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Thornbury Parish


Joachim Schwander


Director of music

I was born in Switzerland, where I have worked as a music journalist, recitalist, music teacher and church musician. Positions have included Assistant Director of Music at the Protestant Church in Dietikon and Titular Organist at Liestal Stadtkirche. At the latter place I founded the Heures mystiques concerts, a series of fortnightly improvisation recitals featuring organ solos as well as joint performances with musicians from the local classical and jazz scenes.

Trained in Zurich, Strasbourg and at the Royal Academy of Music in London, I’m interested in the variety of ways in which faith can be expressed in music, from Gregorian Chant via Renaissance Polyphony to organ improvisation and experimental music of the 21st century. Fascinated by symphonic organ playing and attracted by the country’s strong choral tradition, I moved to the UK in 2009 to receive important inspiration from Nicolas Kynaston and Patrick Russill, as well as from a one-year organ scholarship at Sherborne Abbey. Besides my church duties I conduct and accompany choirs, play organ recitals, teach piano, organ and theory and enjoy meeting up with friends in Bristol, where my partner Irene and I live.