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Introduction

Festival of Sacred Music

Buckfast Abbey is celebrating 1000 years since its foundation, with a nine day festival of sacred music.

Commencing on Saturday 14th April 2018 over the nine days we will be hosting performances from the world renowned Westminster Cathedral Choir, the Choir of Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral, as well as a specially commissioned work by Matthew Martin.

We are holding two young composers' competitions (a choral composition based upon the motto of the Abbey, and an organ composition based on the monastic chant Memorare), each with a prize of £1,000.

Sign up for updates and come and join us for a millennium to remember.

Latest Updates

Find out more about the competitions

Competitions

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Music Lists

Music Lists

Full details of the ‘Order of Services and Music’ can be downloaded as a PDF document here

1 - Lent Term 2017 - Buckfast Abbey OSM

2 - Advent Term 2017 - Buckfast Abbey OSM

An archive of previous 'Order of Services' will be made available in the coming weeks.

Abbey Musicians

Philip Arkwright  - Organist & Master of the Music

In September 2013, Philip was appointed Organist and Master of the Music at the Abbey.  Philip, originally born in St Helens, Merseyside, spent the previous twelve years at Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King.
Philip graduated from Liverpool Hope University, with a combined honours degree in Theology and Religious Studies, with Music.  During his time at university, Philip was Organ Scholar at the University St Catherine’s Chapel, and also sang as a Choral Scholar at the Metropolitan Cathedral.
After graduation, Philip was appointed Organ Scholar at the Cathedral for two years, which then led to his subsequent appointment as Assistant Organist.
During this time, Philip was pleased to be involved in many areas of the liturgical life of the cathedral;  as well as the daily opus Dei (the daily round of choral services), Philip participated in television and radio broadcasts, CD recordings, concerts, and choir tours to Canada, Germany, France, Holland and Ireland, as well as venues in the United Kingdom.

In 2008, Philip embarked upon an exciting project, in conjunction with the Cathedral Choir School, to found a choir of girl choristers, giving girls the opportunity to benefit from a chorister education. The girls’ choir very quickly matured, and under his direction was recognised as the leading choir of girl choristers in the country.  The girls’ choir also developed a series of broadcasts, recordings and tours.  Interestingly, the last tour Philip organised with the girls’ choir and lay clerks of the cathedral, was to Buckfast Abbey.  Philip was pleased that the Abbey was the last place he ever conducted the girls’ choir, in his new post!  Philip is incredibly excited to start work at the Abbey, and has many plans to develop the musical tradition at the Abbey.
For all enquiries, please email:  



Richard Lea

Appointed Assistant Organist at the Abbey in September 2016. He was formally the Organist and Assistant Director of Music at the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King, Liverpool.

He studied at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester and Christ’s and Notre Dame College in Liverpool and was Organ Scholar at Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral studying with Noel Rawsthorne, Terence Duffy and Philip Duffy. He was then Organist at the Church of St. Oswald and St Edmund Arrowsmith, Ashton-in-Makerfield, Lancashire.
He was appointed Organist at the Cathedral in 1999 working with Mervyn Cousins, Keith Orrell, Terence Duffy, Timothy Noon and Christopher McElroy.  He directed for many years Wigan Choral Society, the Brixi Singers, and the Metropolitan Cathedral Cantata Choir. He has made numerous broadcasts and has recorded three discs of the music of Lefébure Wély (featured in BBC Radio 2’s The Organist Entertains), the complete organ works of the Welsh composer William Mathias and the World Premiere recording of Sir John Tavener’s Requiem (on EMI with the RLPO and Choir conducted by Vasily Petrenko).  
Reviews include - ‘it is Richard Lea’s superb playing that steals the show’ (Organists’ Review)’ ‘really first rate playing’, ‘masterful’ (Gramophone), ‘Here is music and playing that will lift your spirits (American Organist), ‘the performances are brilliant…and genuinely moving’ (International Record Review), ‘exemplary performances – 5 stars’ (Orgelnieuws). He has recently released a DVD, receiving great reviews – ‘Bravado performances’, ‘This is one of the most outstanding instrumental releases on DVD this year’ (International Record Review), ‘Virtuosic and riveting’, ‘Highly recommended’ (Organists’ Review).

Abbey Choirs

The Abbey choirs

The Abbey choir was founded in the year 2009; the Choir has since developed a wide ranging repertoire, specialising in the early polyphonic music of the sixteenth century, from composers of the English School, Tavener, Byrd and Tallis, as well as composers of the continental schools, Palestrina, Victoria and Philips. Complimenting this early music, the choir sings from a vast repertoire of the French romantic tradition, from composers such as Widor, Vierne, Langlais and Duruflé. The choir also enjoys the challenge of singing new and contemporary music of the modern Catholic composers, James MacMillan, Roxanna Panufnik as well as composer in residence and monk Dom Sebastian Wolff.  The Abbey choir has quickly gained an outstanding musical reputation, drawing upon singers from across Devon and beyond.

The choir gives one concert a term in the Abbey.

The choir is composed of eight Sopranos, four Counter-Tenors, four Tenors and four Basses. Applications for places in the choir should be sent by email to: Philip Arkwright - Organist & Master of the Music  


Abbey voluntary choir

The Abbey voluntary choir was founded in the year 2010; the choir’s first director was Trevor Jarvis. The Voluntary Choir is an unauditioned choir, open to all, comprised mainly of the Abbey congregation who wish to participate in the choral foundation.  The choir rehearses on Thursday evenings and sings occasionally at the Sunday 10:30 Conventual Mass. The choir is very much a congregational leadership choir, learning hymns, psalms, motets as well as the Gregorian chant Masses.
The choir is composed of around 35 people. 

If you wish to join the Voluntary choir, please send an email to: Philip Arkwright - Organist & Master of the Music




Concerts

Concerts

The Abbey is fast becoming a centre for the arts (and sacred music especially) in the South West, hosting a busy and successful concert series. As well as the Abbey Choir, which gives four concerts annually, the Abbey is used as a base by a number of local choirs. The Abbey has a sublime acoustics and is an inspiring building in which to make music in.

Young Composers' Competitions

Fri 1st Dec | Entry Cost £10

Buckfast Abbey is celebrating 1000 years since its foundation, with a nine day festival of sacred music. We are holding two young composers' competitions (a choral composition based upon the motto of the Abbey, and an organ composition based on the monastic chant Memorare), each with a prize of £1,000.

...Please click here for more up coming concerts at Buckfast Abbey

If you would are interested in bringing your choir to sing as part of the concert series, please email Philip Arkwright at


Newsletter

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Pre-Concert Two Course Meal

Attending a concert at the Abbey? Why not make an evening of it by taking advantage of our pre-concert dinners or snacks in the Grange Restaurant. Accommodation is also available in the idyllic setting of Northgate House, at a reduced price for concert goers. Call 01364 645630 quoting 'Concert Offer 1'

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Recordings

Recordings

The first review of the recent Abbey Choir CD recording from Mark Sealey of Music Web International:

"This is a compelling collection of over twenty Hymns of the Divine Office."

"There is a certainty and confidence in each relatively short work."

"The directness and clarity achieved by the Choir of Buckfast Abbey under Philip Arkwright amply support this plain purpose."

"They preserve the beauty and richness of both text and melody - largely by appealing to the lucidity of the melody coupled with the import of the text."

"Arkwright, who was born in 1983 and appointed Organist and Master of the Music at Buckfast in 2013, keeps a tight ship. One knows at least that one is in good hands."


"The works are of great beauty and convey a certainty."

"The acoustic is the oft-recorded one of Buckfast Abbey, Devon - which is a modern reconstruction dating from the early part of the twentieth century - with a beautiful balance of resonance and penetration."

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Christe Redemptor Omnium - preview
Lustris sex qui jam peractis - preview
O Lux Beata Trinitas - preview
Veni Creator Spiritus - preview
Vexilla Regis Prodeunt - preview

Visiting Choirs


Visiting Choirs

The Abbey is superb venue for a choir tour. Located in the heart of Dartmoor national park, and having residential facilities on sight, plus the opportunity to perform in the Abbey. We welcome visiting choirs, to sing at the 10:30 Conventual Mass, when the Abbey choir is not in residence.


For all enquiries, please email:  

4
Blessing of Oulton Abbey Care Home - 6th September 2017

The new Care Home at Oulton Abbey was blessed by Abbot David on Wednesday 6th September. In the 20th century Buckfast supplied five chaplains for the Benedictine Nuns of Oulton and we continue our association with Oulton to this day. The Care Home in the former school was opened in the 1980s. The buildings were no longer up to the standard required thus a new care home was built in the grounds of the Abbey. As a point of interest the Abbey Church was the first church designed by Edward Pugin when only 19 years old. He was the son of A W Pugin.

Summer Food Fair - 15th July 2017

Locally sourced produce available in the Abbey grounds. The event organised by The Grange, the restaurant adjacent to the Abbey Church.

Run to the Son - 23rd-25th June 2017

Diocese of Plymouth at Buckfast - Prayer and Inspiration forMission. Photographs show the Vigil which started at 23:30, followed by Procession of the Blessed Sacrament, then Dawn Mass on Sunday morning celebrated by the Bishop at 05:30.

Mary: Icon of the Church

Mary – Icon of the Church
The Role of the Blessed Virgin Mary

The doctrine of the Trinity contains within it the reason for the uniqueness of humanity’s relationship with God – Jesus, being true God and true man unites divinity ...

Kindness: a School Mass

Kindness – a School Mass

Jesus says that we must love others as he loves us. We must think about what he might mean by this. In the first place we know that he showed his love by allowing ...

Baptism of Teddy

Baptism of Teddy

Living as a Christian means wanting to be a complete human being. We easily think of the Christian claim that Jesus is God, but we should also think that Jesus is a human being in the fullest ...

Garden Philosophy and Organics

A walk and talk with the Abbey's Head Gardener.

Plymouth Diocese Silent Retreat in October

Choose from: Friday 6th to Sunday 8th of October (weekend retreat) Monday 9th of to Friday 13th of October (midweek retreat) Friday 6th of to Friday 13th October (6 day retreat)

Buckfast Abbey: History, Art and Architecture - Book Launch and Conference

Come and attend this unique occasion to hear from highly respected authors who have contributed to the forthcoming publication "Buckfast Abbey: History, Art and Architecture" edited by Rev Peter Beacham.