Artistic Director’s Appeal 2018

Alec Roth commission and première : A time to be born and a time to die

2019 is an exciting year for Ex Cathedra as we celebrate our 50th Anniversary.  We are delighted to mark the start of these celebrations with a world première of Alec Roth’s A time to be born and a time to die, commissioned by Ex Cathedra, Saturday 9th February at the Bramall, University of Birmingham.

Alec Roth, photo credit Sally Corrick

Alec Roth, photo credit Sally Corrick

I should be extremely grateful if you would consider making a donation to help with the costs of this exciting new commission from our composer-in-residence.  His recent commissions with us have included Dawn Chorus – Die güldene Sonne for Summer Music by Candlelight 2017, and Verlass uns nicht, a motet composed to introduce Ex Cathedra’s performance of Bach’s St John Passion in Symphony Hall on Good Friday 2017. He is continuing to write a unique body of work for us and his work is beginning to have the impact around the world it deserves.

Alec’s new commission will be performed with two Bach cantatas: Darzu ist erschienen der Sohn Gottes (For this the Son of God appeared) BWV 40, and the blissful Liebster Gott, wenn werd ich sterben? (Dearest God, when will I die?) BWV 8, with its sublime opening chorus and gorgeous tenor aria.

Bach’s music has been at the heart of our repertoire throughout our 50 years history – and we hope many of you will have enjoyed the six cantatas we performed early December, otherwise known as the “Christmas Oratorio”. Alec is particularly inspired by Bach and has undertaken several visits to Leipzig to study Bach’s cantatas. His collection Shared Ground was written for us as a companion to the Bach motets, and his cantata A time to dance was written for us as a companion to the Bach Magnificat.

The new work will include a piece that we will all sing together, performers and audience, and in keeping with the theme ‘beginnings and endings’ this will be led by a choir of nurses and midwives from St Mary’s Hospice, and from Birmingham Women’s and Children’s Hospital.

This is a very ambitious project and we have already been able to raise a significant amount of our fundraising target. However, we currently have a shortfall of £3,000.

If you are able to support us, we would be delighted to acknowledge your donation:

£50-£249 – your name in the concert programme and a copy of the programme

£250–£499 – an invitation to our pre-concert reception, and a copy of the programme signed by Alec, plus the benefits listed above

£500-£999 – a copy of the score signed by Alec, plus the benefits listed above

£1000 and above – the opportunity to meet with Alec and myself, plus the benefits listed above

Please complete the appeal donation form (word version or pdf version) and return it to Sarah Abbiss, Fundraising Manager via email: or by post: Sarah Abbiss, Ex Cathedra, Berkley Street, Birmingham, B1 2LF. You can also make a donation online via our appeal page on the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) website, which can be accessed here or via the Donate button below.

Thank you for your generosity!

Jeffrey signature



Dr Jeffrey Skidmore OBE
Artistic Director, Ex Cathedra

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