Ian Tracey
Organist & Conductor
BIOGRAPHY
Ian Tracey has a life-long association with Liverpool Cathedral and its music. Together with his two illustrious predecessors, Henry Goss-Custard and Noel Rawsthorne, he continues the tradition of an almost Apostolic Succession. He initally studied organ with Lewis Rust and then with Noel Rawsthorne. Studies at Trinity College, London, culminated in Fellowship, after which scholarship grants enabled him to study with Andre Isoir and Jean Langlais in Paris, and conducting with Vernon (Tod) Handley.

When Ian was appointed Organist of Liverpool Cathedral in 1980, he was the youngest cathedral organist in Britain. After 27 years of service, the Cathedral's Dean & Chapter created the post of 'Organist Titulaire', which allows him freedom to devote more time to playing, lecturing, recording, and writing. Ian has played at most of the major venues in this country and at an increasing number in Europe. He is very much in demand in the USA - where he has made 23 extensive tours, playing in all of the major cities. During 1999 and 2003, he undertook tours of Southern Australia which saw him playing recitals, examining, and teaching. Recent seasons have included concerts in New York, Seattle, San Francisco, Bermuda, Paris, Holland, Germany, Jersey and Spain.

On the wider musical canvas, Ian is a frequent broadcaster with the BBC. His recordings - for EMI, Chandos, and Priory - on the Liverpool Cathedral Organ have met with wide acclaim from the critics. He regularly examines and adjudicates and, over the past 32 years, has conducted some 250 concerts with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus.

Ian holds Fellowships from twenty prestigious musical institutions, both here and abroad, including the Royal College of Organists, as one of only 28 Honorary Fellows worldwide. In 2006, the University of Liverpool conferred upon him the degree of Doctor of Music, recognising his long and distinguished service to music in Liverpool and his national and international reputation. In 2008, the Royal School of Church Music and, in 2009, the Guild of Church Musicians, awarded him Fellowships for services to church music.

Ian's other posts include: Organist to the City of Liverpool; Organist at St George's Hall; Chorus Master to the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Society; Guest Director of Music for the BBC's Daily Service; Professor, Fellow, and Organist at Liverpool John Moores University; Tonal Director for Makin Organs & Copeman Hart Ltd. [website]
REVIEWS
The American Organist: "As this recording [Priory PRDVD1 DVD/CD] proves, he is a consummate master of the instrument and the music he performs on it. Such an instrument in such a space is destined to produce grand effects, and so it does under Tracey's inimitable artistry... Tracey easily stands in line with the past greats such as Best, Lemare and Thalben-Ball. He is a virtuoso and a musician of the first order." (James Hildreth)

San Francisco Classical Voice: "Ian Tracey's long association with Liverpool Cathedral and its cavernous acoustics served him well in his recital Sunday at Grace Cathedral ... His playing exhibited an adept and somewhat slick aspect, though without being tacky or pushing the bounds of taste. His consistent articulation and unerring sense of rhythm kept the music clear and propulsive, and his registration was well-chosen ... Tracey's playing was intimate when it needed to be and showy when it was called for, and in no way was the music compromised. If, as Rorem thought, only the anointed can appreciate an organ recital, then we need more players of Ian Tracey's caliber and temperament to bring the uninitiated back into the fold."

The Gramophone: "Ian Tracey has a stunning technique and a markedly individual style, fashioned to cope with the immense space in which he plays. In matters of tempo, phrasing and registration, he has learned very much to think on a grand scale ... A fine record of an outstanding artist playing an instrument which is one of the wonders of the musical world"

The Times: "Ian Tracey has a coruscating technique, a devastating talent for registration and a charmingly modest enthusiasm for the music"

Daily Post: "Ian Tracey gave an outstanding account of the instrument's tonal range with music which ran from the Baroque to the contemporary. It will be many a day before we hear anything better!"

Organ Club Journal: "Ian Tracey 's playing and control of this huge instrument is quite magnificent!"

London Evening Star: "This was a first class concert by a player who has already attained significant heights in the organ world and who on this showing will go much further"

Liverpool Echo: "The thing that astonishes is the tenacity of his playing, the wide interpretive powers he brings to music of different periods; all proving that the excellence which critics and public have perceived in his recordings is not fluke of technology, but a living art!"

The Gramophone: "Tracey handles this virtuosic solo part wonderfully. He uses this great hulking brute of an organ with a surety of touch which comes not only from years of intimate experience, but from a deep understanding of what is needed"

The Gramophone: "When the stars conspire, the astrological charts augur well or contracts and schedules can be agreed, let's hope for more from the earth-shaking team: how about Guilmants Second Symphony which, for my money, works rather better than the first?"

The Organist's Review: "Tracey's more persuasive thoughts come in the quieter moments of less familiar works, like Pierne's Trios Pieces, well recorded in the cavernous acoustic"

The American Organist: "That technique, together with the spectacular acoustic, Ian Tracey verve, and the Willis, sums up to an unsurpassable and spectacular reading of the Poulenc."