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.

A Babe Is Born: New Arrangement Receives Premiere

Thursday 10 December saw the premiere of Robert Howard’s new arrangement of his 2002 Christmas carol ‘A Babe Is Born.’

The performance, by tenor David Kernick (pictured), with the composer at the piano, took place at St Mary’s Church, Prescot, as part of the Mayor of Prescot’s Charity Christmas Concert.

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More than 350 people attended the concert, which raised an impressive £1,053.05 for local charitable causes Willowbrook Hospice and Prescot Army Cadets. A programme of carols and popular festive tunes featured Liverpool Brass Ensemble and several local school, church and community choirs.

The annual event is organised by the Prescot Festival, of which Dr Howard is Founder and Artistic Director.

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Photos: Christopher Lyon Photography

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 Performances, Friday 26 September

Press Release:

“Composer Dr Robert Howard is pleased to announce the second performance of his solo organ work ‘Meditation.’  Robert is Founder and Artistic Director of the Prescot Festival, and composed this work for Prescot Parish Organist Tim Hall, for the 10th Annual Prescot Festival (June 2014).

“The inspiration for the work was a recent visit with his students from St Edward’s College, Liverpool (Choir School to Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral) to La Trinité Church in Paris, where Messiaen was organist.

“‘Meditation’ will be performed as part of an evening of music and poetry commemorating the WWI centenary at Prescot Parish Church, Church Street, Prescot, Merseyside, L34 1LA, on Friday 26th September 2014, beginning at 7pm.

“The composer will also perform, for the first time, a revised version of his own solo piano work, entitled ‘Chagall Reflection.”

‘Meditation’ Premiere a Success

Robert is delighted to report that the first performance of Meditation, his work for solo organ, was very well received at the Prescot Festival late last month.

Parish Organist Tim Hall gave the premiere on the organ of St Mary’s Church, Prescot, prior to a well-attended Evensong on Sunday 29 July. It was widely reported both locally and in new music circles, online and offline. Other organists in the area have already taken up the piece, and Tim will be repeating the performance on Friday 26 September at 7pm as part of his annual recital at St Mary’s.

Copies of the full manuscript are available on request.

The composition was written specifically for the occasion of the 10th Annual Prescot Festival of Music & the Arts, which Robert founded in 2005. This year’s 10-day programme was an unprecedented success, attracting record audiences of 1,400 to a concert series that included organist Ian Tracey, Foden’s Band, and Dr Jazz & the Cheshire Cats.

New Piece to Premiere at Prescot Festival

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Composer Dr Robert Howard is pleased to announce the first performance of his new solo organ work for the 10th Annual Prescot Festival of Music & the Arts on Merseyside.

Robert is the Founder and Artistic Director of the Festival and has composed this work for Prescot Parish Organist Tim Hall. The inspiration for the work was a recent visit with his students from St Edward’s College, Liverpool (Choir School to Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral) to La Trinite Church in Paris, where Messiaen was organist.

Meditation will be performed at Festival Choral Evensong at Prescot Parish Church, Church Street, Prescot, Merseyside, L34 1LA, on Sunday 29 June 2014 prior to the 6pm service (approximately 5.50pm).

Click the thumbnail to view the score excerpt at full size.