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St Edmundsbury Cathedral Choir Tour Sofia and Plovdiv, Bulgaria

St Edmundsbury Cathedral Choir Tour Sofia and Plovdiv, Bulgaria

4/1/2008 5:00:07 PM

English choral music is amongst the finest in the world. St Edmundsbury Cathedral, in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, is one of the last English cathedrals to be completed. Although it was begun in the early sixteenth century, its great central tower was only recently opened by The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall.


St Edmundsbury Cathedral Choir consists of 12 men and 20 boys and sings six services per week. While visiting Sofia, they are performing a concert of music at St Josef’s Roman Catholic Cathedral, Sofia, on Thursday 27 March at 7.00 p.m. (1900), in the great Alexander Nevski Crypt on Saturday 29 March at 6.30 p.m. (1830), and at Plovdiv Concert Hall on Tuesday 1 April at 6.00 p.m. (18:00).


The Bulgarian Ambassador in London, Dr Lachezar Matev, is supporting the tour and says, “We are pleased that St Edmundsbury Cathedral Choir will visit our beautiful country where singing is held in very high esteem and has been for generations a popular means of expression of every human feeling.”


While in Bulgaria, the Choir is visiting several historic sites, including the Rila Monastery and the Boyana Church, as well as meeting local people and tasting Bulgarian food and wine.


The Reverend Michael Hampel, the priest in charge of music and worship at the Cathedral will be travelling with the Choir and he says, “When Bulgaria entered the EU in 2007, we saw the pictures of your magnificent country on television and knew straight away that we wanted to visit you and sing to you!”


The tour is being organised by Georgi Dimitrov of Odysseia-In and the Choir has been greatly assisted by Yanko Marinov of St Josef’s Cathedral, Yulian Perikliev of the Alexander Nevski Cathedral, Maria Momirova, a local musician, Christine Booth of the British Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce, Angel Hadjiev and Lionel Sainsbury. The Choir is very grateful to all of these people for their help, support and encouragement.


Funding for the tour has been provided by the Chapter of St Edmundsbury Cathedral, the Vestey Trust, the Friends of St Edmundsbury Cathedral Choir, and Astra Zeneca UK Ltd of Sofia. The Choir is deeply grateful to these bodies without whose support the tour would not have been possible.




At each concert, the Choir will sing a selection from the following pieces:


Jesu, joy of man’s desiring Johann Sebastian Bach, 1685-1750


Rejoice, O my spirit Johann Sebastian Bach, 1685-1750


Jubilate in C Benjamin Britten, 1913-76


Ave verum William Byrd, 1540-1623


Senex puerum William Byrd, 1540-1623


Light of the world John Dankworth, born 1927


Ubi caritas Maurice Duruflé, 1902-86


O clap your hands Orlando Gibbons, 1583-1625


Lord, let me know mine end Maurice Greene, 1696-1755


Nunc dimittis Gustav Holst, 1874-1934


Ex ore innocentium John Ireland, 1879-1962


Crucifixus Antonio Lotti, 1667-1740


Fauxbourdon Jubilate Philip Moore, born 1943


Nolo mortem peccatoris Thomas Morley, c 1557-1602


Evening Canticles in A Edward Naylor, 1867-1934


God be in my head John Rutter, born 1946


My soul, there is a country Hubert Parry, 1848-1918


Justorum animae Charles Stanford, 1852-1924


People, look east Christopher Steel, 1938-91


If ye love me Thomas Tallis, c 1505-85


O sacrum convivium Thomas Tallis, c 1505-85


O taste and see Ralph Vaughan Williams, 1872-1958


Tenebrae Responses Tomás Luis de Victoria, 1548-1611


Jubilate William Walton, 1902-83


Blessed be the God and Father Samuel Sebastian Wesley, 1810-76


A Prayer of St Richard L J White


Hail, gladdening light Charles Wood, 1866-1926


This Joyful Eastertide Charles Wood, 1866-1926


Tebe poem Dobri Hristov, 1875-1941


Blagobraznii Iosif from Arimatea


Mnogaia Leta Traditional


James Thomas, Director of Music


James Thomas is St Edmundsbury Cathedral's Director of Music (Organist and Master of the Choristers). He directs the provision of music in the worship at the Cathedral, trains the Cathedral Choir, the St Cecilia Chorale and the Colts Choir, and conducts the majority of the choral services.


Born in 1963, James Thomas read music as Organ Scholar at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, receiving tuition on the organ from Nicolas Kynaston. During this time he gained the FRCO, winning the Dixon prize for extemporisation. After graduating, he spent a year at Homerton College, then, armed with a PGCE, lived in France for two years, teaching in Caen and studying the organ in Rouen with Louis Thiry. James returned to England in 1988 as Assistant Organist at Blackburn Cathedral, and then moved to Chichester in 1991 as Assistant Organist at the Cathedral and Director of Music at the Prebendal School. Here he met the daughter of one of his music staff: Katharine and he were married in the Cathedral in 1993. (Katharine is herself an accomplished musician, having been Organ Scholar at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford.) They have three daughters. James was appointed Director of Music at St Edmundsbury Cathedral in September 1997. Since then, the choir has made three CDs and sung many times on national radio and television. From 1998 - 2002, he was conductor of the Cambridge Choral Society.


David Humphreys, Assistant Director Music


David Humphreys is the Cathedral's Assistant Director of Music and Arts Co-ordinator. He assists the Director of Music in the provision of music in the worship at the Cathedral, accompanies the Cathedral Choir, the St Cecilia Chorale and the Colts Choir, and conducts the St Edmundsbury Singers. He also runs the Cathedral's arts enterprises, arranging concerts and art exhibitions.


Born in Hertfordshire in 1983, David read Music at Jesus College, Cambridge, where he was Organ Scholar. With the college choirs he appeared on BBC radio and television, undertook three European tours, and made several successful CD recordings. He was also the principal conductor of the college orchestra, with whom he undertook successful performances of a wide variety of major orchestral repertoire, and won the college's Renfrew Prize for music in his final year. Also an accomplished ‘cellist, David has performed at many of the top venues in the United Kingdom, including the Royal Albert Hall, the Royal Festival Hall, and St John's, Smith Square. He has concerto performances on both cello and organ to his name, and has appeared in masterclasses for the Royal College of Organists and the St Albans International Organ Festival. He is a fellow of the Royal College of Organists, and currently studies organ with Thomas Trotter.

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