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Original organ works composed for Exeter College to be performed in Exeter College Chapel

Twelve original pieces of organ music have been composed for Exeter College and will be performed throughout Trinity Term, with a performance of all 12 pieces on 14 June.

Composer, conductor, and pianist Delvyn Case, a 2024 Visiting Research Fellow at Exeter College, has assembled a lineup of world-class composers to write original organ works for Exeter College Evensong this term. The event series has been organised in conjunction with Deus ex Musica, an ecumenical organisation founded and directed by Case for the promotion of sacred music. The pieces, to be performed at Evensong each week, are inspired by Psalm 121:8, the lines that close every Exeter chapel service: ‘The Lord preserve your going out and your coming in, from this time forth and for evermore. Amen’ (KJV). All 12 pieces will be performed together at a concert at the end of Trinity Term, on 14 June.

All of this came about, Case explains, at the end of Hilary Term, when Exeter College graduate organist Michael Koenig approached him with the hope that ‘presenting new works based on the College psalm would be a way of making the musical offerings of each Evensong service particularly meaningful for the Exeter community’. ‘The chapel is filled with music in every service’, Case continues, ‘but most of the pieces we hear were written long ago and bear no direct connection to the College’. These works, however, have been ‘written expressly for our organ and tailored to fit each specific Evensong service’. In many respects, they constitute a body of work that is exclusively by and for Exeter College.

The project also notably breaks ground for its diversity, a quality that is historically lacking in the world of organ music. Case notes how many of the pieces ‘were written by composers from groups traditionally under-represented in the church music tradition’ and that the initiative is ‘a great testament to Exeter’s commitment to diversity and inclusion’.

The series will culminate on Friday 14 June at 8 pm with a concert including all of the term’s original pieces performed in the chapel. Over the summer, the pieces will be recorded and released with Deus Ex Machina records as The Exeter College Organ Project.

The performance schedule with accompanying composers is as follows:

21 Apr: Johannes Kobald

28 Apr: Josh Rodriguez

5 May: June Boyce-Tilman, MBE

9 May: Eun Young Lee

12 May: Delvyn Case

19 May: David Maw

26 May: Maria Thompson-Corley

2 June: Prelude: Alexandra T. Bryant. Postlude: William David Cooper

9 June: Prelude: Carlos Carrillo-Cotto. Postlude: Xavier Beteta

14 June: All 12 original pieces will be performed by graduate organist Michael Koenig at 8 pm in the Chapel at a free concert

Evensong services take place at Exeter College Chapel on Tuesdays and Fridays at 6.15 pm and Sundays at 6.00 pm during term time.

Everyone is most welcome, admission is free and there is no need to book.

Poster for organ concert