Tuesday 9 July 2013

St. Alban's International Organ Festival

St Albans International Organ Festival
The St. Albans International Organ Festival starts on Thursday 11 July 2013 and this year is its 50th anniversary. They have commissioned a new work by the Norwegian organist-composer Jon Laukvik, Aria, Fugue & Final which will be played by all the quarter finalists in the Interpretation competition. In the semi-final rounds of both the Interpretation and the Improvisations competitions, the competitors will perform in ensemble with trumpet. The quarter finals run from Thursday 11 July, the semi-final from Tuesday 16 July and the finals on Friday 19 July with the presentation of awards and prizewinners' concert in the Cathedral on Saturday 20 July 2013. In addition to the competition there are a whole host of other events and concerts, including a piano recital, chamber music, Britten's War Requiem, a host of other choral music and a visit from Brecon Baroque. Plus of course, organ recitals from the distinguished judges.

Alessandro Taverna, the winnere of the Minnesota International Piano Competition in 2009 gives a recital of piano music by Beethoven, Debussy and Chopin (13/7). The Gould Piano Trio and friends perform Elgar's Piano Quintet plus music by Frank Bridge and Mozart (14 July).

St Albans Bach Choir, Mosaic Chamber Choir and the choristers of St. Albans Cathedral join forces with the Britten Sinfonia under Sir Richard Armstrong to perform Britten's War Requiem in the Cathedral on 13 July with soloists Geraldine McGreevy, John Mark Ainsley and Wolfgang Holzmair. Then the choir of St. Albans Cathedral joins with the choirs of Salisbury Cathedral and York Minster, conducted by David Halls, Andrew Lucas and Robert Sharp to perform Victoria's 12 part Magnificat, Durufle's Requiem and music by Gabrieli, Monteverdi and Britten (15/7).

Brecon Baroque make a visit under their director Rachel Podger in a programme of concertos from Vivaldi's L'Estro Armonico with extracts from Bach's Art of Fugue. (16/7)
There is concert by the National Youth Jazz Orchestra in the cathedral (17/7), and a late night candlelit harpsichord recital from Colin Booth in St Michael's Church.(17/7). Final Matthew Barley's Around Britten tour arrives in St Albans with a performance in St Saviour's Church (18/7).

There are organ recitals from the members of the jury, taking in the cathedral and two other venues in St Albans (St Peter's Church and St Saviour's Church), with recitals from Thierry Escaich (13/7), Kalevi Kiviniemi (14/7), Kei Koito (15/7), Stefan Engels (18/7) and Alan Morrison (18/7). Plus a recital by Sophie-Veronique Cauchefer-Choplin who is the guest tutor on the London Organ Improvisation Course (11/7).

There are also, of course, services in the Cathedral with services being given by the Abbey Boys Choir (11/7), the Abbey Girls Choir (12/7), the Abbey Girls Choir and the Layclerks (13/7), St Albans Cathedral Choir (14/7) and the Eton Choral Course (16/7).

Further information from the St. Albans International Organ Festival website.

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