Judith Bingham - Composer
Born in Nottingham in 1952, and raised in Mansfield and Sheffield, Judith Bingham began composing as a small child, and then studied composing and singing at the Royal Academy of Music in London. She was awarded the Principal’s prize in 1971, and 6 years later the BBC Young Composer award. Recent composition prizes include: the Barlow Prize for a cappella music in 2004, two British Composer Awards in 2004 (choral and liturgical) one in 2006 (choral) and the instrumental award in 2008.
Judith Bingham was a member of the BBC Singers for many years, and between 2004 and 2009 she was their ‘Composer in Association’, during which time she wrote a series of choral works. Several of these were for the BBC Singers, but there were also pieces for other professional, amateur and collegiate choirs, including Salt in the Blood, written for the BBC Symphony Chorus to perform at the 1995 Proms, a Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis for King’s College Cambridge, and diverse anthems and church works for many UK cathedrals. A CD of some of her choral works –‘Remoter Worlds’ by the BBC Singers was released in 2009 on the Signum label. In 2007 she was made a Fellow of the Royal School of Church Music for distinguished services to church music.
Although Bingham’s output is marked by the number and variety of its choral works, she has always been seen as an all-rounder, and the scope of her activities has included pieces for brass band, symphonic wind ensemble and various chamber groups and solo instruments, concertos for trumpet and bassoon and tuba, and several impressive works for large orchestra. She has written a substantial body of pieces for organ including Jacob’s Ladder, a concerto written for Stephen Cleobury and Philip Brunelle. A CD of her organ music performed by Tom Winpenny will be released in 2010. A carol God would be born in thee was performed at the King’s College Cambridge Nine Lessons and Carols at Christmas 2004 and was released by EMI on the CD ‘On Christmas Day’. Recently her works have included See and Keep Silent for the BBC Singers and Guy Johnston, and Shadow Aspect for choir, organ and timpani, written for the Edinburgh Royal Choral Union.
Stephen Farr - Organist
Stephen Farr is Director of Music at St Paul’s Church, Knightsbridge, and at Worcester College, Oxford, posts which he combines with a varied career as soloist, continuo player, and conductor. He was Organ Scholar of Clare College, Cambridge, graduating with a double first in Music and an MPhil in musicology. He then held appointments at Christ Church, Oxford, and at Winchester and Guildford Cathedrals.
A former student of David Sanger and a prizewinner at international competition level, he has an established reputation as one of the leading recitalists of his generation, and has appeared in the UK in venues including the Royal Albert Hall (where he gave the premiere of Judith Bingham’s The Everlasting Crown in the BBC Proms 2011); Bridgewater Hall; Symphony Hall, Birmingham; Westminster Cathedral; King’s College, Cambridge, St Paul’s Celebrity Series and Westminster Abbey: he also appears frequently on BBC Radio 3 as both performer and presenter.
He has performed widely in both North and South America (most recently as guest soloist and director at the Cartagena International Music Festival), in Australia, and throughout Europe.
He has a particular commitment to contemporary music, and has been involved in premieres of works by composers including Patrick Gowers, Francis Pott and Robert Saxton; he also collaborated with Thomas Adès in a recording of Under Hamelin Hill, part of an extensive and wide-ranging discography.
His concerto work has included engagements with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Ulster Orchestra and the London Mozart Players; he made his debut in the Amsterdam Concertgebouw in 2005. He has also worked with many other leading ensembles including the Berlin Philharmonic (with whom he appeared in the premiere of Jonathan Harvey’s Weltethos under Sir Simon Rattle in October 2011), Florilegium, the Bach Choir, Holst Singers, BBC Singers, Polyphony, The English Concert, London Baroque Soloists, City of London Sinfonia, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Wallace Collection, Endymion Ensemble, the Philharmonia, Academy of Ancient Music, Britten Sinfonia and Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.