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Cathedral organists rejoice in newly installed Woodstock practice organ

Jun 6, 2023

Peterborough organ

A two manual Vincent Woodstock practice instrument has been installed in the Song School at Peterborough Cathedral.

The organ was constructed in 2011 and became available when its owner, Simon Johnson, moved from his role as Organist at St Paul’s Cathedral to become Director of Music at Westminster Cathedral.

Thanks to a generous anonymous donation, and after several years of searching for a suitable instrument, Peterborough Cathedral was delighted to be able to purchase the organ to support the work of their extremely active Music Department. The organ will enable the music staff and scholars to practice away from the Cathedral, and it also provides a much-needed opportunity for tuition and practice on a tracker action instrument, which is ideally suited for learning Bach, Buxtehude and the other baroque repertoire.

Constructed with Vincent Woodstock’s customary attention to detail and quality, the organ has nine stops disposed across two manuals, and a 30-note straight pedalboard. The casework is light oak in colour and there are decorative carved pipe shades to the front pipes.

The instrument is exquisitely voiced for the small practice room where it is now sited, having already had some work done to mitre a number of the pipes, while still allowing ample variety of voice for the organist to learn the repertoire. The organ was moved to Peterborough by Vincent himself at the end of 2021, following alterations made to the practice room to accommodate it. Having allowed a little time for it to settle, Vincent then voiced it earlier this year.

It is particularly appropriate that the organ now resides at Peterborough Cathedral, as Simon Johnson was himself Head Chorister here, where he learned the organ under Christopher Gower, then Master of the Music.

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