Organ at Stratford Summer Music - 2008

Since its inception in 2001, Stratford Summer Music has presented the world’s leading organists in concert and as master-teachers for advanced Canadian students in its annual Organ Concerts and Academy. Since that beginning it has also welcomed great choirs from Canada and abroad. From Wednesday July 30 to Sunday August 3rd 2008 the 8th annual Stratford Summer Music brought these two streams together as it welcomed the choir of St. Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral, Edinburgh, and its Organist and Director, Duncan Ferguson and Organ Scholar Nicholas Wearne. It also launched a multi-year series of Sunday afternoon concerts entitled “The Heritage of the Organ” with a rousing Salute to Scotland. For information on the artists featured in the four concerts, click here.


Thu 31 July, 11:15am, Knox Presbyterian Church
Anthems from the English Choral Tradition
Choir of St. Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral, Edinburgh
Duncan Ferguson, organist and director
Nicholas Wearne, organist

Fri 1 August, 11:15am, Knox Presbyterian Church
Music from Scotland
(traditional Scottish songs, and contemporary compositions by Scottish composers)

Choir of St. Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral, Edinburgh
Duncan Ferguson, organist and director
Nicholas Wearne, organist

Saturday 2 August, 11:15am
Music for a Summer’s Day
Choir of St. Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral, Edinburgh
Duncan Ferguson, organist and director
Nicholas Wearne, organist

Sunday 3 August, 2pm
Heritage of the Organ: “Salute to Scotland!”
Alasdair Elliott, tenor
Allan Eaton, pipe major
Andrea Dawes, violinist (and fiddler)
Christopher Dawes, organist and pianist

download the program from this concert
visit the Stratford Summer Music “Heritage of the Organ” page


St Mary's Episcopal Cathedral ChoirThe Choir of St. Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral, Edinburgh
has been described by The Sunday Times as 'one of the UK's finest cathedral choirs'. It is unique in Scotland, in maintaining a daily choral tradition and singing over 250 services every year. The choristers are educated at St Mary's Music School, which acts as the choir school for the cathedral, again unique in Scotland. St Mary's Cathedral became the first in the UK to offer girls scholarships to sing with the boys as trebles in 1978. The lay clerks of the choir consist of undergraduate choral scholars reading a diverse range of subjects at Edinburgh University and more experienced singers. The choir broadcasts frequently on BBC Radio 3 and on television, and has made a number of highly acclaimed recordings on the Herald, Lammas, Naxos and Priory labels. It has a busy schedule of concerts and, in recent years, has worked with the King's Consort, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, and the Scottish Concert Orchestra. It has toured extensively within recent years to France, Germany, Holland, America and Switzerland. During the Edinburgh International Festival, the choir is in residence, singing the daily services and broadcasting Choral Evensong on BBC Radio 3, as well as giving a number of concerts in the Festival Fringe. Many leading composers have written for the choir including Kenneth Leighton (three works), Francis Jackson and Francis Grier. Under the present Master of the Music they have premiered a further work by Francis Jackson, works by Richard Allain, Gabriel Jackson, James MacMillan, Howard Skempton, Philip Wilby and Hungarian composer Janos Vajda as well as works by younger generation of composers.

A short video about the choir, made on the occasion of a recent recording on the American Pro Organo label, may be viewed here

Two of Britain’s rising talents, Duncan Ferguson and Nicholas Wearne,
are playing the great organ and leading the music at St. Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral Edinburgh, and will be visiting Stratford with their Cathedral Choir during Summer Music’s 2008 organ week.

DF outdoor smallDuncan Ferguson was previously Assistant Organist at St. Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral, Edinburgh since 2005, and before that, Organ Scholar of St. Paul’s Cathedral London and Magdalen College Oxford. He has taken part in recording project by all three of these fine and widely respected choirs, most recently one on the American label Pro Organo.
Mr. Ferguson, a performer and teacher of distinction, will conduct two Masterclasses at Stratford Summer Music 2008: one for organists at the great organ of Knox Presbyterian Church on Thursday July 31st at 2:00pm and the other for Choral Conductors using the Choir of St. Mary’s Catherdral on Friday July 1st at 2:00pm. For information on participating in either Masterclass session, click here.


Nick1 smallNicholas Wearne is Assistant Organist at St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral, Edinburgh. Before coming to Edinburgh, Nick was Organ Scholar and then Assistant Organist at New College, Oxford. In addition to accompanying his share of the daily services under the direction of Dr Edward Higginbottom, Nick’s work with the Choir of New College included live broadcasts on BBC Radio 3, concerts throughout Europe, America and Japan and the recording of eleven C.D.s. Latterly, Nick combined the position with that of Organist at the University Church and with reading for the M. Phil. degree in Musicology and Performance at the Music Faculty. In 2001 - 2002 he was Organ Scholar at Truro Cathedral.


To round out the 2008 Organ Week at Stratford Summer Music, four fine artists from different musical worlds join to celebrate the majesty, dignity, beauty and energy of Scotland through its music. Organist Christopher Dawes, no stranger to Stratford Summer Music audiences, is joined by Pipe Major Allan M. Eaton, CD, Scottish tenor Alasdair Elliott and Montreal-based fiddler Andrea Dawes.

AME1 smallPipe Major Allan M. Eaton, CD currently serves as Pipe Major to the Halton Regional Police Pipes and Drums, having served the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders in similar capacity from 1989-2004. While living in Hamburg, Germany from 1984-1988 he was a founding member and Pipe Major to Grant’s Clan Pipers and the Scandanavian Seaways Pipes and Drums, the latter of which won the Federal Republic of Germany Championship Competition in 1988. He appears on some eight recordings, one with the pipe organ of St. Jacob’s Cathedral in Hamburg. He first worked with organist Christopher Dawes in a 1995 CBC broadcast raising funds for fire-ravaged St. George’s Round Church in Halifax.

Alasdair Elliott smallGlaswegian tenor Alasdair Elliott is an internationally-celebrated star of the operatic stage, and also a true Scot with a great love for the music of his homeland. One of the UK’s leading tenors, his recent portrayals of Pong for the Teatro Real, Madrid and the Royal Opera, Covent Garden; David’s Die Meistersinger for Staatstheatre Stuttgart; Monostatos’ Die Zauberflöte in Lisbon; Vasek’s The Bartered Bride for Glyndebourne; Torquemada’s L’heure espangnole for La Monnaie; Midas’ Die Schöne Galatea for Buxton Festival; and Skuratov for Welsh National Opera have placed him at the forefront as one of Europe's leading character tenors. Mr. Elliott studied at The Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama and The Guildhall School of Music with Laura Sarti, with whom he continues to study. He studied at The Britten Pears School with Sir Peter Pears and at The National Opera Studio. He has taken part in Master classes conducted by Graziella Schutti, Elizabeth Schwartzkopf, Hugh Cuenod, Nancy Evans, Thomas Allan and John Copley.

ADawes smallA native of (just north of) Kingston, Ontario, Andrea Dawes has been fiddling around in Montreal, Quebec for nearly a decade. Her musical endeavours span two provinces and numerous genres, and have allowed her to explore the many diverse ways in which a violin and viola can be played. While she enjoys offering vocal and string-based harmonies to indie rock projects and jamming on Shostakovitch string quartets, Andrea is also very at home with jigs, reels and waltzes. 
Her traditional fiddling repertoire was built on
the strong foundations of her father's roots up and down the Ottawa River valley, and has been helped along by various encouraging fiddle circle friends, and stints as "the fiddler" in traditional music bands.