Scores Now Available on Sheet Music Plus (& Other News)

Robert Howard’s music is now available to download via Sheet Music Plus, ‘the world’s largest sheet music selection.’ Fourteen choral and piano solo works are already in the collection, and more are being added regularly.

Visit sheetmusicplus.com to browse compositions, preview scores, listen to audio excerpts and purchase sheet music.

Successful Festive Season

Advent and Christmas saw performances of Robert’s compositions, with Prescot Parish Church Choir singing his 2002 carol ‘A Babe Is Born’ on four occasions. Of these, the Mayor of Prescot’s Charity Christmas Concert, with an audience of almost 500, is most notable; the event, which Robert helped organise in his capacity as artistic director of the Prescot Festival, raised more than £1,400 for local causes.

Robert also enjoyed several conducting engagements over the festive season, with Liverpool Mozart Orchestra, South Liverpool Orchestra, Phoenix Concert Orchestra, Prescot Parish Church Choir and the three orchestras of St Edward’s College. The LMO concert was a particular highlight, with BBC Radio Merseyside star Roger Phillips appearing to narrate Prokofiev’s much-loved children’s work Peter and the Wolf.

Piano Premiere 6 March

Stephen Mannings will give the first performance of Robert’s 2009 piano piece Rotations on Friday 6 March at Prescot Parish Church. The concert, which starts at 7pm, also features the Gilbert Scott Singers – Liverpool Cathedral’s official youth choir – and Danielle Louise Thomas, the mezzo-soprano known as the ‘Voice of Liverpool’ (pictured). Danielle will sing the solo part in a performance of the beautifully meditative 2017 choral work Alleluia. Visit prescotfestival.co.uk for more details of the concert, including ticket information.

Coming soon: News of other upcoming performances by Prescot Parish Church Choir, South Liverpool Orchestra, Liverpool Cathedral outreach choirs and the Prescot Festival Chorus.

Record-breaking Prescot Festival & More News

This year’s Prescot Festival of Music & the Arts broke records, with an unprecedented 1,700 through the doors of Prescot Parish Church and other venues.

The 10-day cultural celebration took place between Friday 21 and Sunday 30 June, and this year’s was the 15th since Rob founded it in 2005. Highlights included appearances by Dr Jazz & the Cheshire Cats, the Band & Drums of the Cheshire Constabulary and the world-renowned Liverpool Cathedral Choir. Maghull Wind Orchestra were joined by soprano Danielle Louise Thomas – the ‘Voice of Liverpool’ – for the Proms-style finale, which attracted an audience of 325, an increase of 100 on last year.

Two of Rob’s own compositions were performed during this year’s festival, with Alleluia (2018) opening this year’s ‘Come & Sing’ concert. The following day, Metropolitan Cathedral organist Richard Lea played the 2014 piece Meditation, dedicated to Lea and fellow organist Ian Tracey.

Elsewhere over the summer, Liverpool Cathedral Junior Choir sang Robert’s Ave verum corpus, while the Ormskirk Music Society Orchestra played the stirring 2015 work Cortege. In May, Rob was soloist in Mozart’s Bassoon Concerto, with the South Liverpool Orchestra.

Trinity Sunday, on 16 June, was the occasion of a premiere – Bread of the World, dedicated to Jacquie Kernick, who passed away on 26 March. The meditative hymn was sung by the choir during Eucharist at Prescot Parish Church.

Upcoming Performances

Prescot Parish Church Choir will sing Bread of the World again on at Parish Musicians in Concert later this month. Soprano Elizabeth Lyon will sing the solo voice version of For Mary, Mother of Our Lord (2018), accompanied by Stephen Mannings on piano, and the composer will play his own piano miniatures: Pastoral Intermezzo No. 2 (1994), The Mystery of the Trinity (1998) and Mother and Child (2000). All four compositions are premieres.

Parish Musicians in Concert takes place at Prescot Parish Church on Friday 27 September, at 7pm. Tim Hall, celebrating his 40th anniversary as Parish Organist, is joined by Prescot Parish Church Choir for 75 minutes of vocal and instrumental music, followed by cake and wine. Tickets are £5 on the door.

Looking even further ahead, Rob will conduct the Liverpool Mozart Orchestra for the first time on Sunday 8 December at 2.30pm in the Capstone Theatre at Liverpool Hope University Creative Campus (Shaw Street, Liverpool). The concert of ‘Festive Favourites’ features BBC Radio Merseyside’s Roger Phillips narrating Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf.

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.

12th Prescot Festival to Showcase Robert A Howard Compositions

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The final night of upcoming Prescot Festival of Music & the Arts will feature two works by the festival’s Founder and Artistic Director, Dr Robert Howard.

Opening on Friday 17 June, the 10-day programme ends on Sunday 26 June with Choral Evensong followed by a Regal Festival Finale.

At Festival Choral Evensong (6pm, Prescot Parish Church), the parish’s own choir, with organist Tim Hall, will perform a new sacred piece, Jubilate Deo, that Robert has composed especially for the occasion.

Written with flexibility, simplicity and singability for younger choristers in mind, the anthem is something of a companion piece to Ave Verum Corpus, written for the choir to premiere on Good Friday, earlier this year. It is dedicated to the Reverend Captain Peter Cowley.

See score excerpts and hear an electronic recording here.

Then, in the finale at 7.30pm, Rob will conduct the South Liverpool Orchestra in a Proms-style programme that includes music by such luminaries of British music as Walton and Elgar.

Among these will be Robert’s four-movement Festival Suite. In form and style, it echoes both Benjamin Britten’s Simple Symphony and Malcolm Arnold’s dance suites inspired by the various nations making up the British Isles, and it is dedicated to the latter composer in honour of his passing in 2006.

The suite uses material Robert wrote in his youth and later revised or orchestrated, and it was first compiled for and performed by the Knowsley Youth Orchestra, under Simon Gay, in their 2006-2007 season, first at the Conference of British Youth Orchestras, then at the Kirkby Civic Suite, and finally at the third Prescot Festival.

Its movements are:

I) Procession (1995)
II)  Dance (1994)
III) Folksong (1993)
IV) Like Clockwork (2003), an homage to Prescot’s clock-making heritage originally commissioned for the KYO

The 12th Annual Prescot Festival of Music & the Arts runs from Friday 17 to Sunday 26 June, and full programme information is online at www.prescotfestival.co.uk.

South Liverpool Orchestra Celebrates 40 Years of Music-Making

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As conductor of the South Liverpool Orchestra since 2011, Robert was delighted to lead them in celebrating their 40th anniversary on 17th May.

The programme at the gala concert featured the best of British composers, including Benjamin Britten, Edward Elgar, William Walton and Robert Howard himself.

His 1995 orchestral piece Procession was originally written as an A-level music submission, and was first performed by – and dedicated to – the Wirral Youth Orchestra under conductor Anthony Ridley.

Alan Humphreys captured the occasion on camera, and you can soak up the festive atmosphere yourself by viewing the full album on the SLO Facebook page.

In other composition-related news, the Liverpool division of the Royal School of Church Music recently chose Robert’s Ave Verum Corpus – written for Good Friday 2016 for Prescot Parish Church Choir – as part of the programme for a ‘Come & Sing’ workshop featuring choirs from across the diocese.

Dr Ian Sharp conducted, with George Swift at the organ. The Passiontide anthem, written with flexibility, simplicity and singability in mind, has generated interest from several church choirs.

And in case you missed it, back in March, one of Robert’s older compositions was given new life again in a London performance by the KNM Campus Ensemble of Berlin.

Cortege Receives Premiere, Second Performance 28 June

Dr Robert Howard’s latest composition, Cortege, received its first performance on 19 May 2015 at Liverpool Hope University Chapel.

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A stirring piece for full orchestra, it has a march-like quality, beginning subtly and growing in intensity towards its climax, exhibiting a rousing, rhythmic style that is all the composer’s own.

The South Liverpool Orchestra will play the piece again at the finale of the 11th Annual Prescot Festival of Music & the Arts on 28 June, in St Mary’s Church Prescot. The programme also includes music by Sibelius, Rossini, Bizet and Elgar, as well as a performance of Haydn’s Trumpet Concerto, with soloist Hannah Mackenzie.

Pictured: Robert conducts the premiere of Cortege (photo by Alan Humphreys)

Robert Howard Completes Latest Composition

Dr Robert Howard has recently completed his latest composition, Cortege (2015), for orchestra.

He has composed it for South Liverpool Orchestra, David Kernick (co-founder and webmaster of the Prescot Festival), and the 11th Annual Prescot Festival of Music and the Arts.

The piece will initially be performed by South Liverpool Orchestra (Liverpool Hope University) and conducted by the composer. The piece lasts approximately six minutes.

The first performance will be on Tuesday 19 May, 8pm at Liverpool Hope University Chapel, Taggart Avenue, Childwall, Liverpool, L16 9JD. Tickets are only £3.50 on the door, and the concert also includes works by Rossini, Purcell/Britten, Fucik and Elgar, as well as Sibelius’s Finlandia. The event will be followed by a buffet.

The second performance, and first festival performance, is on Sunday 28 June, 7.30pm, at Prescot Parish Church, Church Street, Prescot, Merseyside, L34 1LA. This is as part of the finale of the 11th Prescot Festival of Music & the Arts (www.prescotfestival.co.uk). Tickets are £5, and the concert also includes Haydn’s Trumpet Concerto (soloist – Hannah MacKenzie (RNCM)) and works by Rossini, Purcell/Britten, Fucik, Elgar, Sibelius, Arne and Parry.

Once again, the orchestra will be conducted by the composer, Dr Robert Howard.

Christmas 2014 Concerts for Dr Robert Howard

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Dr Robert Howard will be conducting three concerts this festive season:

  • Tuesday 9 December, 7.30pm, Chapel at Hope University, Taggart Avenue, Childwall – South Liverpool Orchestra Christmas Concert, with Hope Park Voices and the Wavertree String Quartet. Rob will be conducting the orchestra and the congregational carols;
  • Thursday 11 December, 7.00pm, Prescot Parish Church – Mayor of Prescot’s Charity Christmas Concert, with Neston Brass Quintet, St Mary and St Paul’s Primary School Choir, Evelyn Primary School & Staff Choirs, and Prescot Parish Church Choir.  Rob will be compering the evening, singing with PPCC and conducting the congregational carols;
  • Sunday 21 December, 2.00pm, Palm House, Sefton Park)- Phoenix Concert Orchestra Christmas Concert.  Rob will compering and conducting the majority of the pieces.

As well as those listed above, Rob will be conducting and participating in several Christmas events at St Edward’s College, Liverpool, where he teaches.

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