IMPROVISER/CONCERT ORGANIST/COMPOSER

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Biography

Neil Wright Composer

NEIL WRIGHT STUDIED ORGAN, PIANO, HARPSICHORD AND CLAVICHORD AT THE ROYAL NORTHERN COLLEGE OF MUSIC WITH DAME GILLIAN WEIR, ERIC CHADWICK . HE GRADUATED WITH THE RNCM PRIZE FOR PLAYING BACH. IN 1976 HE CAME TO PUBLIC ATTENTION WHEN HE WAS FEATURED ON BBC TELEVISION PLAYING THE CAVAILLÉ-COLL/LEWIS ORGAN OF MANCHESTER TOWN HALL. IN 1979 HE BECAME A FELLOW OF THE ROYAL COLLEGE OF ORGANISTS, WINNING THE DIXON PRIZE FOR EXTEMPORISATION.

Shortly after graduating Neil moved to the United States, where he worked as an organist, singer and choral director, founding Lauda, an ensemble devoted to the performance of early choral music.

He later undertook further study in improvisation and composition with Naji Hakim. He also attended improvisation classes with Peter Planyavsky, Bert Matter, Guy Bovet and Loïc Mallié, twice winning prizes in the prestigious International Organ Improvisation Competitions in Haarlem, Netherlands, and also in the Pachelbel Prize competition, Nuremberg. After several years as Assistant Organist of the Brompton Oratory he was appointed Organist of the recently restored Cavaillé-Coll organ at St Michael’s Abbey, Farnborough, Hampshire. Neil’s recordings of the Cavaillé-Coll organ of Farnborough Abbey include Le Tombeau d’Eugénie – works by Franck, Guilmant and Berlioz, L’Organiste – the complete suites for organ by César Franck, Trois Pièces also by Franck, and Quatre Pièces Opus 37 by Joseph Jongen. Among his compositions for organ are Choral first performed at the Brompton Oratory, London in 2001 and A Dreame and Fugue Angelicall, composed and first performed in Bayonne, France in 1999,  recorded by Martin Stacey on the organ of St John’s, Islington, on Triduum (Priory Records).  Other works include a mass, songs, and motets, including music for the liturgy of Holy Week. A compilation of selected French classic is currently in production.

Video recordings of improvisations at Farnborough Abbey, and of improvisations during the summer art Festival 2014 on the splendid St Martin organ in St Michael’s, Bedford Park, London, are on Youtube – Sonnette Music Channel.

Engagements for 2017 include Dresden Cathedral, Carmel Valley California, Queen’s College Oxford, Lille, and Farnborough Abbey. Recent appearances have include Westminster Central Hall, Arundel Cathedral, Tagliacozzo Festival Italy, Stuttgart-Schondorf Orgelnacht, Åland Orgel Festival Finland, Friedenskirche Potsdam, Cremona Cathedral, Ealing Abbey, Maria Laach Abbey Germany, Vannes Cathedral, Eglise de la Trinité Paris. He was particularly honoured to participate in Les Rencontres Marcel Dupré Festival in Paris.

Neil teaches organ, improvisation, and piano, and composes for the choir of Holy Redeemer, Chelsea.  He has recently been commissioned to compose a choral work for the Bevan Family Consort which they performed in their concert as part of the Cadogan Hall 2016 series.

 

 

Latest

Art exhibit improvisations

Below are the Youtube links to three of seven improvised pieces forming part of a programme for the Bedford Park Festival concert in June 2014 – a lively event with much coming and going during the course of the concert. The large “Arts & Crafts” church, just metres from Turnham Green tube station, was the venue for an art exhibition.  As soon as an art work was displayed I launched immediately into an improvised commentary.

Summer Moon http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i7zeXAUCZHY

Les Desmoiselles http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHSeBI_TqUQ

Liberty http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cG2EhtO9e-s

The new organ in St Michael’s, Bedford Park is by the Swiss company St. Martin

http://www3.orgues-et-vitraux.ch/default.asp/2-0-3559-11-6-1/

Ealing Abbey Organ Concert 20 September 2014

To coincide with an inaugural lecture on Music in the Liturgy by the President of the Pontifical Institute of Liturgy there will be a recital on Saturday, 20th September at 3.15pm.  Neil Wright, organist from the Benedictine Abbey of St Michael’s Abbey, Farnborough will play a short concert on the Rushworth and Dreaper organ in St Benedict’s Abbey Church. The programme will conclude with an improvisation on a theme of St Hildegard von Bingen, in whose honour the lecture is to be given.

 

 

 

Farnborough Abbey 1 May 2016 3pm

Neil Wright will open the Farnborough Abbey Cavaillé-Coll organ concert series with music by Duruflé, Jongen, Langlais & Bossi concluding with an improvisation. Refreshments will follow immediately after the concert. Visit the abbey website’s organ page at http://www.farnboroughabbey.org/visiting/organ-recitals/ and see Oscar Rooke’s photos of the organ at www.cavaille-coll.co.uk

 

Available For

concerts, recitals masterclasses, accompaniment, new music, and arrangements

Upcoming events

16 October 2016, 15:00
Westminster Central Hall Sunday 16 October 3pm Neil Wright will play the mighty four-manual Hill organ in works by Dubois, Franck, Jongen, Messiaen and Bach, concluding with an improvisation on a theme given by Gerard Brooks the resident organist of the Central Hall.

Venue: Westminster Central Hall

Cd's

NEIL WRIGHT HAS MADE SEVERAL COMMERCIAL RECORDINGS AND THOSE CD’S FEATURED BELOW ARE CURRENTLY AVAILABLE  DIRECT FROM NEIL.

Le Tombeau d’Eugenie

Le Tombeau d’Eugenie

Neil Wright plays Franck Choral No 1 in E major, Prière & Pastorale; Guilmant Marche in D major; Berlioz Trois Pièces pour Harmonium,

Of his CD recording of works by Franck, Berlioz and Guilmant Le Tombeau d¹Eugénie (PRCD802),

Organist’s Review wrote of Neil’s playing “…heart rending …a most important contribution to our understanding of the way the music should sound” and

“breathtaking…virtuosic playing” The Nordfriesland Landblatt.

César Franck - L'Organiste

César Franck – L’Organiste (2 disc set)

Neil Wright plays the complete nine suites of César Franck’s L’Organiste, written at the very end of his life in 1890 at the same time as the oft-performed Trois Chorals. The first six pieces of each suite are highly individual and diverse vignettes – colourful, lyrical, articulate and rhetorically perfect – thematically linked to one another through the transformation of themes. Each suite concludes with an extended movement recalling elements, themes, and sections of movements previously presented.

“Neil Wright uses the full resources of the Cavaillé-Coll, which, in spite of its modest size, produces a remarkable variety of colors, resplendent in the reverberant abbey. Wright’s sensitivity and rhythmic flexibility render Franck’s music as though the maître himself were improvising. These unjustly neglected little masterpieces reveal the breadth of the composer’s creativity; composed at his life’s end, they are, much like Brahms’s chorale preludes, the summation of a lifetime of creative endeavor. These sympathetic, authoritative performances on an authentic instrument are a most welcome and necessary addition to the Franck discography.”  The American Organist, 1 February 2010

César Franck - L'Organiste

Triduum

Among the choral works included are David Bevan’s Missa Brevis à8, Psalm 30, Psalm 103, and the Easter motet Exsultate Deo, and Neil Wright’s four Triduum motets, and the Triptych for the Institution of the Holy Eusharist. Martin Stacey performs on the 1963 Walker organ of St John the Evangelist, Islington two works for solo organ: Neil Wright’s Dreame and Fugue Angelicall and David Bevan’s Toccata and Fugue on BACH. The recording was made by Neil Collier of Priory Records in October 2007. The 12-page CD booklet includes notes about the music and performers, and the full text of the choral works.

Links & Contact

by email: neil@neilwright.co.uk
by phone: +44 (0)793 939 5523

The Cavaillé-Coll organ at Farnborough Abbey http://www.cavaille-coll.co.uk

Stephen D Smith runs a wonderful site with the most complete listings of organ concerts in the UK - venues, maps, stop lists, biographies, photos.

http://www.organrecitals.com