Robert Sholl

Robert Sholl is an organist, pianist, and academic who teaches at The Royal Academy of Music and the University of West London, and who has published widely on twentieth-century music. Robert studied the piano with Michael Brimer and Mack Jost, and the organ with Lindsay O’Neill in Australia. Robert then studied the organ with Olivier Latry (Notre-Dame de Paris). In 2016-17 he performed all of the organ works of Messiaen at Arundel Cathedral (see https://arundelcathedral.uk/2016-messiaen-organ-concerts). In 2021-23 he will play all of the Vierne organ symphonies together with major works of Tournemire and chamber music and songs, as well as the complete organ works of Maurice Duruflé (see https://arundelcathedral.uk/2021-organ-concerts). Robert has played at St Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, St John’s, Smith Square, and twice both at the Madeleine and at Notre-Dame de Paris. In May 2021 he gave recitals at Southwark Cathedral and at Exeter College, Oxford, which included this improvisation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jhb8x0fKfXM

Improvisation has become a regular part of Robert’s recitals and he has released improvisations to silent films: James Sibley Watson’s and Melville Webber’s The Fall of the House of Usher (for which he published a companion article in Perspective of New Music in 2020), Rupert Julian’s The Phantom of the Opera (Unmasking Scene), which was shown at The Barbican Centre in 2017, and a live recording of Maria’s dance from Fritz Lang’s Metropolis at. https://youtu.be/NsCOF1KHMJs. He has also released improvisations to two films by Georges Méliès: the fairy-tale films Le Voyage dans la lune (1902) at https://youtu.be/zOMq5X9fFZk and Le Rêve de Noël (1900) at https://youtu.be/RHNSqSyYOhw. In 2021-22 he collaborated with Dr. Leslie McMurtry (University of Salford) to create the first radio dramatisation of Phantom, for which he has written and recorded three songs and an opera scene using a period piano and straight voices. This is available here: https://theshatteredpodcast.com and on iTunes at https://podcasts.apple.com/…/the-shattered…/id1639167690.

Robert has recorded Les ombres du Phantôm, a set of fourteen improvisations that act as thematic shadows of Gaston Leroux’s novel Le Phantôm de l’Opéra (1910). The improvisations were recorded using the organs of Coventry and Arundel Cathedrals, some with soprano and saxophone/bass clarinet. They use an invented musical language, and explore the acoustics of those buildings, the gesture and the materiality of the instruments in physical, spiritual and sonic space that is enhanced and extended through recording technology and electronic augmentations. See https://www.phantomopera.co.uk.

In 2021 he was an invited jury member for the Fundación BBVA Frontiers of Knowledge Awards. He is also a council member of the Guild of Church Musicians, a member of the Academic Board of the Royal College of Organists, and a member of the international Global Hyperorgan artistic research project.

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