David Bednall is recognized as one of the leading choral composers of his generation and studied for a PhD in Composition with Professor John Pickard at the University of Bristol. He is Organist of the University of Bristol, Sub Organist at Bristol Cathedral and conducts the University Singers. He studied with Dr. Naji Hakim and David Briggs and between 2002 and 2007 was at Wells Cathedral, initially as Sub Organist and then as Assistant Organist. As well as the daily services he accompanied the choirs for concerts and on radio and television broadcasts. He also made a number of recordings with the Cathedral Choir and Chamber Choir on the Hyperion, Regent, Lammas and Priory labels.
He was born in 1979 and studied in Sherborne and then at The Queen’s College, Oxford where he was Organ Scholar. In 2000 the Chapel Choir toured Paris under his direction, singing at Notre Dame and other venues, and released a live concert CD.
In 2000 he was appointed Organ Scholar at Gloucester Cathedral under David Briggs and Ian Ball. While there he spent periods as Acting Director of Music and Acting Assistant Organist, was closely involved in the Three Choirs Festival, and was involved in two recordings – as Director on Lux Aeterna with the Cathedral Choir, and as Accompanist on the critically acclaimed Comfort and Joy with the Saint Cecilia Singers.
He was a prize-winner in Improvisation and Performance at the examination for Fellow of The Royal College of Organists in 2002, and has given recitals at L’Église de La Trinité, Paris, Westminster, St Paul’s, and many other cathedrals. Additional engagements have included recitals at Westminster Abbey, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and various performances of Vierne – Symphonies IV and V. In June 2008 he gave a recital at Notre-Dame de Paris.
He has performed all the major works of Olivier Messiaen as part of the Liturgical Year, including the cycles Méditations sur le mystère de la Sainte Trinité and Livre du Saint Sacrament. His debut solo CD for Lammas of Hakim, Messiaen and Vierne at Blackburn Cathedral, and CD of liturgical improvisations with Malcolm Archer, have both received excellent critical reviews. The latter is a particular interest of his and he has improvised in concert and on live radio broadcasts. Other activities have included performances of the music of James Macmillan in the Bath Festival with the Bath Festival Chorus conducted by the composer, acting as organist for the Exons Singers and performing in the Jean Langlais Centenary Festival in Brittany. In addition he has appeared as stunt-organist on the BBC TV series Dr. Who. He is in demand as a pianist and in this capacity has appeared at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival accompanying Britten – Canticles II, III and IV and recorded a CD of the songs of Michael Head with the tenor Richard Rowntree for Lammas.
He is a busy composer and Wells Cathedral Choir under Matthew Owens has recorded a critically acclaimed CD of his choral music entitled Hail, gladdening light for Regent Records which was Editor’s Choice in Gramophone. In addition a number of works his works have been broadcast on Radio 3 and 4. Recent work has included Missa Sancti Pauli commissioned by St Paul’s Cathedral for the London Festival of Contemporary Church Music, a Magnificat and Nunc dimittis premiered on Radio 3 by Wells Cathedral Choir and commissions new music wells 68 – 08 festival, Opus Anglicanum and the Jean Langlais Festival. In November 2008 his Requiem was premiered in St James’s Church, Spanish Place with St Mary’s School, Calne, Edward Whiting (Director) and Philip Dukes (Viola) and was recently given its US Premiere in St Mary The Virgin, Times Square, New York. This has been recorded by these forces and released on Regent Records to great critical acclaim.
In addition Wells Cathedral Choir has just released a further recording of his choral music on Regent entitled Flame Celestial which has received much critical praise, including a Gramophone Recommendation in the September 2010 edition of the magazine.
Hail, Gladdening Light! is © Faber Music Ltd used by permission. The recording is © Regent Records Ltd, used by permission.
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