Dr. Julie Ainscough at the Frobenius organ of All Saints' Parish Church, Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey (U.K.).

Dr. Julie Ainscough at the Frobenius organ of
All Saints' Parish Church, Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey (U.K.).

Photograph: © Copyright 2012 Michael Harrold Artist Management.

Organ Recitalist, Ensemble Player & Accompanist

The pipe organ is my principal performance instrument and has been one of the foremost of my musical interests since my early teenage years.  I have performedon a number of historic instruments, dating from 1638 to the present day.  These include the organs of Salamanca and Burgos Cathedrals and of the El Escorial Basilica, two Cavaillé-Coll organs in San Sebastian (one of which, in the Basilica of Santa Maria, is almost identical to the instrument - as was built originally and not as found today, much-rebuilt - which César Franck played at Saint Clothilde in Paris, the recently-rediscovered 1766 Thomas Parker organ at the Parish Church of St. Mary & St. Nicholas in Leatherhead (restored by Messrs. Goetze & Gwynne).  I had charge, a few years ago, of a fine, three-manual, tracker action, William Hill instrument of 1886 (still in largely-original condition), plus numerous modern instruments by such builders as Kenneth Jones, Erik Frobenius, Joseph von Glatter-Götz (Rieger Orgelbau), Matthew Copley and the late Andrew Pennells (J.W. Walker & Company).

I took charge - from Advent Sunday 2002 - of a fine, three-manual "Father" Willis organ, having then commenced in my appointment as Director of Music for the Parish Church of Saint Mary the Virgin at Ewell, near Epsom in Surrey.  This instrument is of closely similar technical specification and quality to the renowned organ of Truro Cathedral (built two years earlier by the same distinguished Company of Henry Willis & Son).  The most recent recital given by me on the Ewell Willis took place on Saturday, the 18th of November 2006 at 7:30 p.m.  Burgeoning demand for my services as a teacher of organ and piano, together with an increasing commitment to composition, and with changes at the church, rendered my tenure of the post at Ewell impracticable.  My resignation took effect from September 2007.

Having been committed heavily to working on my Doctorate at the University of Surrey and to the demands of my teaching career, I spent some years only deputising occasionally as a church organist.  However, with effect from Sunday 26th August 2012, I took up the position of Organist at St. Augustine's Abbey, Sample Oak Lane, Chilworth, near Guildford, GU4 8QR.  This community of Benedictine monks, under their Abbot, the Right Reverend Dom Paulinus Greenwood O.S.B., moved into the former Franciscan Friary and Novitiate house in November 2011, having been resident previously at Ramsgate in Kent.  The beautiful, F.A. Walters-designed, Abbey church is open to the public for private prayer, meditation and attendance at the Daily Office, which commences in the early morning with Vigils and ends in mid-evening with Compline.  Mass is sung daily, normally at 9 a.m. on weekdays and at 10 a.m. on Sundays.  The Abbey offers mainly Gregorian plainchant, the ancient, traditional music of the Roman Catholic Church;  the organ, which dates from 1915, was the gift of Wonersh resident Mr. John Courage, the famous brewer and owner of London organ builders Lewis and Company.

My organ repertoire commences with the prime early sources (Buxheimer Orgelbuch, Robertsbridge Codex, Fitzwilliam Virginals Book, Sweelinck and the like) and includes a broad swathe of Baroque music (Spanish and the French Grand Siécle especially, but focusing ultimately on J.S. Bach), plus the quintessentially-English works of Elgar and Howells and the principal works of the French Romantic era and Twentieth century (Franck, Vierne, Dupré, Alain and Messiaen).

I also perform as a harpsichordist and as a pianist.  I have given concerts of chamber music in association with Baroque woodwind multi-instrumental virtuoso Gerard McDonald and other friends who are much involved in Baroque music performed on period instruments.  I directed the Bach Brandenburg Concerto No.5 from the harpsichord during a concert in which I also conducted the Blackheath & Bramley Choral Society (of which I was then Musical Director) in works by Handel.  Solo piano recitals are quite rare occurrences, but I have accompanied professional singers and instrumentalists in Romantic and Twentieth Century repertoire.

"This occasion was very special. . .  Many of the chorus have said to me that they thought the instrumental playing was particularly fine this year.  I can only echo their words, thank you, and hope that you enjoyed yourself to such an extent that you may want to join us again next year."  (MALCOLM SINGER, Director of Music, Yehudi Menuhin School).

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© Copyright 2016 Dr. Juliana M. Ainscough.