Head of Organ Studies
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Henry Fairs is Head of Organ Studies at Birmingham Conservatoire and Organist to the University of Birmingham. He was a prize-winner in a number of international organ competitions including Paris, St Albans and Chartres. Since winning First Prize and Special Prize at the Odense International Organ Competition (Denmark), his concert career has taken him to the major European centres of organ music and to America, Canada and Japan, performing solo recitals, broadcasts (BBC, BR, MDR, Danish Radio) and concertos on both historic and modern instruments (including Merseburger Orgeltage, Chartres Cathedral, St Albans International Organ Festival, Carl Nielsen International Festival and Competition, Internationale Orgelwoche, Nuremberg, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Silbermann in Freiberg, Hildebrandt Naumburg, St Paul's Cathedral Celebrity Series, London.)
Born in Hereford (England), he received his earliest musical training as a chorister at Leominster Priory and studied at the Birmingham Conservatoire, where he graduated with First Class Honours and was a prize-winner at the Fellowship diploma of the Royal College of Organists. A scholarship from the Countess of Munster Trust enabled postgraduate studies in Paris, Cologne and Vienna. Important teachers and influences have included David Saint, Susan Landale, Thierry Mechler, David Sanger and Michael Radulescu.
Henry is regularly invited to give guest lectures and masterclasses: recently as a guest tutor and jury member at the Carl Nielsen International Festival and Competition, Denmark, Eastman School and Iowa University (USA), RCO Organ Forum, Calgary International Organ Festival (Canada), Royal College of Organists (London), Edinburgh Organ Academy, Cambridge Academy of Organ Studies and the Royal Academies of Music in Oslo and Copenhagen. He is a regular external examiner for the RNCM and Dublin Conservatory of Music and Drama.
He enjoys playing and teaching a broad, eclectic repertoire: currently with a strong focus on the organ output of JS Bach in a project involving research and performance of the organ works in 15 concerts throughout Europe. In addition, he has in recent years been occupied with the performance of 19th and 20th century music; including complete performances of organ music by: Jehan Alain (2011), Liszt (the three great works -2011) and Reubke, Olivier Messiaen (2008) and Maurice Duruflé ( Naxos 8.557924)
In March 2014, he was appointed Honorary Professor of Organ at the University of St Andrews, Scotland.
Visit Henry Fairs' website
Past / Forthcoming Major Projects
- 2012-2015: JS Bach - organ works
- 2011: Alain - organ works (performed in three concerts)
- 2011: 'Lisztomania' - Three Great Organ Works and Reubke Sonata (Birmingham and Edinburgh)
- 2008: Messiaen - organ works (six concerts for the Barber Institute of Fine Arts/University of Birmingham)
- 2002: Duruflé - organ works
Areas of Expertise
- Organ performance, teaching and pedagogy
- 2012: Co-Editor of proposed new publication for Bärenreiter.
- 2008: Messiaen - The Organ Works (Barber Institute of Fine Arts / University of Birmingham and essays
- 2008: The organ of La Trinité during the time of Messiaen
- 2008: The organ of the Great Hall, University of Birmingham
- Sleve notes on Duruflé's life and organ works - Naxos 8.557924
- 2007: Duruflé - Complete Organ Works (Naxos Organ Encyclopedia)
- Royal College of Organists News Vol 12, issue 3
- 2007: Pipelines interview
- Article in Organists' Review 2005: Registering German Romantic Organ Music
Recent Recordings and Broadcasts
- 2011: Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk (MDR) – broadcast Liszt recital from the Merseburger Orgeltage, Merseburg Cathedral, Germany
- 2009: Danish Radio (DR) - Live broadcast of Poulenc Organ Concerto and Duruflé, Odense Symphony Orchestra, Denmark
- 2008: Bayerischer Rundfunk – broadcast recital from the Internationale Orgelwoche, Nuremberg, Germany
- 2007: CD 'Duruflé - Complete Organ Works' (Naxos 8.557924) "Fairs emerges as a top-notch performer. His registrations, tempos, and sensitivity to subtle nuances in phrasing and articulation are superb." American Record Guide