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Iain Quinn

Iain Quinn

Iain Quinn is an organist, choral conductor and composer. He was the youngest person to ever hold the position of Director of Music at St. Michael's Theological College, Llandaff, at the age of 14.



Born in Cardiff, Wales, in 1973, Iain Quinn enjoys a distinguished career as an organist, choral director and composer. With an extensive repertoire, he has won critical praise for his performances of both standard and contemporary works, in addition to his research and performance of rare and unpublished repertoire. His compositions are heard in churches and concert halls around the world.

Iain Quinn began his musical training as a chorister at Llandaff Cathedral. After initial studies of the piano and trumpet at the Welsh College of Music and Drama he concentrated on the organ, studying with Robert Court and Nicolas Kynaston. In 1994 he moved to the USA to pursue advanced study at The Juilliard School, New York and later The Hartt School, University of Hartford (Bachelor of Music degree summa cum laude), and the Institute of Sacred Music, Yale University (Master in Music). His principal teachers during this time were John Weaver, Larry Allen, Thomas Murray, William Porter (improvisation) and Nathan Williamson (composition). He also holds the diplomas of Fellow of the Royal College of Organists and Fellow of the Royal Schools of Music (with distinction).

At 14 he was appointed Director of Music at St. Michael’s Theological College, Llandaff, and was the youngest person ever to hold the post. He later joined the faculty of the Blackheath Conservatoire, London. After moving to the USA, he became Director of Music at the historic Church of the Intercession, New York and later the Church of the Holy Name (RC), New York City. From 1998-2005, he served as Director of Music at Trinity Episcopal Church, Hartford, Connecticut, where he is founded the Trinity Choristers, now Choir School of Hartford. He has also served as director for the Royal School of Church Music Summer Course in New England and as a National Examiner for the RSCM. From 2005-2010 he was Director of Cathedral Music at the Cathedral Church of St. John, Albuquerque, New Mexico. In addition to his liturgical responsibilities, which involved the direction of works from the 12th Century to contemporary works written for the choir, he also directed an annual series of concerts of major works for choir and orchestra. During his tenure the Cathedral also established Cathedral Commissions, an innovative scheme to promote the composition of new choral works for the Cathedral Choir.

As a performer he has made regular appearances in many of the world’s most important centres, including London (St. Paul’s Cathedral, St. John’s Smith Square, Westminster Abbey, Westminster Cathedral), Cambridge (King’s College, St. John’s College), Oxford (The Queen’s College), Haarlem, (St. Bavo), Berlin (Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtnis-Kirche), Lisbon (Gulbenkian Foundation), Melbourne (Melba Hall), Washington DC (National Cathedral), New York (Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center) and Hong Kong (Cultural Centre). He has also performed at many international festivals included Tender is the North (Barbican Centre, London), Cambridge Summer Music (UK), Basically Bach (New York), Festival Barocco (Rome), Closer to Bach (Gdansk), 31 Days of Organ Music (Krakow), Dark Days Music Festival (Reykjavik), Dundee Summer Festival (Scotland), Cardiff Festival (Wales), Welsh Arts Festival (San Francisco) and Orgue et Couleurs (Montreal).

Additionally, he has represented the UK as an artist for The British Council at international organ festivals in Brazil, Hungary, Iceland, Italy and Poland. He has also broadcast on radio in several countries including appearances for the BBC (UK), (Australia) and the Fox Television Network (San Francisco).

His recordings include The Great Organ of Methuen, (Raven Recordings), The Organ Works of Amaral Vieira (Paulus Records), Eppur si muove by Robert Simpson (Hyperion Records), The Organ Works of Carl Czerny (Paulus Records) The Tsar of Instruments (Chandos Records), The Cathedral Organ, Cathedral of St. John, Albuquerque (Raven CD), Czech music from Norwich Cathedral (Chandos Records), Variations on America (Chandos Records), Missa Orbis Factor and Missa Omnes Sancti, Choir of the Cathedral of St. John, Albuquerque (Raven CD). His most recent recording is of Nordic organ music, recorded for Chandos at Coventry Cathedral.

Several composers have written works dedicated to him, including Leslie Howard, Wilfred Josephs, Askell Masson, Leonard Salzedo and Amaral Vieira. He has recently premiered new choral works by Judith Bingham, David Briggs, Stephen Paulus, Anthony Piccolo and Tarik O'Regan.

As a composer he has written works for choir and organ which have been performed around the world. His organ works have been performed at Notre Dame, and St. Sulpice, Paris, the first Annual Festival of New Organ Music, London and the Festival of Contemporary Church Music, London. His choral works have included commissions and first performances with the choirs of the University of New Mexico; St. Mary the Virgin, New York City; University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee; St. Luke in the Fields, New York City; The Compline Choir, St. Mark’s Cathedral, Seattle; Vancouver Chamber Choir; Trinity College, Cambridge; Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge; and Westminster Cathedral. In the current year he has completed works for the Llandaff Cathedral School Girls Choir; Harvard University; St. Paul’s Church, K Street; and Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, where he was Visiting Composer. His compositions are published by Bardic Edition, Clarion Press, Encore Publications, GIA, and Paraclete Press.

As a researcher his lectures and performances on the music of Samuel Barber, Franz Liszt, Russian organ music and English organ music, have resulted in invitations from numerous universities. He has also delivered papers at conferences of the American Musicological Society; British Institute of Organ Studies-Oxford University; College Music Society; Sound Thought, Glasgow University; Sixth International Organ Symposium, Moscow; Society for Musicology in Ireland and the Royal Musical Association annual conference. He has also served on the faculty of the Sewanee Church Music Conference, the oldest church music conference of the Episcopal Church, and performed and presented for chapters and conventions of the American Guild of Organists throughout the USA. Later this year he will perform and deliver papers at the International Conference of Music in Russia, Durham University; the Eighth Biennial Conference for Music in Nineteenth-Century Britain, Belfast; and at the Göteborg International Organ Academy, Sweden. His edition of the three previously unpublished organ works of Samuel Barber was published by G. Schirmer in 2010, and a critical edition of the complete organ works of Carl Czerny will be published by A-R Editions in June, 2011. An article on the organ works of Barber has recently been published in Tempo (Cambridge University Press).

The recipient of numerous honours, he was awarded a Fellowship by the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust (presented by HRH The Duchess of Kent) to research the historic organs of Brazil, an award from The Prince’s Trust to further cultural exchange within the European Union, and has received annual ASCAPlus awards since 2005 from The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers in recognition of performances of his works. In 2010 he was the recipient of a Louise Dyer award from Musica Britannica. Profiles of his work have been featured in Choir and Organ magazine, The Organ and Organists’ Review.

In 2009, he returned to the UK to pursue PhD studies in musicology at Durham University as a Doctoral Fellow in the Department of Music. He also serves as Director of Music and College Tutor at the College of St. Hild and St. Bede.

For further information - www.iainquinn.org/