new music wells

new music wells

forty years of music: a celebration

Sunday 16 – Thursday 20 October 2016

Founded in 2008 by Matthew Owens, Organist and Master of the Choristers, this innovative festival is a retrospective of sacred choral and organ music of the previous forty years during all services, together with world premiere performances by Wells Cathedral Choir and organists of music by internationally renowned composers, local composers, and composition students from Wells Cathedral School. There are also concerts and a public masterclass with the featured composer of the year. The festival’s President is British composer, Judith Bingham, following on from the late Jonathan Harvey.

The 2016 new music wells festival will take place from Sunday 16 – Thursday 20 October. This year’s distinguished featured composer is Judith Weir CBE, Master of the Queen’s Music. Her new choral work, Leaf from leaf christ knows will be premiered by Wells Cathedral Choir on Thursday 20 October at the 5.15pm service of Choral Evensong. She will be in conversation with fellow composers at an Evening with the Master of the Queen’s Music on Wednesday 19 October, at the cathedral, and will give a public composition masterclass in Cedars Hall on the afternoon of Thursday 20 October. Admission to all of these events is free.

The festival will also include world premiere performances of works by local composers Stuart Beer, William Drakett, and Matthew Owens; and by Thomas Carling, who was a student at Wells Cathedral School up until July of this year.

There will be three concerts during the week: students from Wells Cathedral School will give lunchtime recitals on Tuesday 18 and Wednesday 19 October at 1.05pm, including music by the school’s student composers. In addition, international concert organist, Gordon Stewart, will give an organ recital at 1.05pm on Thursday 20 October. The concert will feature music by Naji Hakim, Andrew Carter, and Judith Weir. Admission to all three performances is free, with retiring collections to support Wells Cathedral Music.

Times of Services for the festival

Sunday: Eucharist 9.45am, Mattins 11.30am, Evensong 3.00pm

Monday to Thursday: Evensong 5.15pm


In previous years, Wells Cathedral Choir has premiered works by the following composers during the new music wells festival:

new music wells 68-08

Sir Peter Maxwell Davies CBE, Richard Allain, David Bednall, Robin Walker, Paul Zaba (Wells Cathedral School)

new music wells 69-09

Jonathan Dove, Gabriel Jackson, Sir James MacMillan CBE, Iain Quinn (USA)

new music wells 70-10

Judith Bingham, Gary Davison (USA), Timothy Noon, Jeremy Woodside (New Zealand)

new music wells 71-11

Howard Skempton, Philip Wilby, and Elizabeth Edwards (Wells Cathedral School)

new music wells 72-12

Jonathan Dove, Philip Moore, Howard Skempton, and Owain Park (Wells Cathedral School)

new music wells 73-13

John Joubert (two works), Howard Skempton (organ solo), and Jack May (Wells Cathedral School)

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Sir John Tavener, Brian Chapple, Ronald Corp, and Adam Hickox (Wells Cathedral School, organ solo) 

new music wells 75-15

Lord Michael Berkeley CBE, William Drakett, and Robin Walker