Among a full schedule for 2018 is a new recording of works by Naji Hakim centering on organ and harpsichord. The main soloist is Simon Leach, joined for two works by violinists Benedict Holland, and for one each by recorder player John Turner and tenor Ranald McCusker, the latter singing a plainsong introduction to the program.
Simon Leach’s connection with the composer goes back to 1992, when Leach was awarded a bursary, while a student at the RNCM, to study with Hakim in Paris. He has developed his career to a high level and has performed with the Hallé, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Manchester Camerata, Northern Sinfonia, and other top orchestras; he is a regular performer on the BBC Daily Service and since 2001 has been organist at Holy Name Church in Manchester which has a long and celebrated musical tradition.
In addition to being the recipient of many international awards throughout his career, including one from Pope Benediktus XVI, Hakim has held extended positions as organist at both the Basilique du Sacré-Coeur, Paris and at the l’église de la Trinité, in succession to Olivier Messiaen. He is now professor of musical analysis at the Conservatoire National de Région de Boulogne-Billancourt, and visiting professor at the Royal Academy of Music, London.
The new album, working title ‘Embrace of Fire’, is to be recorded on March 5-7, 2018 at Holy Name Church, Manchester, England with engineer/producer Richard Scott and will be released in CD and digital formats later in 2018 (MSV 28583).