Peterborough Cathedral's 18-month organ restoration project to be celebrated with music festival

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.

Saturday, 20th May 2017, 9:08 am
Updated Sunday, 4th June 2017, 9:51 pm
Cathedral summer music festival

The festival 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.”

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New interior tours and tower tour at Peterborough Cathedral EMN-170415-183534009

On Saturday, June 10, 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, makes it 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 June 10. 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, June 11, 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.

The full Programme :

New interior tours and tower tour at Peterborough Cathedral EMN-170415-183534009

Friday, June 9

5.30pm Choral Evensong

7.30pm Opening Recital by David Briggs, regarded as one of the world’s finest improvisers and his virtuoso performances thrill and entertain their audience in equal measure.

Tickets: £12 (£10 concessions). Unreserved seating.

Saturday, June 10

10.30am Into the Organ Loft

See what happens when those stops are pulled! The cathedral’s organists get in amongst the organ pipes at high level in the Cathedral to give a virtual tour, shown on screen to the audience in the nave, and demonstrating how the organ works.

Tickets: £5 (£4 concessions). Unreserved seating.

3.00pm Hauptwerk and the Cathedral organ. A talk and demonstration by Ben Trenchard, in Knights’ Chamber.

Tickets: £5 (£4 concessions). Unreserved seating.

7.30pm Festival Concert

The concert will be directed by Grammy Award winning conductor, David Hill.

Tickets: £25, £20, £15 (U18s half price).

Sunday, June 11

10.30am Festival Eucharist with choir, organ and brass .

1.30pm Organ Recital and World Premiere of Tu es Petrus.

Tickets: £8 (£6 concessions). Unreserved seating.

3.30pm Choral Evensong

Tickets: Save 20% with a full Festival ticket covering all events.

Book online via or by phone or in person at Oundle Box Office on 01832 274734 (open 10-3, Mon-Fri). Saturday’s Festival Concert tickets also on sale at the Peterborough Information Centre (01733 452336) and Stamford Arts Centre (01780 763203).