Philip Norman

Organist, Choral and Orchestral Conductor, Composer and Arranger

07939 064 247
pkn@pnms.co.uk

Qualifications

Fellow of the
Royal College of Organists

(FRCO)

Associate of the
Royal College of Music

(ARCM) - Organ Performing

Licentiate of
Trinity College of Music, London

(LTCL) - Organ Teaching

Graduate of
Trinity College of Music, London

(GTCL)

In 1990, Philip Norman's UK qualifications were closely examined by Norway's Organists' Association (Norges kantor- og organistsforbund). They declared that his qualifications were equivalent to the highest awarded in Norway. ("... tilsvarende diplomeksamen i Norge [6.årig utdanning].")

Return to TOP

Choral Conducting

Philip directed his first choir at the age of sixteen. In recent years, he has conducted:

The works in his repertoire include
(* = with orchestral accompaniment):

Return to TOP

Orchestral Conducting

From 1997 - 2020, Philip was Resident Conductor of Woodford Symphony Orchestra - a fully fledged sympphony orchestra mixing professional and amateur musicians. His repertoire includes:

Return to TOP

Organist

Philip has held organists post since 1965. The most recent have been:

As one would expect, he has played for many weddings and funerals.

Return to TOP

Organists Online

Organists Online, a free, web based system for putting organists in touch with people who need their services, was set up by Philip in November 2000. It now has over 1,300 registered organists in both the UK and overseas.

Since its inception, the remit of the site has been widened and it now also provides:

Find out more about Organists Online and how to use its free facilities at organistsonline.org.

Return to TOP

Small Choirs

The Small Choirs website (organistsonline.org/small-choirs) provides free, downloadable music for church choirs with few or no men. The site was set up shortly after Philip organised the first Small Choir Festival in 2004. The pieces range from simple unison anthems to complex pieces for SSAA-men. Many of the pieces are flexible and can easily be adapted to the voices available at any particular instance.

The composers, editors and arrangers come from around the world, and all have given permission for their work to be copied and performed without charge.

The Small Choirs Festival were appreciated by choirs which found the repertoire for larger diocesan festivals unsuitable to their needs. SCFs have been organised at local and regional levels and attracted from 20 - 90 participants. Future festivals will be announced on the Small Choirs website.

Return to TOP

Sangerstevne

From 2004 until 2018, Philip organised the London Sangerstevne, an annual event inspired by the great Sangerstevner (a coming together of singers) in Norway. Originally just a local affair involing choirs local to East London,, the London Sangerstevne soon acquired an international profile and moved to Central London with choirs from across Europe and the USA participating.

The first London Sangerstevne lasted for just one afternoon, taking place in one location. By 2010, the event lasted a whole weekend and, apart from the main festival concerts in such locations as The National Musicians Church (St Sepulchre-without-Newgate) and Cadogan Hall, fringe concerts were held across London.

Return to TOP

Arranging and Composing

Philip makes no claims to be an original or exciting composer or arranger. However, working as he often does with groups of shifting and/or uncertain membership, he is frequently called upon to provide music to fill a gap or need not covered by published material.

His tailormade, bespoke gap-fillers range from simple a cappella music for two-part choirs through to arrangements for full symphony orchestra.

He recalls with fondness his arrangements and original works for massed choirs, brass band, and organ - composed for music associations in Norway with the performers placed in galleries around a large church. And particularly those works for a regional choral festival with 400 singers, professional brass and organ.

On the other hand, his many arrangements for the Small Choirs site have been useful and welcomed.

During the early months of 2020, Philip rescored Vivaldi's Gloria with a full symphony orchestra accompaniment. This may puzzle the purists, but it was for an East London choral and orchestral project where the need for inclusion outweighed musicological considerations. See more HERE.

One of the special features of Questors Choir Christmas concerts were inclusion of four choir/audience/brass/organ sequences. Each sequence lasted some 10 -12 minutes and wove audience carols and choir carols into one organic whole. These were not mere medleys but, rather, structured by repetition and thematic development.

A couple of years ago, Woodford Symphony Orchestra established the WSO Ensemble - an irregular group of musicians who would give more informal concerts several times a year in addition to the whole orchestra's symphony concerts. Being irregular, the size and makeup of this group was different for each of their concerts. To provide a suitable repertoire, Philip arranged and flexibly orchestrated a number of pieces which, according to circumstances, could be played by which ever instruments were to hand.

Return to TOP

Visiting Choirs

Philip Norman often acts as a tour manager for visiting foreign choirs, undertaking as much or as little of the organization as is necessary to ensure a good experience for the visitors. In recent years he has worked with: Cantilena (Norway, 2003, 2008), Amber Music (Latvia, 2008), Musica con Grazia (Austria, 2008), Oppdal Songlag (Norway, 2010), Korisma (Norway, 2010), Scenario (Norway 2013), Moss Kammerkor (Norway, 2015), Young Voices (Norway, 2016), Caritatis (Norway, 2016) and Olavs Menn (Norway 2018).

Return to TOP

Accompanist

Apart from a general background of accompanying instrumental and vocal soloist of various types, Philip has toured as accompanist with the Chigwellian Choral Society to Scotland, Slovenia, Italy, and Austria. He has found it particularly "interesting" when, seated at some mighty beast in the west gallery of a church, he has had to follow a choir neatly lined up in front of the high altar at the other end. Similarly, being asked to play Brahms and Fauré on an unaltered Italian organ from about 1730 has provided challenges.

Return to TOP

Norway

From 1986 - 1991, Philip was Organist and Kantor of Orkdal, a municipality near Trondheim in Central Norway.

If you wonder what it's like being a Kantor in Norway well, it's generically similar to being Cantor of Leipzig (Bach's last job) but less embracing in scope.

Philip felt particularly grateful that, as the years progressed, his 33% of time in the local music school was replaced as Orkdal sold his services to regional choirs as a conductor, and to choirs and bands of the area as a composer and/or arranger.

Return to TOP

Projects

Philip has initiated and/or led many large scale projects. These include forming St John's Festival Choir and touring in Europe once or twice a year from 1995 to 2003 and the above mentioned Sangerstevne and Small Choirs festivals.

In 2019, he co-ordinated and conducted a project involving Woodford Symphony Orchestra and singers from many area choirs in a performance of the Mozart version of Messiah.

If it hadn't been for Covid-19, 2020 would have seen a symphonic* performance of Vivaldi's Gloria in similar circumstances.

*Why Symphonic? Vivaldi scored his Gloria for 1 oboe, 1 trumpet, strings, organ and choir. For this project, Philip had re-orchestrated the work for 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 2 horns, 2 trumpets, timps and strings - a symphony orchestra as Haydn or Mozart would have understood it.

In co-operation with Philip Luke at Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church, Philip organises the annual Bloomsbury Organ Day; a day of recitals, talks and presentations with organists of both national and international significance. You can see the ins and outs of one HERE.

Return to TOP

Talks

Philip gives talks on musical subjects (some organ orientated, others not) richly illustrated with visual and aural examples, each lasting about an hour. More information is available HERE.

Return to TOP

Sundry

Many of the above activities are underpinned by Philip's competency as a desktop publisher (example 1, example 2) and a web designer (example 1 - this page, example 2)

Return to TOP