Founded in 2008, 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.
In previous years, Wells Cathedral Choir has premiered works by the following composers during the new music wells festival:
Sir Peter Maxwell Davies CBE, Richard Allain, David Bednall, Robin Walker, Paul Zaba (Wells Cathedral School)
Jonathan Dove, Gabriel Jackson, Sir James MacMillan CBE, Iain Quinn (USA)
Judith Bingham, Gary Davison (USA), Timothy Noon, Jeremy Woodside (New Zealand)
Howard Skempton, Philip Wilby, and Elizabeth Edwards (Wells Cathedral School)
Jonathan Dove, Philip Moore, Howard Skempton, and Owain Park (Wells Cathedral School)
John Joubert (two works), Howard Skempton (organ solo), and Jack May (Wells Cathedral School)
Sir John Tavener, Brian Chapple, Ronald Corp, and Adam Hickox (Wells Cathedral School, organ solo)
Michael Berkeley CBE, William Drakett, and Robin Walker
Judith Weir CBE (Master of the Queen’s Music), Stuart Beer, William Drakett, Matthew Owens, and Thomas Carling
Howard Skempton, Francis Jackson, Judith Bingham, Philip Wilby, and Rebecca Farthing (Wells Cathedral School)
Michael Berkeley CBE, Diana Burrell, Kerensa Briggs, William Drakett, Rebecca Farthing (Wells Cathedral School), and Thomas Nettle (Wells Cathedral School)
Jonathan Dove CBE, Judith Bingham, Owain Park, Wells Cathedral School students
Established in 2006, Cathedral Commissions is a scheme run by Wells Cathedral to raise funds for the commissioning of new works from some of today’s most exciting composers, and to share the thrill of commissioning with as many people as possible. The scheme is open to anyone and is a rewarding and enjoyable way to support living composers, the glorious English choral tradition, and the Choir of Wells Cathedral.
As well as performing glorious music from the Renaissance through to the twentieth century, the choir excels at performing exciting new music within the ancient Cathedral services. The commissioning of adventurous and innovative repertoire engages people in Wells Cathedral, in the wider English choral tradition, and in the concert hall.
Cathedral Commissions enables Wells Cathedral to commission a greater number of pieces from more composers than would otherwise be possible with existing funds. Our Commissioners provide the essential financial support for a new piece of music to be brought into being.
Each new piece of music requires a group of Cathedral Commissioners to donate ‘Commission Units’ in multiples of £100. These can be donated for a particular composer (by contacting the Administrator) or you can let Cathedral Commissions choose a composer for you. Payments can either be made in one sum or by monthly instalments by Standing Order.
As a Cathedral Commissioner you have the following privileges:
To become a Commissioner please download and print one of the attached forms:
Become a Commissioner (pdf)
Or for more information please contact: The Administrator, Cathedral Commissions, Wells Cathedral Music Office, Chain Gate, Cathedral Green, Wells BA5 2UE.