News & Editorial

News articles are welcome and should be sent to Submissions may be edited, and this page is updated regularly. News is archived monthly, and news from previous months can be found here. More news can also be found in the current edition of The Organ. All editorial comment is that of the author and does not necessarily represent the view of The Organ.


UK News

Internationally renowned organists to play at Selby Abbey’s free Lunchtime concerts

Selby Abbey

Selby Abbey in north Yorkshire will again host a series of organ recitals this summer following the success of the 2015 and 2016 series. This year, for the first time, the recitals will be played on the restored Hill organ. Some of the world’s most celebrated cathedral and concert organists will be taking part to play the Abbey’s four manual 58-stop organ, widely regarded as a masterpiece.

The organists will play from the Harrison & Harrison console in the nave, purchased for the Abbey and installed in 2016 after a successful appeal. It was built in 1951/52 for Manchester Cathedral and is also historically important as the model for the Royal Festival Hall console.

The Selby Abbey Organ Appeal was launched in June 2012 to raise £520,000 to restore the world-famous organ, built for the Abbey in 1909 by William Hill.Without restoration, there was a risk it would have become unplayable within five years. The Appeal was successful and the restored Hill organ was played in concert for the first time on September 9th 2016.

This year’s summer concerts are free. There will be a retiring collection for the organ’s upkeep and a commemorative 52 page concert programme can be purchased for £5. This year the series will feature the work of Mozart, Elgar, Debussy, César Franck, Julius Reubke, JS Bach and others. Several of the organists are returning from last year’s series. Such is their international reputation that in 2015 and 2016 80% of the audience came from outside the local area.

The programme this year: June 6th – Graham Barber, Armley; June 13th – Jan Van Mol, Mechlen; June 20th – Charles Harrison, Chichester Cathedral; June 27th – Paul Parsons, Pontigny Abbey; July 4th -  Colin Walsh, Lincoln Cathedral; July 11th  -  Peter van de Velde, Antwerp Cathedral; July 18th  -  Kevin Bowyer, University of Glasgow; July 25th - Franz Hauk, Ingolstadt Minster; August 1st  -  Paul Hale, Southwell Minster, Organist Emeritus; August 8th -  Philippe Lefebvre, Titulair Notre Dame de Paris

The Selby Abbey Hill organ and the Germani recordings available on CD

With the sound of the Hill organ now back to its best, as it was when its international reputation was established in the 1960s by Fernando Germani. Many famous organists have played it but it was three iconic recordings in the early 1960s by the Italian maestro, Fernando Germani, which brought the organ its global recognition. The best of Germani’s iconic recordings have now been digitally re-mastered and a CD can be purchased in the Abbey bookshop or at Critically acclaimed DVD recordings by John Scott Whiteley, D'Arcy Trinkwon and Joseph Nolan playing in Selby Abbey are on sale also in the Abbey bookshop and at All profits from the CDs and DVDs go to the organ’s upkeep.

Selby Abbey was founded by William the Conqueror in 1069. Sir Simon Jenkins, former chairman of the National Trust, described it in his book: England’s Thousand Best Churches (2012) as "one of Yorkshire's greatest architectural jewels and has every right to be rated amongst England's finest non-cathedral churches. It remains an essential part of our national heritage.” It is a UNESCO world heritage site.


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Lord Mayor of London

Who turned again for the Lord Mayor of London?


The Lord Mayor of London, Alderman Dr Andrew Parmley made his debut as organ soloist playing the Grand Organ of St Paul’s Cathedral with the London Symphony Orchestra on Tuesday March 14, performing the Saint-Saëns Organ Symphony. He was escorted to the organ console from the cathedral’s Great West Door by the Company of Pikemen and Musketeers before beginning the performance with the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Fabio Luisi.

The concert was in aid of the Lord Mayor’s Appeal



The London Bach Society: opening concert of the 27th annual Bachfest

Martin Luther

This year’s London Bach Society Festival theme is ‘Bach and Luther: Masters and Servants’ - the Society’s contribution to the commemorations marking the 500th anniversary of Luther's Reformation: 1517-2017.

Without Luther's Reformation, Bach's repertory would have been very different – indeed, so would his whole way of life. The first LBS Bachfest announcement contains advance information about the opening concert, part of the2017 series reflecting Luther’s musical priorities and Bach's response to them.

Every evening after supper, the Reformer and Theologian Martin Luther would gather his family together to sing motets. In similar fashion and as a practicing Lutheran, Bach and his family would also make music together at home. Bachfest's concert features three motets by Bach, one by the 17th century Dresden Kapellmeister Heinrich Schütz and two by Max Reger, the late 19th/early 20th century prolific composer of vocal and organ works. Also featured is one of Bach’s settings of the shorter Lutheran Mass - Mass in F BWV 233 - some movements being reworked from earlier cantatas.

Joining the Steinitz Bach Players is the choir Tenebrae, directed by their founder, Nigel Short. The date: Monday 30 October 2017, 7.30pm, St John’s Smith Square, London SW1. Tickets £30, £25, £20, £15 on sale from July 10, from the Box Office, St John’s Smith Square, 020 7222 1061 online Further details from LBS website:


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Second International VF Odoevskogo Organ Competition in Moscow

The Second International Moscow VF Odoevskogo Organ Competition will be held in Moscow from November -27. The contest is named after the outstanding Russian musicologist, music critic and social activist, writer and philosopher, one of the founders of Russian musicology and musical lexicography, the author of Russia's first original compositions for organ - VF Odoevskogo (1804 - 1869), who did much to increase interest in Russian music community to the body and to the exceptional personality IS Bach.

The contest – open to participants ages from 17-33 - is held in four rounds on the organs of different styles and eras, set in five halls of Moscow, including the Organ Hall Gnessin Russian Academy of Music where the famous Henry Jones (1871) organ is situated.

The competition programme includes traditional repertoire by JS Bach, Franck, Mendelssohn, Liszt and Brahms, alongside compositions of the twentieth century and Russian compositions from different periods.

In addition to the obligatory pieces for the final performance of participants opportunities are given for individual concerts during the competition. The deadline for applications if October 10, 2017; details from


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ChurchOrganWorld Roadshow details

Details have been announced of the next ChurchOrganWorld Roadshow, to be held at St Georges RC Church in Norwich on Saturday July 1st from 10:00 until 15:00. A warm welcome is extended to all organ lovers in the area to come and see instruments, sheet organ music and much more.

The new Johannus ONE instrument will be featured: one keyboard, five organs, eighty stops and the famous Johannus sound, all packed into one handy, portable organ keyboard. With the Johannus ONE, it is claimed that it is no longer the organ that determines the sound of the music; from now on, the player is in control.

Unlike a regular keyboard, the Johannus ONE has been conceived and developed from the organist’s perspective. Full details of this fascinating instrument are available from ChurchOrganWorld on 01706 888100 or via email


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The 150 Psalms set by 150 composers – 1000 years of choral music – over one weekend in Utrecht

The Nederlands Kamerkoor celebrates its 80th anniversary with an ambitious global choral project entitled 150 Psalms that unites four of the world’s finest vocal ensembles to perform all 150 Psalms in one weekend. The cycle of concerts features music from composers spanning 1000 years of choral music and the performances – given by The Tallis Scholars, Det Norske Solistkor, The Choir of Trinity Wall Street and Nederlands Kamerkoor – will take place on September 1-2, 2017 at the Utrecht Early Music Festival.

The Psalms are central to the concerts’ programming with the Psalms’ subjects uniting and determining the repertoire of any given concert. The four choirs will present a series of one-hour concerts with topics including; The State of Mankind, Leadership, Faith, Suffering, Abandonment, Justice and many more Biblical motifs.

A programme of lectures from world-renowned speakers, debates, workshops and an interactive exhibition will supplement the concert cycle, and elevate 150 Psalms from an exceptional concert cycle to an unmissable festival celebrating the psalms and all that they have contributed to music and the wider world.

Centuries ago, people devoted themselves to reciting all the psalms during the course of one week, and many of their themes — loss, compassion, consolation and hope — remain relevant today. The project’s mastermind, and Nederlands Kamerkoor’s Managing Director, Tido Visser felt the combination of this tradition and the themes the psalms explore could act as a mirror of society today.

Nederlands Kamerkoor, founded by Felix de Nobel, has been led by many distinguished conductors and it is, therefore, fitting they should celebrate their birthday alongside some of the world’s finest vocal ensembles, each with their own long and distinguished histories. Det Norske Solistkor occupies a unique position in the musical life of Norway and has given over two hundred premiere performances, seventy featuring works by Norwegian composers. Founded in the 1940s, The Choir of Trinity Wall Street leads the liturgical music during Sunday services and performs in concerts throughout the year. It is a beloved church choir and one of New York City’s most acclaimed professional vocal ensembles. The Tallis Scholars have spent over 40 years championing renaissance music as one of the great repertoires of the Western classical music tradition. See for more information on the project.

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New Organist and Master of the Choristers at Durham Cathedral

Organ at Durham Cathedral

Daniel Cook, who was born in Newcastle and grew up in Hartlepool, County Durham, has been appointed as Master of the Choristers and Organist at Durham Cathedral.   He will succeed James Lancelot who retires in the summer, following a 32 year tenure in the position.  Daniel leaves Westminster Abbey where he is currently Sub-Organist and principal organist to the Abbey Choir and Assistant Director of Music to James O’Donnell.

Daniel has had a long association with Durham Cathedral having been taught the organ by former Durham Cathedral Sub-Organist Keith Wright in 1996 and 1997.   At this time he was a student at English Martyrs School and Sixth Form College Hartlepool, and sang in the Cathedral Consort of Singers, Durham Cathedral’s adult voluntary choir. 

Leaving North East England to be Organ Scholar at Worcester Cathedral, Daniel moved to London’s Royal Academy of Music where his teachers included James O’Donnell. Whilst at the Academy he worked as Organ Scholar at Southwark Cathedral and Westminster Abbey graduating with a first class honours in July 2003. He was subsequently Assistant Organist of Westminster Abbey from 2003 to 2005 before becoming Assistant Director of Music at Salisbury Cathedral and then Organist and Master of the Choristers at St David’s Cathedral. Daniel’s much admired CD recordings, as regular readers will be aware, include the complete organ music of Charles Stanford, Herbert Brewer, Herbert Sumsion, George Dyson and Walter Alcock.

The Very Reverend Andrew Tremlett, Dean of Durham says, “We are looking forward to Daniel taking up his appointment in the autumn and are delighted that a native North East musician of international standing is ‘coming home’.  The next few months will be poignant as the retirement of James Lancelot comes ever closer, but it is good to know that an outstanding successor has been found who will continue and build on the legacy of James.”

Daniel Cook says, “Having learnt to play the organ on the wonderful Harrison and Harrison organ of Durham Cathedral, it is a huge privilege and honour to come back as Master of the Choristers and Organist to Durham.  James Lancelot is a legendry musician with a huge reputation.  Succeeding him will be daunting but a challenge I am excited to take on.  I very much look forward to getting to know and working with the Cathedral musicians, clergy, staff and volunteers as well as returning to my native North East England.” The Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr John Hall, says, “Although his time as Sub-Organist has been relatively brief, Daniel Cook has made a significant impact at the Abbey. He has been an exceptional accompanist for the Abbey Choir and recitalist and also a very fine conductor. We wish him well as he moves back to Durham and its wonderful cathedral and for him and Miriam and their family every joy and blessing.”

James Lancelot officially retires in August, with his final service leading Durham Cathedral Choir being Evensong on Sunday July 16th at 3.30pm. James will be joined by a number of senior choristers, one of the choral scholars - that is a Durham University student who has sung with the Cathedral Choir whilst at Durham - and the Cathedral’s Organ Scholar Jonathan Allsop, also graduating from Durham University. A large congregation is expected with people coming from around the world, to bid farewell to James and wish him well. Daniel will take up his position in the autumn.

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St Albans International Organ Competition

The eagerly-awaited quarter-final, semi-final and final of the 2017 St Albans International Organ Competition under the direction of the distinguished organist David Titterington, will take place between July 10-22, culminating in the Concerto finale at St John’s, Smith Square, with performances of Concertos by Poulenc and CPE Bach, with the Royal Academy of Music Chamber Orchestra conducted by Sian Edwards. The semi-final round will take place on the restored 1735 Richard Bridge organ in Christ Church, Spitalfields.

The extensive programme has been announced, and complete details of repertoire, venues and other information can be obtained from:


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