THE newly refurbished organ in the Guildhall will have its moment to shine next month as the venue hosts the city’s first Organ Festival, with a packed programme featuring some of the very best local and international musicians.
The Festival is supported by the Royal College of Organists, in association with Derry City and Strabane District Council, The Honourable the Irish Society and Viscount Organs.
From October 19-21 music fans can enjoy a series of workshops, lunchtime recitals, evening concerts and master classes led by leading experts such as Catherine Ennis and Daniel Moult, and showcasing the talents of celebrated composers and artists Neil Martin and Paddy Glackin.
The programme was launched by Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District, Councillor Maolíosa McHugh, who said: “As a music lover I am delighted to launch the Organ Festival, which is a fantastic opportunity to experience the work of some outstanding performers set against the stunning backdrops of the Guildhall and St Columb’s Cathedral.
“The festival also offers the opportunity for some of our younger musicians to learn more about the organ and its history, as I’m sure many will not be aware of the intricacies of the instrument and its unique sound.
“Our lunchtime organ recitals over the summer were extremely popular so I look forward to welcoming many more visitors throughout the Festival.”
Among the highlights of the programme will be the Battle of the Organs when top musicians Catherine Ennis and Daniel Moult test their keyboards skills to the limit, refereed by top recorder player Sir Roger Gifford.
There will also be the chance to enjoy a Gala Evening of classical and traditional Irish music beautifully performed by Belfast composer and musician Neil Martin and Irish fiddler Paddy Glackin.
The programme also features a special lunchtime recital at St Columb’s Cathedral with prize-winning new talents Matthew Breen and Thomas Maxwell, as well as recitals by exceptional local musicians Donal McCann and Stewart Smith.
Stewart will play an evening concert with Catherine Ennis on Thursday October 19.
Secondary schools are invited to join in a series of workshops throughout the festival and participants will have the opportunity to take part in an exciting competition courtesy of Viscount Organs, with the chance to win an organ and 50% of the first year’s tuition fees for free.
Council’s Visitor Services Manager Margaret Edwards said: “The Organ Festival will be a wonderful celebration of music and offers the chance for people to hear the Guildhall organ played by some outstanding musicians.
“The instrument was first built in 1891 and is the second largest of its kind in N. Ireland, so it really is an impressive piece, and this is a unique opportunity to hear it at its best.”
For more information and further details of the Organ Festival
Tel 028 71 376 510, Email firstname.lastname@example.org or follow the Guildhall on Facebook
Tickets can be purchased at the Guildhall, in person or by telephone. Bookings for the schools workshops are via email@example.com and the Organ masterclass on the Saturday should be booked via the Royal College of Organists website www.rco.org.ok
Ticket prices for the evening concerts are as follows: Thursday & Friday evening £12 / £6 concession; Saturday Gala Concert £15 /£7.50 concession; Festival Pass (admission to all 3 concerts) £33 / £16.50 concession
Concession – Child/student/OAP