Stephen Farr is highly regarded among his generation of organists, performing a vast repertoire with considerable focus on contemporary works. He has performed at many of the major English cathedrals, in concertos with leading orchestras, and is the music director at St. Paul's Knightsbridge. Farr also performs on the harpsichord as a continuo player in chamber music settings. Farr was born in London in 1967. He began his organ studies with Robert Munns and David Sanger before earning a scholarship to study with Piet Kee in the Netherlands and Hans Fagius in Denmark. Farr became an organ scholar at Clare College in Cambridge, earning degrees in music and musicology. In 1988, he was named the Royal College of Organists Performer of the Year and followed that up with several international competition prizes. Farr held sub-organist posts at Christ Church Oxford and Winchester Cathedral before being appointed the organist at Guildford Cathedral in 1999; he held this position until 2007. He went on to serve at Corpus Christi College in Cambridge and Worcester College in Oxford. In 2014, Farr earned his PhD at the University of Surrey on Judith Bingham's organ and harpsichord compositions. Farr has worked primarily as a freelance musician since obtaining his doctorate, with a diverse repertoire spanning from the Renaissance to the 21st century. He has dedicated much of his programming to new music, premiering works by Poul Ruders, Thomas Hyde, and Francis Pott, among others. Farr commissioned David Briggs to write an organ symphony based on Maurice Duruflé's Requiem, debuting the work in 2004. In 2011, Farr premiered The Everlasting Crown, written for him by Bingham, in his solo BBC Proms debut. He has performed across Great Britain and beyond at illustrious venues such as Winchester Abbey and Cathedral and Notre Dame in Paris. As a concerto soloist, Farr has performed with many leading orchestras, including the City of Birmingham Symphony, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, and the Berlin Philharmonic. Farr has recorded for the Resonus, Hyperion, and Nimbus labels, among others, and his recordings are equally as varied as his performing career. In the late 1990s, Farr accompanied the Winchester Cathedral Choir in a cycle of Charles Villiers Stanford's Sacred Choral Music. He has issued several recordings of Bach's organ music as well as recordings of organ works by Kenneth Leighton (2016), Judith Bingham (2017), and James MacMillan (2020). Farr is the music director at St. Paul's Knightsbridge and chief examiner for the Royal College of Organists.
© Keith Finke /TiVo
© Keith Finke /TiVo
1 album sorted by Most acclaimed and filtered by James MacMillan
Narrow my search
Classical - Released August 28, 2020 | Resonus Classics
Composer James MacMillan is best known for his choral and orchestral works, which often have religious and/or political associations. Organ music brings out a different side of the composer's personality, partly because those associations are, to some extent, foreclosed. The works here date from 1983, for the little Wedding Introit, to 2018, for another wedding work, Kenga e Krushqve, for the marriage of the composer's son. This work fuses Scottish, Albanian, and, just for kicks, Cuban elements, and it's a lot of fun. It's also typical, in a way, of MacMillan's organ output, which has a somewhat experimental quality. Some of it has links to the composer's choral music, but by and large, it stands a bit apart. It may be quiet and devoted to the solution of a technical problem, or it may, in the cases of Le Tombeau de Georges Rouault or the final Toccata, require considerable virtuosity from the soloist. It receives this from contemporary organ music specialist Stephen Farr, who confidently approaches the challenges and brings forth wonderful colors from the Rieger Organ of St. Giles' Cathedral. This 1992 instrument is well known to MacMillan and has a seemingly symbiotic relationship to the music that's immensely satisfying. This recording is especially recommended to MacMillan fans; it will add to their appreciation of this composer. © TiVo