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John Birch was organist and master of the choristers at Chichester Cathedral, where he served from 1958-80, then at The Temple Church, London, until 1997, following in the footsteps of George Thalben-Ball, Walford Davies and EJ Hopkins. He was only the fourth organist there since 1841.

Prom 43: Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/ Litton, Royal Albert Hall

There are programmes and there are Proms programmes and this three-tier special was of mythic proportions.

Gordon Lorenz: Producer and songwriter best known for his No 1 ‘There’s No One Quite Like Grandma’

It's hard to write about Gordon Lorenz without being condescending. He produced easy listening music for the silent majority, and as a songwriter his best-known composition was "There's No One Quite Like Grandma", which admittedly was a No 1.

The Royal Ballet, O2 Arena, London

Two houses, both alike in dignity...first Covent Garden and now the 02

Chris de Burgh, Royal Albert Hall, London

Swaggering onto the stage sporting a buccaneer's waistcoat, Chris de Burgh initially looks like he watched his Pirates of the Caribbean DVDs a little too closely when penning his latest (and 18th) album – 2010's Moonfleet & Other Stories.

Musical youth: Proms opens with teen – and closes with youngest conductor since 1904

The BBC Proms, the world's most prestigious classical music festival, is to make way for the fledgling talent and relative inexperience of a 19-year-old debutant pianist, the youngest Last Night conductor in more than a century and a 22-year-old who only learned her instrument in the 1990s. The pianist, Benjamin Grosvenor, will have just turned 19 when he becomes the youngest soloist to appear at the Proms' First Night on 15 July.

Symphonies for the dancefloor

A new club anthem mixes Paganini with dreamy vocals and dance beats. But how radical is it? Chris Mugan explores the chequered history of the pop-classical crossover

Nicola Benedetti: Still young, but now a proper star

The violinist won BBC Young Musician of the Year six years ago, aged 16. She tells Jessica Duchen about her new CD, her Stradivariusand why practice makes perfect

Business Diary: Help with your hyrdopower

Did you think silly government "advice" pamphlets pushing Whitehall insanity had been killed off by the demise of New Labour and the advent of austerity? You'd be wrong if you did. Climate change minister Greg Barker's come up with a doozy. Visiting "a successful community hydro scheme" (translation: water wheel) in the Peak District he announced that former mills and water turbines brought back to life will now be eligible for financial support under the feed-in tariff. Fair enough. But in case you needed help with waking up your water resources there's now a (drum roll) "Hydropower Help Guide" being launched. Perhaps we could cut some more emissions with its hot air?

How the Proms turned populist (without offending the purists)

This year, everyone is welcome at the Albert Hall. David Lister salutes a vintage season

Il Divo Christmas, Hammersmith Apollo, London

I hope we can contribute tonight to you getting in the spirit of Christmas," smiles tenor Urs Bühler, with that gaze of a man who knows that Il Divo fans need little more than harmonious revamps to get them in the spirit of anything, really – especially if it's a middle-aged female who's joined in the festivities to soak in the glistening Spaniard Carlos Marín, who, when announcing that the quartet would be singing "Hallelujah", was promptly met by said fan's orgasmic "yes, yes, yes!", leaving the balcony in stitches.

Robert Kirby: Musical arranger who worked with Nick Drake and Elvis Costello

The musical arranger, conductor, composer and multi-instrumentalist Robert Kirby was best known for the delicate, understated arrangements he created for Nick Drake on Five Leaves Left, the singer-songwriter's 1969 debut, and its 1970 follow-up, Bryter Layter. These albums, together with Pink Moon – the musician's bleak third album recorded without Kirby – only sold a few thousand copies at the time of their release, and following Drake's death after an overdose of antidepressant drugs in November 1974, he was almost forgotten.

Business Diary: Racing TV tunes up for classical music fans

Racing TV is conducting a novel experiment to pull in the punters. To support the niche gamblers who couldn't bring themselves to lay down a tenner on the 2.30 at Newmarket without some banging tunes, the channel will provide the perfect antidote. In what it calls a "groundbreaking" move – or should that be "earsplitting" – the 7.20 Handicap at Kempton Park will have the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra sitting on the jumps track, playing "The William Tell Overture". A few suggestions to spice up the next race: "Wild Horses" by the Rolling Stones, or how about "Nags To Riches" by Elvis Presley?

First Night: Star Wars, A Musical Journey, O2 London

May the fortissimo be with you, always
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