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Festival: St Albans International Organ Festival



St Albans is a Cathedral City with a colourful history still visible in the remains of the Roman town and the beautiful medieval architecture.  It offers an historic outdoor market, excellent restaurants and numerous pubs including Britain’s oldest – The Fighting Cocks.  It is just 20 minutes from London St Pancras by train, close to main motorways and within easy reach of all London’s airports.

For over 50 years, the biennial St Albans International Organ Festival has been attracting young organists to the city in July from all over the world to compete in the two renowned Interpretation and Improvisation competitions. Complementing the competitions is a ten day international festival which features leading soloists, chamber music, jazz, orchestras, an art exhibition and fringe events. Performers have included Felicity Lott, Angela Hewitt, John Mark Ainsley, Britten Sinfonia, Brecon Baroque and the Desford Colliery Band.  In 2015, the leading Austrian period instrument Orchester Wiener Akademie will be in residence.

The Festival was founded in 1963 by Peter Hurford, then Master of the Music at St Albans Cathedral.  The Interpretation and Improvisation organ Competitions are recognized as the ‘gold standard’ of their kind and draw the very best players.  Previous winners include Dame Gillian Weir, Thomas Trotter, Kimberly Marshall, Naji Hakim and Jos van der Kooy.

The competition rounds are all open to the public and competitors perform on various instruments in St Albans and for the first time in 2015, on the historic organ in Christ Church Spitalfields, London.  For 2015, Paul Patterson has been commissioned to write 
the test piece for the quarter-final round.  The seven competition jury members are all leading international organists and perform in recital at the Events take place in many churches and other buildings in the city but at the heart of the Festival is the magnificent Norman Cathedral of St Alban.

For full information, please visit the St Albans International Organ Festival website

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