Recognised as “one of the brightest and most active English recitalists” who “plays with immaculate finish and buoyancy” (Classic CD), Stephen Farr is widely regarded as one of the finest organists of his generation, with a virtuoso technique and an impressive stylistic grasp of a wide-ranging repertoire.
Stephen Farr has a particular commitment to contemporary music, and has been involved in premieres of works by composers as diverse as Patrick Gowers, Francis Pott, Judith Bingham, and Howard Goodall. He also collaborated with Thomas Adès in a recording for EMI of the composer’s Under Hamelin Hill, part of an extensive and wide-ranging discography. In 2004 he commissioned a new organ symphony from David Briggs, inspired by Maurice Duruflé’s setting of the Requiem mass.
BBC Proms debut
On Sunday 17 July 2011 Stephen made his BBC Proms debut when he premiered a major solo work commissioned on his behalf from Judith Bingham.
"In a superb and serious organ-recital matinee by Stephen Farr, the chief work was the world premiere of The Everlasting Crown by Judith Bingham (b 1952). Her sensuous seven-movement composition explored notions of monarchy and was inspired by famous gemstones such as the Orlov diamond, the Russian spinel and St Edward's sapphire. Farr talked about needing "to have a stiff drink" before choosing which registrations to use for a sonically varied piece such as this. It is true to say that some of us need a stiff drink before attending any organ recital, though not on this occasion. The audience was small but warmly appreciative. Still, 35 minutes of organ music by a woman? Only the yeti is so rarely encountered." Fiona Maddocks, The Guardian, Sunday 24 July
Read Andrew Clement's The Guardian review of the Prom