International prize-winning organist Neil Cockburn is Head of Organ Studies at Mount Royal University Conservatory in Calgary (Alberta, Canada), Director of MRU Conservatory’s Purcell Ensemble, and Artistic Director of the Calgary Organ Festival. Celebrated for his diverse repertoire interests and expertise, he performs an all-encompassing spectrum of solo organ recitals on a wide range of instrument types, from all-Bach recitals on historically inspired organs, to symphonic programmes on romantic instruments, and concerts of entirely new works.
He won First Prize at the 1996 Dublin International Organ Competition, and has received numerous other prestigious awards, including the W. T. Best Memorial Organ Scholarship (UK), a scholarship from the Countess of Munster Musical Trust (UK), and the Lili Boulanger Memorial Fund Prize — awarded by an international panel of judges. His musical education was at Oxford University (BA Hons, Music), the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, UK (MusM, Organ Performance, and the Professional Performance Diploma, PPRNCM), the Conservatoire Nationale de Région Rueil-Malmaison, France (Premier prix de perfectionnement), and the University of Calgary (PhD, Musicology). His formative teachers and mentors include David Sanger, Margaret Phillips, Dame Gillian Weir, and Victor Coelho.
As a continuo player, he performs regularly with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, frequently working under the direction of guest conductor Ivars Taurins. With theorbists Victor Coelho and David Dolata and the group “Il Furioso,” he has performed harpsichord continuo on two recordings of early seventeenth-century Italian repertoire for the Toccata Classics label: recordings of the music of G.G. Kapsberger and B. Castaldi.
An enthusiastic organ teacher, he has directed three Pipe Organ Encounter camps in Calgary for young beginner organists, and has taught courses for the Royal College of Organists (UK), the Guild of Church Musicians (UK), the Royal School of Church Music, the St. Giles International Organ School (London, UK), the Rochester NY Chapter of the American Guild of Organists, Oundle International Summer School for Young Organists, and was elected one of two national Travelling Clinicians for the Royal Canadian College of Organists in the 2002/3 season. He held the University of Calgary’s Cantos Music Foundation Organ Scholarship, a guest faculty position, celebrating the inauguration of the new North German Baroque organ built by the Ahrend Organ Company of Germany from 2006 until 2009. He offers private organ lessons in Calgary, Alberta, and also to distance learning students via the internet. He was awarded the Distinguished Teaching Award (Credit Free) by Mount Royal University in June 2014.
Neil Cockburn’s tracks