David Bednall - Composer, Organist and Pianist







David Bednall is a virtuosic organ performer with a particular interest in improvisation. His large and varied repertoire extends from the Renaissance to the present day.

He is particularly known for his exciting performances of romantic and contemporary music and his interest in improvisation brings a fresh approach to this repertoire. 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. Other notable performances have included Vierne – Symphonies IV and V and the all the major works of Herbert Howells. His debut solo CD for Lammas of Hakim, Messiaen and Vierne at Blackburn Cathedral was excellently received and there are currently plans to make a second recording on that instrument. He has been involved with the annual Jean Langlais Festival since its inception and has given recitals in many prestigious venues including La Trinité and Saint-Etienne du Mont in Paris and the cathedrals of St Paul’s, Westminster, Gloucester, Hereford, Worcester and Bristol. Additional concerts have included recitals in Westminster Abbey and St Mary’s, Edinburgh as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

He was Organ Scholar at The Queen’s College, Oxford where he studied with Martin Schellenberg before his appointment to Gloucester Cathedral. During his two years there he studied with Ian Ball and David Briggs and developed a love of improvisation. He also began visits to Dr. Naji Hakim making a particular study of the works of Messiaen, Hakim’s own compositions and Improvisation. He was also closely involved in the Three Choirs Festival in Gloucester given a recital and playing the combined cathedral choirs.

He won prizes in Performance and Improvisation at the examination for Fellowship of the Royal College or Organists and has improvised live on BBC Radio and recordings. Improvisation based on Gregorian chant holds a special interest for him and with a group of professional singers he performs Ancient Inspirations in which plainsong is alternated with organ improvisations.

David bednall blackburn cathedral organ
David Bednall at the organ console of Blackburn Cathedral

As well as being a solo performer he is an expert accompanist for choirs and particularly enjoys the challenge of recreating the sound and effect of an orchestral accompaniment. He has appeared on a number of recordings with various choirs including those of The Queen’s College, Oxford, The Saint Cecilia Singers, The Sheldon Consort and the Cathedral Choirs of Gloucester and Wells for labels including Hyperion, Regent, Lammas and Herald. He has broadcast with Wells Cathedral Choir on BBC Radio and Television. He has also been organist for the Exon Singers and the RSCM.

He works frequently in a duet partnership with Malcolm Archer and they are planning a recording of the organ duet repertoire. They share a love of improvisation and this can be heard on their highly critically acclaimed Sounds Spontaneous which was again recorded at Blackburn Cathedral. On this recording they took it in turns to improvise on themes and chants spanning the liturgical year and are hoping to make a further recording of improvisations in the near future.


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