interNational Organ Day heads online for 2021

interNational Organ Day heads online for 2021

The Royal College of Organists (RCO) has announced plans to take interNational Organ Day online, making it the focal point of a week-long digital festival for the King of Instruments.

With the 2020’s inaugural National Organ Day having been largely cancelled amid the global Covid-19 restrictions, the 2021 celebrations are being designed solely for online participation.

RCO Chief Executive Sir Andrew Parmley said: “The organ is a truly unique and wonderful musical instrument which is inspiring to hear and thrilling to play.

“Sadly, far too few people get the chance to experience this. By taking interNational Organ Day and an entire Organ Week online, we hope to reach a wider audience than ever before, inspiring a whole new generation of musicians and enthusiasts to embrace the King of Instruments.”

The entire week will be broadcast online, starting on Sunday 18 April with performances on organs from World Heritage Sites across the world (to coincide with World Heritage Day).

Sunday will also be designated RCO Choral Day to highlight the work organists are doing to develop their choirs in the current climate.

Organists around the world will be invited to share their instruments and music through recorded performances which will be broadcast throughout the week from Monday to Friday.

Tuesday 20 April will highlight a programme of cinema and theatre organ music.

Wednesday 21 April will be RCO Organathon Day, featuring fundraising performance marathons by one or more organists playing continuously for 12 hours (or as long as possible). RCO Chief Executive Sir Andrew Parmley will be leading the way with his own 12-hour performance at St. James Garlickhythe, City of London, to raise funds for charities including the RCO's work with young people.

A celebrity recital by Stephen Farr, the RCO’s Chief Examiner, will be broadcast on Thursday 22 April from Sidney Sussex College Cambridge.

Friday 23 April will put a focus on youth, with a programme of activity in schools across the country designed to showcase the organ and encourage participation.

And interNational Organ Day itself on Saturday 24 April will include a wealth of performances, workshops and lectures from exponents of the instrument across the globe, including Australia, Canada, Hungary, Kazakhstan, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, South Africa, Switzerland and the USA – as well as the UK and many parts of Europe.

Organists around the world are invited to submit ideas for contributing to the week’s programme. For more information and details on how to take part, visit the RCO website at

There will also be regular bulletins and updates via the International Organ Day Facebook page at

Sir Andrew added: “The organ remains one of the true musical wonders of this, or indeed any, age. By encouraging the global organ community to pull together online, we want to create opportunities for everyone, regardless of age or background or location, to hear and experience this for themselves.”

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