Wednesday 19 May 2021

Birthday celebrations indeed: Cecilia McDowall at the BBC, the London Festival of Contemporary Church Music, Presteigne and more

Cecilia McDowall
Cecilia McDowall
Amazingly, Cecilia McDowall is celebrating her 70th birthday this year and not surprisingly her music has been popping up in concerts and services, including recent performances of her anthems in services at St Mary's Episcopal Cathedral, Edinburgh and at Merton College, Oxford. The BBC Singers, conductor Owain Park, performed her anthem The Lord is Good on Afternoon Concert on BBC Radio 3 on 11 May 2021 (and you can still catch it on-line).

But on Saturday 22 May 2021, as part of the London Festival of Contemporary Church Music there is a chance to hear a whole evening of McDowall's fascinating and varied music. At St Pancras Parish Church, Christopher Batchelor conducts the festival’s own professional vocal ensemble, The LFCCM Festival Singers (which expands the Choir of St Pancras Parish Church with additional singers from London’s world-class choral institutions). The programme is all-McDowall, ranging from sacred works such as Three Latin Motets to Standing as I do before God, her reflection on the death of Edith Cavell, to Everyday Wonders: The Girl from Aleppo, a cantata which tells the remarkable story story of Nujeen Mustafa, a Kurdish teenager with cerebral palsy forced by war to flee her home and embark on an arduous journey to Europe with her sister. 

Full details from the London Festival of Contemporary Music website, and Cecilia McDowall is giving a pre-concert talk before the concert.

London Oriana Choir, conductor Dominic Ellis-Peckham, has announced that Cecilia McDowall has become the choir’s first patron. In September, the choir will begin the fifth and final year of its five15 initiative in support of women composers and, in 2023, will be celebrating its 50th birthday.

Looking further ahead, Cecilia McDowall is the composer in residence at this year's Presteigne Festival, 26-31 August 2021.

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