Jennifer Bate OBE – Organ

Listen to Jennifer Bate OBE on Women’s Hour, featuring examples of her work.
Please note that some of the captions are incorrect. The first piece is not the Elgar Sonata; it is the Imperial March Op 32 Elgar arr. Sir George Martin. Sonata No 3 by Felix Mendelssohn is Op 65, and the extract by Messiaen is Transports de joie from l’Ascensionby Olivier Messiaen.

“Jennifer Bate’s lyrical approach and sensitive registration is a constant delight.” The Organ

Polyphony Arts is delighted to offer concert programmes from Jennifer Bate OBE, worldwide.

Career Highlights

Jennifer Bate has long been acknowledged as a major figure in the top rank of international organists and is a favourite at all the world’s great festivals. She is widely recognised as the world authority on the organ works of Olivier Messiaen in consequence of which, in addition to her many British honours, the French Government appointed her both an Officier of the Order of Arts and Letters and a Chevalier of the Légion d’Honneur.

Jennifer’s vast repertoire ranges from the 18th century to the most modern virtuoso scores which she has performed in nearly 50 countries across the globe. Many composers have written for her, inspired by her phenomenal technique and ability to bring out the colours of the organ.

Repertoire

Jennifer offers bespoke programmes for each concert, which are tailored to the exact specifications of the organ she will be performing on. To receive suggestions for your venue, please get in touch.

As well as Jennifer’s extensive repertoire for solo organ we are also delighted to offer her repertoire for performance with both full symphony orchestra and other ensembles, as listed here.

Jennifer Bate and Olivier Messiaen at Westminster Cathedral following the British premiere of Livre du Saint Sacrement.

Jennifer Bate and Messiaen

In 1971-81, Jennifer recorded the composer’s complete works at Beauvais Cathedral.  Each disc, which went on to garner international acclaim, was heard and endorsed by Messiaen prior to release. Jennifer became the composer’s organist of choice to whom he re-allocated all his own organ recitals over the last decade of his life.  All her scores are marked with his personal nuances of interpretation and she continues to play his last masterpiece for organ, Livre du Saint Sacrement, from his own manuscript. 

“Messiaen declared the Bate version of La Nativité truly perfect…It is sheer magic throughout but most importantly in those very slow-moving pieces where only the most careful adjustment of timing, registration and dynamics can hold the listener spellbound.” Gramophone

Following her British première of this last work, at Westminster Cathedral (1986) in the presence of the composer, Messiaen invited her to make the world première recording on his own instrument in Paris, a landmark recording which was to acheive exceptional international success, winning a Grand Prix du Disque.  In 1995, Jennifer opened the Messiaen Festival at l’Eglise de la Sainte Trinité, Paris, where his complete organ works were performed and recorded.  The numerous awards for her recordings of Messaien’s ouevre include the Diapason d’Or and Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik

Other work

Jennifer has a deep knowledge of the history of music, and lectures on a wide range of musical subjects, including masterclasses, and lectures at Oxford, Cambridge and Bristol Universities.  She particularly enjoys working with young people.  Her pioneering education programme, A Guide to the King of Instruments, continues to be in great demand for all age groups, as is attendance at her annual Jennifer Bate Organ Academy for girls whose alumni include a number of Oxford and Cambridge University Organ Scholars.

Composition

Jennifer is also is also a gifted composer for the organ. Her CD, Reflections, forms a musical autobiography spanning 25 years.

You can also read more about Jennifer on her website.