Anniversaries & lifelong learning in the RCO autumn programme

Anniversaries & lifelong learning in the RCO autumn programme

The Royal College of Organists has announced an autumn events programme featuring learning opportunities for organists of all ages alongside further celebration of the College’s 150th anniversary.

On 27th September in Birmingham the RCO joins forces with the Birmingham Organists’ Association, British Institute of Organ Studies (BIOS) and Incorporated Association of Organists (IAO) for OrganFest 2014.

Presentations, lectures and exhibitions will explore the work of these institutions, three of which are celebrating an anniversary: while the RCO celebrates 150 years, Birmingham Organists' Association reaches its 90th birthday and BIOS’ British Organ Archive marks 40 years.

The day will include a recital by Thomas Trotter at Birmingham Town Hall, and a Choral Mass at St Chad’s Cathedral preceded by music performed by students form the organ department of Birmingham Conservatoire.

The RCO London Organ Forum, presented at St George's Church, Hanover Square, London in conjunction with The London Bach Society on 1st November, looks at the music of three composers, Reger, Karg-Elert and Widor, all granted Honorary Membership of the RCO shortly before the outbreak of World War I in 1914 and all, in their different ways, greatly influenced by the music of J. S. Bach.

The programme will include concerts, illustrated lectures and discussion and the option to attend the 2nd anniversary recital for the organ at St George's Church, featuring David Briggs improvising an organ sound track to the 1925 silent film 'Phantom of the Opera' starring Lon Chaney.

The RCO’s spectacular year-long 150 for 150 Anniversary Recital Challenge will draw towards its close on 10th December with a special anniversary recital featuring Martin Baker, Master of Music at Westminster Cathedral, playing the Royal Festival Hall’s recently restored Harrison & Harrison organ.

The recital will feature 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 will explore the inspiration for the work as well as the challenges and pleasures of writing for voice and organ.

Throughout autumn, the College will also be running its usual broad mix of lifelong learning and study opportunities.

Bristol is our base for the ever popular half-term residential courses Find Your Feet! and Build Your Skills! from 31st October . With the former aimed at young early-stage organists and pianists wanting to try the organ and the latter for teenage organists already at Grades 5 to 8, this three-day residential programme offers something for all young musicians.

We’ll be in London on 15th November for another two-strand event – Raise Your Game! and Set Your Sights! The former offers to young organists top tuition and the chance to play ‘celebrity’ London organs; while the latter offers aspiring teenage musicians a taste of the organ scholar experience including lessons in repertoire, skills and choral directing

A Get Ahead! inspiration day for organists in Norwich on 11th October, will offer organists of all ages and all standards the chance to develop their playing with tuition at Norwich Cathedral and St Peter Mancroft, as well as the opportunity to take part in a student’s concert in the cathedral.

Our Choral Directing Workshop takes place at St George’s Church, Hanover Square London on 4th October and for those preparing for examinations, our study day Preparing for CertRCO, ARCO and FRCO is at St Barnabas Dulwich on 22nd November.

Throughout autumn there is also a full programme of three-hour RCO Academy Organ School classes, with sessions already confirmed covering subjects as diverse as: arranging and composing for the organ (13th September); playing Frank (20th September); concert performance (24th and 27th September, 4th and 18th October).

Details of all RCO Academy events and courses can be found at

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