Friday, 2 June 2017

Looking ahead: St Albans Organ Festival

The Harrison & Harrison organ at St Albans Cathedral
The Harrison & Harrison organ at St Albans Cathedral
The St Albans International Organ Festival takes place in and around St Albans Cathedral from 10 to 22 July 2017. At the heart of the festival are the competitions, one for Interpretation and one for Improvisation. The quarter- and semi-finals for the competitions run through the festival culminating in the Improvisation Final on 21 July on the Harrison & Harrison organ of the cathedral, and the Interpretation Concerto Final on 22 July on the Klais organ at St John's Smith Square with Sian Edwards conducting the Royal Academy of Music Chamber Orchestra.

But there is much else besides on offer. There is a chance to hear the distinguished members of the jury in a series of organ recitals, along with other guests as well as one of Germany's leading improvisers Martin Bambauer giving an improvisation recital.

Handel's Messiah is performed in the cathedral with Laurence Cummings conducting St Albans Bach Choir, Mosaic Chamber Choir, the London Handel Festival Orchestra and soloists Ruby Hughes, Catherine Wyn-Rogers, Robin Tritschler and David Soar. The Young People Puppet Theatre presents Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, with a marionette theatre built, and operated by the twenty-one students aged 11 to 15. The choirs of St Paul's Cathedral. St Albans Cathedral and Temple Church join forces under conductors Andrew Carwood, Andrew Lucas and Roger Sayer to perform a Bernstein's Chichester Psalms, plus music by Nicolai, RVW, Holst, Whitacre and Tippett. There is a chance to hear pianist Barry Douglas in recital Mussorgsky's Pictures at an exhibition. And the inimitable ZRI brings its programme Brahams and the gypsy, which investigates the Hungarian gypsy music links of Brahms' Clarinet Quintet.

Full details from the festival website.

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