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David Briggs (Composer, Arranger, Organ)

Born: November 1, 1962 - England

The English organist and composer, David Briggs, studied organ with Jean Langlais in Paris. The first British winner of the Tournemire Prize at the St Albans International Improvisation Competition, he also won the first prize in the International Improvisation Competition at Paisley. At the age of 17 he obtained his FRCO (Fellow of the Royal College of Organists) diploma, winning the Silver Medal of the Worshipful Company of Musicians.

David Briggs is an internationally renowned organist who has built a worldwide reputation as an innovative musician and dazzling performer. Increasingly sought after for his orchestral transcriptions and improvisation, his performances are applauded for their musicality, virtuosity and ability to excite and engage audiences of all ages.

David Briggs is Organist Emeritus of Gloucester Cathedral, where he directed the music for eight years. While at Gloucester, he oversaw the complete rebuilding of the Cathedral organ by Nicholson, and directed the Three Choirs Festivals, conducting some of the UK’s finest professional orchestras, notably the Philharmonia Orchestra. A gifted and inspirational teacher, David regularly gives master-classes at Oxford and Cambridge, and is frequently invited to serve on international competition juries.

David Briggs’ schedule includes more than 50 concerts a year. Recent engagements in Europe include the Royal Albert Hall, Westminster Abbey and St Paul’s Cathedral in London; Notre Dame de Paris; Symphony Hall, Birmingham; King’s College Cambridge; Bath Abbey; Cologne Cathedral, Germany; Sibelius Hall, Lahti, Finland; and Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall. USA concert venues include Severance Hall, Cleveland, Washington’s National Cathedral, St Ignatius Loyola and St Bartholomew’s in New York City, Grace Cathedral, San Francisco and Union Station in Cincinnati. In July 2009, Briggs was a featured recitalist for the AGO’s Region I and II convention in Boston. He was invited to perform in the closing concert of the American Guild of Organists’ National Convention in Washington D.C. in July 2010. On August 14, 2010 he made his BBC Proms Concert debut at a concert in The Royal Albert Hall, London, which was broadcast live to an audience of over two million. Further 2011-2012 engagements include concerts in the UK, Ireland, Scotland, France, Belgium, Germany and Sweden, as well as in the USA and Canada.

With an extensive repertoire spanning five centuries, David Briggs is also frequently asked to perform improvisation to silent films such as Phantom of the Opera, Nosferatu, Jeanne d’Arc and Fritz Lang’s Metropolis. His annual silent film performance in Nurnberg’s Sebaldplatz has become a highlight of International Organ Week.

David Briggs’ organ transcriptions of orchestral symphonies, which include Schubert 8, Tchaikovsky 4, Bruckner 7, Gustav Mahler 5 and 6, and Ravel’s Daphnis and Chloe, are becoming increasingly popular and have been praised by critics for helping make organ music accessible to broader audiences. He is also a prolific composer and his works range from full scale oratorios to works for solo instruments. Dreamworld, a song cycle for tenor and piano, his Requiem, and transcriptions of Tchaikovsky 4 and Schubert 8, have been released on the independent music label Chestnut Music. In July 2009, Trinity College Choir of Cambridge recorded a CD featuring Briggs’ music, including the Messe pour Notre-Dame, on the Hyperion label.

In 2008, BBC Music Magazine selected David Briggs to record a disc celebrating the French composers Widor and Vierne. Recorded at St Sernin in Toulouse, the CD was the March 2008 BBC Music Magazine cover CD; a DVD, “Bombarde 32!”, featuring highlights of the recording, was produced by Chestnut Music. He has also recorded 27 solo CDs including his transcription of G. Mahler’s Symphony No. 5, Bach at Gloucester, and Organ Spectacular, recorded on the largest church organ in the world: First Congregational Church in Los Angeles.

David Briggs now lives in Ipswich, Massachusetts and is represented by Chestnut Music.


Choir and Organ:
Truro Eucharist, for SATB & organ (1990)
The Music Mountain, for SATB, Soprano & Tenor soloists & 2 organs (1991)
The Noble Stem of Jesse, for SSAATTBB, for Gloucester Cathedral choir (1996)
When Waters Kiss One Bank, for SSAATTBB, for Gloucester Cathedral choir, words by John Donne (1996)
Holy is the True Light, for ATB & organ (1997; commissioned by RSCM America)
Jubilate Deo, for SATB Soprano solo & organ (1998)
O Thou Who Art Unchangeable, for SATB, tow Soprano soloists & organ (1999; commissioned by Virginia Wesleyian University, USA)
Matin Responsary, for SSAATTBB (1999; for the Gloucester Cathedral Choir)
Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis, for SATB, Tenor solo & organ (2000; commissioned by the Hereford Three Choirs Festival 2000)
Messe pour Notre-Dame, for SATB & 2 Organs (2002; commissioned by the Choir of Keynsham Parish Church, Bristol)
The Rising, for SATB & Organ (based on an Old Celtic Prayer) (2003; commissioned by the Choir of Church Street United Methodist Church, Knoxville, Tennessee)
Hosanna to the Son of David, for SATB & Organ (2003; commissioned by the Choir of Kirk-in-the-Hills, Bloomfield Hills, Miami)
When in our music God is glorified, for trebles & Organ (with optional Trumpet) (2003; commissioned by the Bristol Cathedral Girls Choir for their 10th anniversary)
Ave Verum Corpus, for SATB (2004; commissioned by the choir of St Mary's Cathedral, Edinburgh)
Regina Coeli, for SATB (2004; commissioned by St. Mary's Church, Moseley for their 600th Anniversary Year)
Christ's Peace (Commissioned by the Rosengren family in celebration of 35 years of marriage)
Music, for SATB A setting of the poem by Walter de la Mare (Commissioned by the Britten Singers, Hereford)
Ave Maria, for TTBB & organ (commissioned by the Lay Clerks of Blackburn Cathedral)
Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis 'The Truro Service' (2004; commissioned in thanksgiving for the life of John Taylour)
Caedmon's Hymn, for SSAATTBB (for Carlisle Cathedral Festival)
Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis (for Jesus College, Cambridge, 2008)
Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis (for St Davids Cathedral, 2008)

Choir & Orchestra:
Te Deum Laudamus, for SATB chorus, Soprano & Tenor soloists, Full Orchestra (1997; Three Choirs Festival Commission)
Creation, for SATB chorus, Soprano solo, Full Orchestra (2000)
Te Deum Laudamus, for TB Choir, 2 organs, flute, oboe, 2 horns, 2 trumpets, harp & strings (2003; commissioned for the 150th Anniversary of St Benedict's Abbey, Subiaco, Arkansas)
Atlanta Requiem, for SATB, Soprano, Tenor & Bass soloists, Flute, Oboe, Trumpet, Harp, Glockenspiel, Timpani (2003)
St John Passion, for SATB, Soprano, Alto, Tenor & Bass Soloists, Evangelist (tenor), Jesus (bass), organ & orchestra (2005; commissioned by Kirk-in-the-Hills, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan)

Marche Episopale (1999; commissioned by the Incorporated Association of Organists)
Transcription of the Improvised Fugue/Toccata on 'I Vow To Thee My Country' (2000; improvisation by Briggs at the re-opening recital of Gloucester Cathedral organ. Commissioned by Mark Batten, Organist of the Birmingham Oratory)
Variations on 'Veni Creator', for Organ Duet (commissioned by Elizabeth & Raymond Chenault)
THEME AND VARIATIONS, for the Worshipful Company of Actuaries (Commissioned by Catherine Ennis, Organist at St Lawrence-Jewry, London)
Organ Symphony on Themes from the 'Missa pro defunctiis' (for Stephen Farr, Organist of Guildford Cathedral, premiered by him at St David's Cathedral on June 3, 2004)
Organ Concerto for Blackburn Cathedral, for Organ, strings, harp, timpani, side drum, & glockenspiel
Elegy (commissioned in celebration of the 80th Birthday of Patrick Bell, Esq, Cookham Dean)
3 Improvisations a re-construction of improvisations by American cinema organist Buddy Cole
Variations on Greensleeves (2005)
Trio Sonata (2005)
Variations o'Laudi Spirituali' (2004)
Fantasie (2004)

Organ Transcriptions:
Symphony No. 5 by Gustav Mahler
Sigurd Jorsalfar by Edvard Grieg
Symphony No. 3: Final by
Camille Saint-Saëns
Tone Poem Death and Transfiguration by Richard Strauss
Pierre Cochereau Transcriptions: Suite de Danses Improvisees; Triptique Symphonique; Cantem toto la Gloria; Variations sur 'Venez Divin Messie'; Improvisations sur 'Alouette, gentille Alouette'; Two Improvisations on 'La Marseillaise; Scherzo Symphonique; Air ('Trimazo'); Gigue ('Compagnons de la Marjolaine'); Bolero sur un theme de Charles Racquet; Entree (Les offices du Dimanche); Mission Universelle (Improvisations on St Matthew's Gospel)

Fanfare for Wells, for Organ, 3 Trumpets, 3 Trombones & Cymbals. A 2 minute Fanfare (à la Marcel Dupré!') intended for use immediately before I was glad by C. Hubert H. Parry (commissioned by the Wells Cathedral Voluntary Choir, September 2002)
Chempinesca, for Piano Duet (2004; in celebration of Beryl Chempin's distinguished teaching career at the Birmingham Conservatoire)
Dreamworld: Song Cycle (2005)

Source: David Briggs Website; Wikipedia Website (March 2011)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (August 2011)

David Briggs: Short Biography | Arrangements/Transcriptions: Works | Recordings

Links to other Sites

David Briggs - Concert Organist and Composer (Official Website)
David Briggs – English Musician (Wikipedia)

3 Questions: David Briggs on playing the organ in Kresge Auditorium (DSL News)



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Last update: Wednesday, June 14, 2017 09:08