Dr Peter Hurford, OBE, FRCO, HonRCO (1930-2019)

Dr Peter Hurford, OBE, FRCO, HonRCO (1930-2019)


It is with great sadness that the College has learned of the death of Dr Peter Hurford.

Peter was, in so many respects, a pioneer in his field, and his indefatigable advocacy of the organ as an instrument capable of clarity and elegance secured it many followers.

As a recitalist Peter broke new ground in the 1950s and 60s with scintillating interpretations of Bach and the French classical repertoire, and he became a household name through his many recordings and broadcasts, the latter often enhanced by his wonderfully mellifluous voice as he introduced the programmes. Thanks to his vision for the St Albans International Organ Festival, which he founded in 1963 after the innovative rebuilding of the St Albans Cathedral organ, and then directed for many years, he became a legend in his own lifetime.

Peter will be missed for his stimulating curiosity, superb intellect, and gentle wit. He was a Fellow of the College and served as President between 1980 and 1982. In 2013, the fiftieth anniversary year of the St Albans festival and competition, Peter was awarded the RCO Medal in recognition of his unique combination of artistic qualities and achievements (click here to read the citation). Peter was too ill to attend the presentation ceremony by that stage, and his wife Pat (who has predeceased him) collected the Medal on his behalf, giving a memorable address.

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