Jablonski, Marek (Michael)

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Jackson, Francis (Alan)

(b Malton, Yorks., 2 Oct 1917). English organist and composer. He was a chorister and pupil of Sir Edward Bairstow at York, whose influence was to mould his entire life. While organist of Malton parish church (1933–40) he became an FRCO (1937), gaining the Limpus Prize. His first composition was an organ impromptu in honour of Bairstow's 70th birthday, written in Itlay during wartime service and first performed in York Minster in 1945. A year later he succeeded his mentor as master of the music at York, remaining there until 1982, when he retired to concentrate on composing. Like Bairstow, Jackson became a prolific composer of choral and organ music and many of his works have found a firm place in the repertory.

Jackson made an international name as a recitalist, particularly in the USA, and in his day probably gave more inaugural recitals than any of his contemporaries, one of his great strengths being the ability to demonstrate an organ colourfully and comprehensively. His recordings include classic performances of Bairstow and Willan. He has played recitals in virtually every major British venue, including several at the Royal Festival Hall and a notable one at Westminster Abbey in 1957 for the International Congress of Organists. Among his most significant organ works are four sonatas (1969, 1972, 1979, 1985) and a concerto, first performed in Dunfermline Abbey in June 1985. For many years he was in demand as a consultant on organ design, his outstanding achievements being the rebuilt York organ and the new organ in Blackburn Cathedral (1970), for which he composed his Sonata in G minor. He gained his DMus (Durham) in 1957, became a Fellow of Westminster Choir College, Princeton, New Jersey, in 1970, and was president of the Royal College of Organists from 1972 to 1974. He was awarded the OBE in 1978 and an honorary doctorate from the University of York in 1983.


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