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Peterborough Cathedral hosts Summer Music Festival to celebrate re-pitched organ’s return

Thursday 4 May

With a solo recital by virtuoso organist David Briggs, two new commissions and a concert for choir, organ and orchestra conducted by leading choral director David Hill, the Music Festival at Peterborough Cathedral in June is not to be missed.

The Festival, which runs from 9th – 11th June 2017, celebrates the completion of the 18 month long project to re-pitch all 5286 pipes of the 19th century Hill organ from old philharmonic to standard concert pitch. The work was carried out by Harrison and Harrison organ builders and Director of Music at the Cathedral, Steven Grahl, says he is delighted with the results.

“The unique sound of this most important instrument has been preserved, and its greater versatility means that it can be used more effectively by the Cathedral’s musicians, and by a new and varied range of outside groups.

This Festival has been designed to showcase the organ in its full glory, whether in concert or worship, or as a solo or ensemble instrument. Most importantly, the re-pitching allows the organ to play alongside modern orchestral instruments.”

On Saturday 10th June Cathedral organists will conduct a “virtual tour” of the organ, showing the audience, live on screen, the scale of the instrument behind the scenes. There will also be a talk and demonstration by Ben Trenchard to show how, using a note by note recording of the organ before the re-pitch took place, and Hauptwerk software, it is possible still to play the ‘Cathedral organ’ at its original pitch.

David Hill will conduct the Bristol Ensemble and Peterborough choirs, with Steven Grahl at the organ, in the Festival Concert on the evening of 10th June. Their programme includes Poulenc Organ Concerto and Barber Toccata Festival, as well as a newly commissioned work by Toby Young and pieces by Parry and Fauré. 

At the morning Eucharist on Sunday 11th June, Cambridge based Prime Brass will join Cathedral musicians in playing Mass for Choir, Organ and Brass by Joseph Jongen. A recital at 1.30pm that afternoon by David Humphreys, the Cathedral’s Assistant Director of Music, will include the world premiere of Tu es Petrus, a work by David Briggs commissioned for the festival.

Special hotel deals are offered for those who would like to make a weekend of it and there is a 20% discount for ‘whole festival’ bookings.

Tickets may be purchased online via, or by phone or in person from Oundle Box Office on 01832 274734 (open 10-3, Mon-Fri). Tickets for the Saturday evening Festival Concert are also available at Peterborough Information Centre on 01733 452336 and Stamford Arts Centre on 01780 763203.

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