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peter ellis

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Everything posted by peter ellis

  1. As the fart jokes are all taken (damn this time difference) I'll be a swell super octave coupler to great. Always enjoy going one step too far at inappropriate moments.
  2. It's always good to be Hooraahed. I will pass it on to the relevant authorities. As for the job - right place, right time. This particular church is unique in this country, I'd hate to give the impression of Australia being organists paradise. We of the Antipodean organ fraternity suffer the same indignities (even Australian brides seem to all have an Aunty Mary who just has to sing "Ave Maria") as everywhere else. I quite like the idea of a note quota though. We did the Leighton "Solus ad Victimam" on Palm Sunday. I'd still be laughing now if the organ scholar decided against playing the final chord because it exceeded his contractual obligations. Bedtime for expats now. Toodles x
  3. Just to set the scene I'm Assistant Organist and Music Development Officer at a church in central Sydney. The church can afford to salary me, the Director of Music, an Organ Scholar and pay a "stipend" to the twelve people who comprise the choir, one of whom is also "stipended" (a new word methinks) to run the children's choir and another to act as choir librarian. I expect to be appraised every year - key competencies being ability to play well, sightread well, conduct well and undertake the managerial tasks in my music development role. However, I am full time salaried in this position. The Director of Music is more than qualified to judge my musical work, and other professionals in the parish are more than qualified to judge my managerial work. I am comfortable with any appraisal process based on this scenario. However, being judged against ill thought out criteria by someone who is not qualified, is a process which benefits nobody. Also, if they wish to put you on an outcomes based rolling contract, be sure not to do one iota more than the requirement. Once they realise how much extra work you did before, despite your woeful RSCm rates, I'm sure they'll have a rethink. So I guess to sum up.... Carefully considered performance appraisal linked to specific parish needs and allowing for professional development of musician = good. Random application of shifting priorities allied to woeful money = bad. Hope I added something to the debate
  4. www.trinitywallstreet.org will also provide you with hours of fun. There is a particularly funky improvisation on a theme of James Brown as well as some Cameron Carpenter fireworks.
  5. It's OK - Pierre can have your cuddle - Belgium was where I first got hopelessly drunk so I have fond memories. Nice improv on NYE by the way
  6. I joined months ago and I'm beginning to feel affronted that no-one's insulted me yet. I'm off................. .......................well I tried at any rate but I just missed you all too much. Cuddles all round.
  7. I'm one of the more sensitive souls who seem to attract those of a departed disposition. My current church in Sydney (St. James, King Street) is most definitely haunted but is also a beautiful atmosphere to practice in. In actively enjoy being in there alone. My first church, West Vale Baptist near Halifax, also had presences. Practicing in a dark church one Christmas Eve there was a distinct male voice joining in with a carol tune from the rear of the gallery. At the time I was prepared to think my ears were playing tricks but my stop puller (a now ex-girlfriend) was frozen to the spot in fear. Racking my brain for unpleasant ghostlike experiences.......Dewsbury Minster, Saltaire URC. Mostly they've been very affirming - maybe the majority of church ghosts are happy?
  8. Every time I appear on this board it seems I'm harping on about Australia in one way or another. Apologies but I live here and I love it. The 1892 Hill of 26 stops and 3 manuals in Christ Church, St Laurence, Railway Square, Sydney is small but perfectly formed.
  9. Now we're talking - how about a stop which opens either an escape chute for the organist or a disposal chute for his/her conversational distraction. i'm sure virgil Fox would have done it if he'd thought of it (note - I'm trying to keep this thread relatively on topic)
  10. I personally enjoy wedding guests congratulating me on my playing during the recessional - nothing like passing the time of day to the Widor Toccata.
  11. I've got to protect names but a conductor I know of was conducting a choir in a rehearsal of the (I think) Mozart Requiem - at one point he turned in exasperation and said "no, no, I really need you to hit me with the "C" of "Cum". Certain singers have never been the same since. Personally I'm all for a dramatic consonant but really.
  12. Benedictus by Alec Rowley is a cracker. Four minutes of borderline indulgence. I think you have to get it on special order from OUP. Never heard any Caleb Simper - trod in some once though. Took weeks to get rid of the smell
  13. I have to admit to being a tad amused by Ship o Fools, and there are times I think they (whoever "they" be) hit the nail on the head. I do recall however that on occasions there will occasionally be a church review of say an Anglo-Catholic Evensong and Benediction written by a correspondent with avowed Pentecostalist leanings. That does strike me as rather pointless. I suspect was I to go and review Hillsong it would lead to a relatively unsympathetic article, which would do none of us any good. As far as Michelin stars for the clergy, maybe we should instead consider providing phrase books, so that clergy, parish council and music staff can adequately comprehend what each party is on about. I suspect that we of the organ fraternity sound more incomprehensible than most. I should also say I've had fantastic relationships with every member of the clergy with whom I've worked. I suspect I've just been lucky.
  14. I'm going to approach this from the perspective of an English organist working in Australia. The church i work for has about 30 recitals a year of varying standards. Many of our organists attempt to plan thematic programmes, eg and all Buxtehude recital, or all transcriptions. I've arranged "gimmicky" recitals - such as French programmes inspired by plainsong and performed in a candlelit dark church. Attendances were up. It's also the case that if we as musicians find a lot of contemporary music unpalatable, at least on first hearing. then we cannot rightly expect audiences to be any more open minded. I'm finding more and more that pre or during concert talks help, or properly presented programme notes. I can also remember inappropriate recitals in a number of venues - Couperin does not go well on an organ lacking mutation stops, neither does romantic organ music on a six top one manual mechanical. Unless we give good reason to attend a recital (and the chance to sit in a cold church, listening to unfamiliar music, with no intellectual engagement through written or spoken word is NOT that) then audiences will remain disinterested and rightfully small. And to finish with contemporary music - the argument can rage for days about atonal versus tonal etc etc (yawn) but two of the finest recent compositions i've heard for the instrument have come from Graham Koehne in Adelaide - namely his Gothic Toccata and the wonderful chorale prelude "To his servant Bach, God grants a final glimpse: The morning star" (based on "How Brightly Shines the Morning Star). Modern music can be accessible.
  15. OMG.....memories of the good Mr Tordoff at Halifax Parish Church. My boss here in Sydney does the finest impression of PT - dating from a recital he gave in 1986, after which he was approached by Philip with the most leading of questions...."Ah take it tha's not tee-total then". As for me - although I'm a big train person (railway enthusiast rather than trainspotter thank you) I'm actually more of a tram person. I draw the line at traction engines though. Saw Robert Wolfe at Thursford in 1985 and put me off Wurlitzers for life.
  16. Thank you so much MM, we are trawling shops, archives and conservatoria in a search. I think our repertoire list will be much different in 12 months time. I'm particularly interested in the Dupre. I hope you don't mind but i visited your profile on the other thread - the one where we all admit who we are. If it's any comfort I have a 120 strong choir who stare blankly at their music too, the difference being it doesn't all click into place two weeks later. Kindest regards
  17. Peter Ellis - originally from Halifax, UK where I had lessons with David Barker. Studied music at Birmingham Uni (1994-7) studying organ with Marcus Huxley. Held three UK posts @ West Vale Baptist Church (1988-94), All Saints, Kings Heath, Birmingham (97-99), St. Pauls, Woodford Bridge, Essex (2000-02). Moved to Australia in 2002. Organist of St. Augustine's, Merewether, Newcastle from 2003 to July 2006. I've spent the last few years concentrating mainly on my conducting and i'm on a development course run by the Australian government which lets me loose on the major orchestras occasionally. I'm also Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of Newcastle University Choir and Eastern Sydney Chamber Orchestra. Since July 2006 I've been assistant organist and music development officer at St. James' Church, King Street, Sydney, a fine 1824 building, 61 stop organ, semi professional choir and anglo-catholic tradition. I've recently started taking my playing seriously again and I'm loving it. Oh I also do cello and organ recitals with my partner. (ps. Nick Bennett - don't i know you?)
  18. Hi - will get my frequent soprano partner onto the case. In the meantime try Ah Chloris by Reynaldo Hahn. I know it's piano and sop repertoire but I play it straight off a piano part. it's heaven.
  19. Thanks everyone - i'm overwhelmed by the response. the Gubaidalina has been ordered, as well as the CD. Ernst Bacon will recieve some attention. I'm going to look into some of these European composers I've never heard of. Look forward to metting over other topics soon. Pete Ellis
  20. Hi everyone and greetings from Sydney. My cello playing partner and I give many recitals together and we're looking to build up a list of preferably original works for the two instruments. If anyone can help with suggestions we'd love to recieve them. My email direct is petejellis@hotmail.com. Also anyone wishing to drop in at St. James' Church (www.stjameschurchsydney.org.au) and have a play is more than welcome to contact me. Thanks Peter Ellis
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