Recitalists and programme revealed for Westminster Cathedral’s nine-organ concert

Recitalists and programme revealed for Westminster Cathedral’s nine-organ concert


The musicians who will together perform the UK premiere of Jean Guillou’s unique La révolte des orgues for nine organs and percussion at Westminster Cathedral on Wednesday 20th November have been announced.

The international line up of organists comprises: Hansjörg Albrecht (Germany); Tom Bell (UK); Roberto Bonetto (Italy); Winfried Bönig (Germany); Bernhard Buttmann (Germany); Jürgen Geiger (Germany); Ourania Gassiou (Greece); Martin Kovarik (Switzerland) and Peter Stevens (UK). They will be joined by French percussionist Hélène Colombotti. The conductor is Johannes Skudlik from Germany.

As well as Guillou’s iconic piece for nine organs, the concert will include Bach’s Toccata & Fugue in D minor (arranged specially for nine organs), Vivaldi’s Concerto in A minor for 4 harpsichords (arranged for five organs – four playing the harpsichord parts and one playing the orchestral part), and an improvisation.

The event is being organised by Westminster Cathedral in association with the Royal College of Organists and Viscount Classical Organs Ltd, who are supplying seven digital organs to complement the Cathedral’s two pipe organs. The aim is to raise funds in support of the music in the Cathedral and for a new outreach campaign by the Royal College of Organists.

Sir Andrew Parmley, Chief Executive of the Royal College of Organists, said: “We are delighted to have secured such a stellar line-up to perform this complex but dramatic piece, and to put on what we believe will be a true once-in-a-lifetime event. This promises to be an evening which will live long in the memory, with nine organs and nine outstanding organists filling Westminster Cathedral with remarkable music. I can’t think of a better way to begin a year of activities designed to raise interest in the organ as a wonderful musical instrument, inspiring to listen to and a thrill to play.”

Jean Guillou, who died in January 2019, made an immense contribution to the organ world. He was Titular Organist at Saint Eustache in Paris, and was known world-wide as a composer of instrumental and vocal music focused on the organ, as an improviser, and as an adviser to organ builders.

La révolte, composed in 2007, originates from Guillou’s conceptual design for an organ in the new concert hall in Tenerife (completed 2003). The composition came into being when he devised the distribution of the organ pipes among multiple cases arranged around the audience.

This concert is the first event of the RCO’s outreach campaign which will comprise performances throughout the UK designed to promote the organ as a musical instrument. It will also include a National Organ Day planned for April 2020.

Tickets for the concert are available from Ticketmaster. Click this link to visit the event page direct, or visit www.ticketmaster.co.uk and search for Westminster Cathedral.

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