costs £5 to participate, and refreshments are provided afterwards.

Details of other upcoming performances, including at the 14th Annual Prescot Festival of Music & the Arts in June, are coming soon.

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.

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 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.

‘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

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.

Performances, Premieres & a Birthday Milestone for Robert Howard

Following a string of successful performances of his works at this year’s Prescot Festival – and as he approaches his 40th distinguished year – Robert Howard has several more performances of his compositions in the pipeline.

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The composer himself will be at the piano on Friday 23 September at 7.00pm at Prescot Parish Church, when he plays three of his piano miniatures: Chorale for St Andrews, Still and In Memory. The third of these will be the premiere of the arrangement. You can listen to all three and view score excerpts on the compositions page.

The concert, which also features flautist Laura Bonnett, tenor David Kernick and organist Tim Hall, is a fundraiser for the parish, and tickets are just £5 on the door. Over an hour of music will be followed by cake and wine, included in the admission price.

December 2016 sees Robert in concert with the South Liverpool Orchetra, when he will be soloist in Elgar’s Romance for bassoon and orchestra. The SLO Christmas Concert takes place at Hope University Chapel on Tuesday 6 December at 8pm, and the £4 admission price includes a buffet.

Prescot Parish Church Choir give the first performance of the SATB arrangement of Robert’s 2002 carol A Babe Is Born on Thursday 8 December. Several local church and school choirs also take part in this Christmas concert, held in aid of the Mayor of Prescot’s charities. It starts at 7.00pm at Prescot Parish Church and costs £5 on the door, including refreshments.

Robert also has seasonal conducting engagements with Prescot Parish Church Choir, Phoenix Concert Orchestra and St Edward’s College orchestras throughout December.

And finally, Robert is delighted to announce that his two 2016 sacred choral works, Ave verum corpus and Jubilate Deo, both written for and premiered by Prescot Parish Church Choir, have entered the repertoire of Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral (Youth) Choir and the choirs of St Edward’s College, Liverpool. Listen to the original performances here.

Photo: Robert Howard conducts the South Liverpool Orchestra with trumpeter Hannah Mackenzie at the 2016 Prescot Festival (Christopher Lyon Photography)