new music wells & Cathedral Commissions

new music wells & Cathedral Commissions


new music wells

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.

Past Festivals

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)

new music wells 74-14

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

new music wells 75-15

Michael Berkeley CBE, William Drakett, and Robin Walker

new music wells 76-16

Judith Weir CBE (Master of the Queen’s Music), Stuart Beer, William Drakett, Matthew Owens, and Thomas Carling

new music wells 77-17

Howard Skempton, Francis Jackson, Judith Bingham, Philip Wilby, and Rebecca Farthing (Wells Cathedral School)

new music wells 78-18

Michael Berkeley CBE, Diana Burrell, Kerensa Briggs, William Drakett, Rebecca Farthing (Wells Cathedral School), and Thomas Nettle (Wells Cathedral School)

new music wells 79-19

Jonathan Dove CBE, Judith Bingham, Owain Park, Wells Cathedral School students

Cathedral Commissions

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.

How the Scheme works

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:

  • An invitation to attend special rehearsals, with the composer in attendance, and be a VIP guest at the première of the new work
  • Receive a signed copy of the score and have your name printed in the service programme
  • Meet the composer at a special Commissioners’ Reception and discuss their work with them
  • Directly support a composer’s work
  • Directly support the ancient Music Foundation of Wells Cathedral and the English choral tradition

To become a Commissioner

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.

Listen to our Music

Wells Cathedral is open to all visitors. Opening times are 7am-7pm. The Shop and Café are also open.