Jennifer Bate

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Jennifer Bate is in the top rank of international organists and has long been a favourite at all the world’s great festivals. She has played in over 40 countries, with over 150 recitals in Italy.

Many composers have written for her, inspired by her phenomenal technique and ability to bring out the colours of the organ. In 1990, Jennifer’s artistry and outstanding contribution to music received international recognition with the Personnalité de l’Année award by the French-based jury. She was only the third British artist to achieve this distinction, after Sir Georg Solti and Sir (later Lord) Yehudi Menuhin. In 1996, Jennifer was granted Honorary Citizenship of the Italian province of Alessandria for her services to music in Northern Italy over 20 years. In 2002, she was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, in 2007 she received an Honorary Doctorate in Music from the University of Bristol and in 2008 she was awarded an OBE in The Queen’s Birthday Honours List. In April 2011, the French Minister of Culture made her an Officier de l’ordre des Arts et des Lettres. In July 2011, President Sarkozy appointed her to the rank of Chevalier in the Ordre National de la Légion d’Honneur, France’s highest order.

Jennifer is recognised as ″the″ world authority on the organ works of Olivier Messiaen, with whom she worked extensively. She recorded his complete organ works. Each recording was heard by Messiaen prior to release - he endorsed them all with enormous enthusiasm. All won international acclaim. In 1983, Messiaen, having decided that he would no longer give organ recitals himself, took her to his Paris agent and asked him to re-direct all requests for him to play to Jennifer. He annotated most of her scores with his personal nuances of interpretation. Jennifer was the Artistic Advisor to, and performed in, the LWT South Bank Show television programme about Messiaen in 1985. This programme has been shown all over the world. There were three screenings at the Barbican in 1999 as part of Visions – The Music of Olivier Messiaen. In 1986, he sent her the manuscript of his last masterpiece for organ, Livre du Saint Sacrement. She gave the British première at Westminster Cathedral to a capacity audience with the composer present, receiving a 20-minute standing ovation and unanimous critical acclaim. The concert was filmed and shown on Channel 4 TV later that year. Her world première recording of Livre du Saint Sacrement was recorded in 1987, in Messiaen’s presence, at l’Église de la Sainte Trinité, Paris. It won a Grand Prix du Disque. In 1995, Jennifer opened the Messiaen Festival held at la Trinité, where his complete organ works were performed and recorded by Jade. Among numerous awards for her CD, were the Diapason d’Or and Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik. Her TV programme of Messiaen’s La Nativité (recorded live in Norwich Cathedral) was released on DVD in January 2010 by Digital Classics. Her recordings of the complete works of Franck and Messiaen and her historic anthology, From Stanley to Wesley, were all awarded the Penguin CD Guide’s “Top Recommendation”. All these Unicorn and Unicorn-Kanchana recordings are being reissued during 2014/15 by Treasure Island Music. Her CD of recently-discovered works by Samuel Wesley and its sequel, The Wesleys and their Contemporaries (both recorded by SOMM from first editions, on an historic organ), received great critical acclaim, as did her 5-CD set of The Complete Organ Works of Felix Mendelssohn. The scores of the 67 pieces reflect the latest research and discoveries of Professor Christian Martin Schmidt, editor of the new Breitkopf und Härtel complete Mendelssohn edition. In 2009, Naxos released her CD of The Complete Organ Works of Peter Dickinson. Jennifer’s world premiere recording of his Organ Concerto, recorded with David Atherton and the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall, will be re-issued during the autumn 2014 by Heritage Records. Jennifer gives master-classes worldwide (including Oxford and Cambridge Universities), lectures on a wide range of musical subjects and particularly enjoys working with young people. In 2014, she held the 10th annual Jennifer Bate Organ Academy at St Catherine’s School, Bramley, near Guildford. This is a unique course for girls with the emphasis on all-round musicianship; its alumni include a number of Oxford and Cambridge Organ Scholars. Her pioneering education programme – A Guide to the King of Instruments - which she delivers in any of five languages, is in great demand for all age groups.

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