Henry Fairs

Henry Fairs

Head of Organ

Prix D'Exellence

Tel: c/o 0121 331 5901

Henry Fairs is Head of Organ at Birmingham Conservatoire and organist to the University of Birmingham.

Since winning the Odense International Organ Competition he has performed in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Denmark, Poland and the United States. His orchestral concerto début was with the Paris Conservatoire Symphony Orchestra in 2004 playing Jean Guillou’s 6th Concerto. His schedule for 2009 included a Messiaen recital at the Leipzig Gewandhaus, a live broadcast of Poulenc’s organ concerto for Danish Radio from the Carl Nielsen Hall, Odense, and a recital at Worms Cathedral, Germany which opened the Kultursommer Rheinland-Pfalz festival.

Born in Hereford, he received his earliest musical training as a chorister at Leominster Priory. After graduating with First Class Honours from the Birmingham Conservatoire and gaining the Fellowship diploma of the Royal College of Organists with the Turpin and Durrant Prize, a bursary from the Countess of Munster Trust enabled study with Susan Landale in France where in 1999 he won the Premier Prix d’Exellence à l’unanimité du jury. He then undertook further studies in Germany with Thierry Mechler at the Hochschule für Musik, Köln and in England with David Sanger.

Henry enjoys playing a broad, ecletic repertoire that includes complete organ works of Messiaen & Duruflé (the latter recorded on Naxos). He is in increasing demand as a teacher, and in recent years has been a guest tutor on courses for the Royal College of Organists, Oundle for Organists and the Eton Choral Course. During 2011 he will be a guest tutor at the Royal Danish Conservatory in Copenhagen.

Awards and Prizes  
2007: First Prize & Special Prize - Odense International Organ Competition, Denmark
2005: Second Prize - St Albans International Organ Competition, UK  
2004: Concerto Prize & Deuxieme Grand Prix (interpretation) - Ville de Paris International Organ Competition, France  
2002: Prix Maurice Duruflé - Chartres International Organ Competition, France  
2002: Finalist - Dublin International Organ Competition

Current Projects
  • 2008-: Messiaen - The Organ Works (Barber Institute of Fine Arts/University of Birmingham)

Recent Recordings & Broadcasts

  • 2009: Danish Radio (DR) - Live broadcast of Poulenc Organ Concerto & Duruflé, Odense Symphony Orchestra, Denmark
  • 2008: Bayerischer Rundfunk - Live broadcast & recording from the Internationale Orgelwoche, Nuremberg, Germany
  • 2007: CD Duruflé - Complete Organ Works (Naxos 8.557924)
    "Fairs emerges as a top-notch performer. His registrations, tempos, and sensitivity to subtle nuances in phrasing and articulation are superb." American Record Guide

Recent Summer Courses & Masterclasses Given

  • 2009: Lecture Recital "Mendlessohn & German Romantic Organ Music", RCO/St Giles Summer School, London.
  • 2009: Co-tutor with David Goode, Eton Choral Course Organists Course, Cambridge
  • 2008: Tutor & Recitalist, Oundle for Organists course for prospective organ scholars, Cambridge

Programme notes on Messiaen's organ works
  • 2008: Messiaen - The Organ Works (Barber Institute of Fine Arts / University of Birmingham and essays
  • 2008: The organ of La Trinité during the time of Messiaen
  • 2008: The organ of the Great Hall, University of Birmingham

Sleve notes on Duruflé's life and organ works - Naxos 8.557924
  • 2007: Duruflé - Complete Organ Works (Naxos Organ Encyclopedia)

Royal College of Organists News Vol 12, issue 3
  • 2007: Pipelines interview

Article in Organists' Review
  • 2005: Registering German Romantic Organ Music
Professional Memberships