‘Cecilia McDowall is one of the leading choral and vocal composers of her generation.’

MUSICAL OPINION

‘McDowall’s work has qualities that include a communicative gift that is very rare in modern music, a composer well worth seeking out; she is very gifted, and always knows exactly what she is doing, and why.’

GRAMOPHONE

‘Cecilia McDowall’s music constantly tweaks the ear with her range of spicy rhythms and colours, then suddenly produces a highly atmospheric and grippingly expressive interlude which is just as compelling.’
GRAMOPHONE

‘Cecilia McDowall is one of the leading choral and vocal composers of her generation.’

MUSICAL OPINION

CECILIA McDOWALL

‘Cecilia McDowall is another of the new generation of highly communicative musicians who favours writing which, without being in any way facile, is brightly cogent, freshly witty and expressive in its own right.’
GRAMOPHONE
‘The life-affirming, restorative strength of her direct and unaffected speech is fully communicated in these carefully prepared, joyous performances.’
TEMPO

FEATURED WORK

This exciting fifteen-minute work for SSATB and solo violin draws its title from Edward Winslow’s 1624 chronicles, Good Newes from New England, in which he describes the Mayflower Pilgrims’ settlement in the New World. The first of the three movements describes the Pilgrims’ perilous journey, the second, the mysterious disappearance of Governor William Bradford’s wife, and the third movement, Thanksgiving, is a time of rejoicing. The cantata closes with Henry Ainsworth’s version of ‘The Old Hundredth’, which was sung on the Mayflower; the audience is encouraged to join the choir in singing this hymn.

Next year will see the 400th anniversary of the 1624 chronicles on which Good News from New England is based.

‘McDowall’s radiant anthem sets the words of Puritan separatist William Bradford as he recounts the voyage of the Mayflower. The work dextrously captures both the sway of the ocean and the relief of reaching firm ground.’

BBC MUSIC MAGAZINE

EVENTS

Forthcoming Concerts

17 July 2024 | Tenebrae | Ryedale Festival

Location: Ampleforth Abbey, Ampleforth, North Yorkshire, YO62 4ER, UK

25 July 2024 | Abbey Bach Festival | In Mulierbus

Location: Mount Angel Abbey, Saint Benedict, Oregon, United States

FEATURED RECORDING

Of the Da Vinci Requiem, The Times writes: ‘There is much sparkling and shimmering in McDowall’s writing. Cadences quiver and shiver unresolved, then vaporise as though overcome by their mysteriousness. The most persuasive historical gesture is in the Lux aeterna as two violins spiral upwards in Monteverdian musical calligraphy’.
.

★★★★★ ‘McDowall’s Da Vinci Requiem is a masterpiece. The performance here is compelling and 70 Degrees below Zero forms a perfect musical coupling … especially in such a fine performance as this …The performances are uniformly excellent, as is the presentation of this important release.’
THE ORGAN

★★★★★ ‘For many years now Cecilia McDowall has occupied a special place in the UK’s choral scene. With an exceptional ability for finding texts – sometimes unexpected texts – for musical setting, McDowall’s individual way with melody wedded to an often intriguing harmonic vocabulary has made her music many friends.’
CHOIR AND ORGAN

‘The Da Vinci Requiem is musically engaging but also, I reckon, a lot of fun to sing.’
THE ARTS DESK

LATEST NEWS

BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour

BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour

‘’On 15 May, Cecilia McDowall and St Paul’s first female full-time chorister, Carris Jones, talk about championing and celebrating women in a traditionally male world.’’ Listen here

read more

OUP CATALOGUE

‘During the past few years the music of this British composer has been heard more and more, and her output has impressed audiences, players and critics alike. It deserves to.’

‘During the past few years the music of this British composer has been heard more and more, and her output has impressed audiences, players and critics alike. It deserves to.’

‘She constantly tweaks the ear with her range of spicy rhythms and colours then suddenly produces a highly atmospheric and grippingly expressive interlude which is just as compelling.’
GRAMOPHONE

‘She constantly tweaks the ear with her range of spicy rhythms and colours then suddenly produces a highly atmospheric and grippingly expressive interlude which is just as compelling.’
GRAMOPHONE