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Timetable of Events

Throughout 2014 the Royal College of Organists celebrated its 150th anniversary with a series of special events and activities.

Through these events we aimed to share our celebrations with everyone with 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.

Thank you to everyone who attended one of our events, joined in our celebrations and, whether through a retiring collection, online donation or becoming a Friend of the RCO, supported our work in whatever way they were able.

2014 Anniversary Timetable

Date Event Further Details
All year 150 for 150 Challenge A celebratory programme of recitals taking place throughout the UK and abroad. Click here to see a full list of all the challenge recitals.
January 17th RCO Student Composition Competition This was the closing date for RCO Student Members to compose and submit a chorale prelude; the winner was performed before the 150th Anniversary Choral Evensong in March.
February Sing 150! Composer and conductor John Rutter was at St Michael's, Cornhill, to practice and perform music by (among others) former RCO Presidents Parry, Stainer & Howells. A great opportunity to raise voices in celebration of the College's 150th anniversary at the church which is so intimately linked with our early history. Read more.
March 8th Conferment of Diplomas,
Southwark Cathedral
The College awarded Diplomas and Certificates successful examination candidates, and awarded the Medal of the Royal College of Organists to distinguished practitioners and scholars from the fields of organ and choral music.
March 8th Anniversary Evensong,
Southwark Cathedral
Choral Evensong to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Royal College of Organists, at which the preacher was former Archbishop of Canterbury Baron Williams of Oystermouth.
March 18th to June 7th Pull Out All The Stops A series of 10 educational events in collaboration with the Southbank Centre’s Pull Out All The Stops festival, marking the reopening of the RFH organ after a six-year restoration. Click for details.
April 9th Royal Recital, St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh marked the 150th anniversary of the Royal College of Organists at a special recital by Thomas Trotter MA, DMus, FRCO (Organist of St Margaret’s Church, Westminster Abbey, and Birmingham City Organist).
April 9-11th RCO Easter Course A residential course in Oxford for organists of all ages.
April 12th The College for Organists examined: the foundation and early history of the RCO A one-day conference in Oxford which examined the environment which led to the foundation of the College of Organists in 1864, and investigated the preoccupations of the College's founding fathers and early members as they established a professional body for British organists, which eventually earned a Royal Charter in 1893.
May RCO Journal A special edition of the College's annual research publication, featuring material relating to the College's 150th anniversary and history.
August Three Choirs Festival Recitals by young ARCO organists featured in the Three Choirs Festival in Worcester between 26th July and 2nd August
August RCO Academy Summer Course Our popular week-long course in the City of London.
August The Organ Scholar Experience The ultimate residential course for any young musician considering a future as an organ scholar.
August 2nd Organ Symposium The College collaborated with Southbank Centre and the British Institute of Organ Studies to present an in-depth symposium examining the design, craftmanship and music which have made the RFH organ such a special feature of musical life since 1954.  An international cast of performers and experts, including the RCO's Andrew McCrea, gave presentations about the organ; with a recital at the end of the day by Margaret Phillips.
September 27th OrganFest 2014 The RCO joined forces with the Birmingham Organists' Association, British Institute of Organ Studies (BIOS) and Incorporated Association of Organists (IAO) in Birmingham to celebrate the organ. Presentations, lectures and exhibitions explored the work of these institutions, all of which celebrate anniveraries: while the RCO celebrated 150 years, the Incorporated Association of Organists celebrated its centenary, Birmingham Organists' Association reached its 90th birthday and the British Organ Archive marked its 40th anniversary. The day featured a recital by Thomas Trotter at Birmingham Town Hall, and a Choral Mass at St Chad’s Cathedral featuring the organ department of Birmingham Conservatoire.
November 1st RCO London Organ Forum Looking at the music of three composers, Reger, Karg-Elert and Widor, all granted Honorary Membership of the College shortly before the outbreak of World War I in 1914. The day included concerts, illustrated lectures, discussion and an evening recital, with the option to attend the second anniversary recital at 19:00 of the highly acclaimed Richards, Fowkes & Co organ at St George's, Hanover Square, in which David Briggs improvised an organ sound track to the 1925 silent film 'Phantom of the Opera' starring Lon Chaney.
December 10th Anniversary Recital,
Royal Festival Hall
A special anniversary recital featuring Martin Baker, Master of Music at Westminster Cathedral, playing the Royal Festival Hall’s recently restored Harrison & Harrison organ. Drawing our year-long 150 for 150 Recital Challenge to a spectacular close, the recital featured repertoire by composers connected to the College, as well as a new Simon Holt work co-commissioned by the RCO and Southbank Centre. A pre-concert talk featuring Simon Holt and Martin Baker in conversation with the RCO's Andrew McCrea explored the inspiration for the work as well as the challenges and pleasures of writing for voice and organ.