Iain Quinn

By Snell, Caroline; Quinn, Iain | Musical Opinion, February-April 2009 | Go to article overview

Iain Quinn


Snell, Caroline, Quinn, Iain, Musical Opinion


I caught up with Cardiff born organist, conductor and composer Iain Quinn to find out what's new as we look forward to the release of his latest recording 'Variations on America - American music from Coventry Cathedral' in the spring.

Iain has certainly enjoyed a distinguished international career to date. He began his musical training as a chorister at Llandaff Cathedral as a boy and after initial studies of the piano and trumpet concentrated on the organ, under the tutelage of Robert Court and later Nicolas Kynaston. At fourteen he became the youngest person ever to be appointed as Organist at St. Michael's Theological College, Llandaff. Piet Kee was a great influence and Iain played master classes with him in Huddersfield and later at the summer school in Haarlem. In 1994 he relocated to the USA to pursue advanced study at The Juilliard School, New York, and later graduated with the Bachelor of Music from the University of Hartford and with the Master of Music from Yale University. He currently holds the post of Director of Cathedral Music and Organist at the Cathedral of St. John, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

He also greatly admires the work Thomas Murray, Simon Preston, Gillian Weir, Edward Higginbottom and Stephen Layton amongst others "too numerous to mention!"

His new CD is due for release on the Chandos label this May. It is the third in a series following on from his Czech and Russian recordings. Iain has benefitted from a great working relationship with Chandos and feels they have given him a chance to get music out there not heard often but which merits a wider dissemination. It will contain some well known works alongside some recently discovered gems and promises to reflect a good cross section of American music including lesser known pieces by Henry Cowell and Stephen Paulus. Featured on the CD will be the recently discovered Prelude and Fugue in B minor by Samuel Barber. Iain will perform the European premiere of this piece at Westminster Cathedral on 26 July, 2009. He has also edited this piece for publication by G. Schirmer in 2009. A new choral CD from the Cathedral titled Missa Orbis Factor has also just been released on Raven CD with a follow-up recording due in the Spring.

He will be performing at Basically Bach at St. Peter's Lutheran Church in New York on 18 April and looks forward to a chance to perform at one of his favourite organs built by Klais. His other favourite organs are Westminster Abbey, King's College, Cambridge, the Fisk at Stanford University and the Rieger at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre. Iain considers organ building to be an equal art form in itself, one which is old and distinguished and as such views the development of digital organs as understandable but appreciates that it will "never replace the centuries old craft that has been handed down through generations".

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