Cathedral Organists Join International Recital Challenge

Cathedral Organists Simon Headley, David Cowen and Christopher Johns have joined together with local players Richard Archer and Roxanne Summerfield as part of an international recital challenge which will see organists from across the world playing in a year-long recital series in celebration of the Royal College of Organists’ 150th anniversary.

The Organists have combined their talents to present a 150-minute celebratory recital at Leicester Cathedral on Monday 5 May.  The event will start at 11.30am, running until 2.00pm, and members of the audience are invited to stay for all or part of the recital.

The recital will feature favourite organ works, pieces by Past Presidents of the College, along with music with specific Leicester connections by former Leicester Cathedral Organists Gordon Slater, Peter White and Ben Burrows.  Admission is free but donations are invited to cover costs and to enable a donation to be made to the Royal College of Organists to particularly encourage the next generation of players.

Cathedral Organist Simon Headley said: ‘It is wonderful to celebrate this milestone with the Royal College of Organists.  All of the players hold RCO Diplomas and it good to be able to support the work of the College in this way.  We hope that people will enjoy the opportunity to hear the Cathedral’s 50 stop four manual Harrison and Harrison organ put through its paces in a varied programme of music.  It will be a foretaste of what will be on offer weekly on Tuesday evenings in July and part of August as part of the Cathedral’s well-established 7.30pm Organ Concert Series.’

RCO President Catherine Ennis said: ‘The organ has been with us in its various forms for more than 2,000 years. The instrument, which Mozart so famously praised as ‘the King of instruments’, has influenced and shaped music, inspired the great composers, played an essential part in supporting worship in churches and adorned our concert halls.

‘Today the organ sounds as brightly as ever through the rhythms of all of our lives, from christenings, weddings and funerals to our Christmas celebrations, great occasions of State and much more besides.

‘We are extremely proud that the Royal College of Organists has reached this significant anniversary, and through the 150 for 150 Recital Challenge we hope to share our celebrations with  everyone who has an interest in organ and choral music, whether through playing the organ, directing or singing in a choir, or through simple enjoyment of the music.’