|Organist & Conductor
PROFESSOR IAN TRACEY has had a life-long association with Liverpool Cathedral and its music and, with his two illustrious predecessors, continues the tradition of an almost apostolic succession. He studied organ with Lewis Rust and then with his immediate precursor Dr. Noel Rawsthorne. Studies at Trinity College, London, culminated in Fellowship, after which, scholarship grants enabled him to continue his studies in Paris, with both Andre Isoir and Jean Langlais. A further scholarship enabled him to study conducting with the late Dr. Vernon Handley CBE.
In 1980 he became the youngest cathedral organist in the country, a post he has held for the past 43 years. Since his appointment, he has played most of the major venues in this country, and an increasing number in Europe; very much in demand in the U.S.A., he has made 25 extensive tours, playing in all the major Cities and in 1999 & 2003 undertook major tours of Southern Australia, recitaling, examining and teaching. Recent seasons have included concerts in New York, Seattle, San Francisco, Bermuda, Paris, Jersey, Germany, Spain, Italy & The Netherlands.
On the wider musical canvas, he is a frequent broadcaster with the B.B.C., and his recordings on the Cathedral Organ have met with wide acclaim from the critics, recording for E.M.I., CHANDOS and PRIORY. He regularly examines and adjudicates and, over the 38 years of his tenure as Chorus Master to the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Society, conducted over 250 concerts with the RLPO and Chorus, and still conducts their highly successful annual 'Spirit of Christmas' concerts.
He was Guest Director of Music for the BBC Daily Service for 20 years and is a past President of the Incorporated Association of Organists of Great Britain. He is Organist to the City of Liverpool and Curator of the historic 'Father' Willis organ at St. George's Hall, Liverpool where he plays monthly recitals and officiates at City functions. He is also Professor, Fellow and Organist at Liverpool, John Moores University, and Tonal Director for Church Organ World.
In 1994, he was awarded the North West Arts Award for Classical Music, and in 2006 the University of Liverpool conferred him Doctor of Music, in recognition of his long and distinguished service to music in Liverpool and of his national and international reputation. The Royal College of Organists, the Royal School of Church Music and the Guild of Church Musicians have each awarded him Fellowships for distinguished services to church music and to mark his international reputation as a musician. He was commissioned as a Deputy Lieutenant for the County of Merseyside in 2015.
The American Organist: "As this recording [Priory PRDVD1 DVD/CD] proves, he is a consummate master of the instrument and the music he performs on it. Such an instrument in such a space is destined to produce grand effects, and so it does under Tracey's inimitable artistry... Tracey easily stands in line with the past greats such as Best, Lemare and Thalben-Ball. He is a virtuoso and a musician of the first order." (James Hildreth)
San Francisco Classical Voice: "Ian Tracey's long association with Liverpool Cathedral and its cavernous acoustics served him well in his recital Sunday at Grace Cathedral ... His playing exhibited an adept and somewhat slick aspect, though without being tacky or pushing the bounds of taste. His consistent articulation and unerring sense of rhythm kept the music clear and propulsive, and his registration was well-chosen ... Tracey's playing was intimate when it needed to be and showy when it was called for, and in no way was the music compromised. If, as Rorem thought, only the anointed can appreciate an organ recital, then we need more players of Ian Tracey's caliber and temperament to bring the uninitiated back into the fold."
The Gramophone: "Ian Tracey has a stunning technique and a markedly individual style, fashioned to cope with the immense space in which he plays. In matters of tempo, phrasing and registration, he has learned very much to think on a grand scale ... A fine record of an outstanding artist playing an instrument which is one of the wonders of the musical world"
The Times: "Ian Tracey has a coruscating technique, a devastating talent for registration and a charmingly modest enthusiasm for the music"
Daily Post: "Ian Tracey gave an outstanding account of the instrument's tonal range with music which ran from the Baroque to the contemporary. It will be many a day before we hear anything better!"
Organ Club Journal: "Ian Tracey 's playing and control of this huge instrument is quite magnificent!"
London Evening Star: "This was a first class concert by a player who has already attained significant heights in the organ world and who on this showing will go much further"
Liverpool Echo: "The thing that astonishes is the tenacity of his playing, the wide interpretive powers he brings to music of different periods; all proving that the excellence which critics and public have perceived in his recordings is not fluke of technology, but a living art!"
The Gramophone: "Tracey handles this virtuosic solo part wonderfully. He uses this great hulking brute of an organ with a surety of touch which comes not only from years of intimate experience, but from a deep understanding of what is needed"
The Gramophone: "When the stars conspire, the astrological charts augur well or contracts and schedules can be agreed, let's hope for more from the earth-shaking team: how about Guilmants Second Symphony which, for my money, works rather better than the first?"
The Organist's Review: "Tracey's more persuasive thoughts come in the quieter moments of less familiar works, like Pierne's Trios Pieces, well recorded in the cavernous acoustic"
The American Organist: "That technique, together with the spectacular acoustic, Ian Tracey verve, and the Willis, sums up to an unsurpassable and spectacular reading of the Poulenc."