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Cathedral organ on course to be re-pitched by Advent

Thursday 4 August

The ambitious 18 month project to re-pitch all 5286 pipes of the Cathedral’s magnificent Hill organ is nearing completion.

By September, when organ builders Harrison and Harrison have completed a month’s work to re-install and tune the Great, Swell, Choir and Pedal pipes, the instrument will be 75% complete.

It is an important moment, as from that point onwards the organ will be used again for services, replacing the electronic instrument which has been in use during its absence.

Harrisons will be back again in November to reinstall and tune the remaining pipes, which have been lengthened at their workshop in Durham. If all goes to plan, the whole organ will be ready to be put through its paces during Advent and Christmas.

The partially re-pitched organ will be heard in concert for the first time, played by Assistant Director of Music David Humphreys, on Saturday 12th November. At 7.30pm the Cathedral Choir, Youth Choir and Festival Chorus, directed by Steven Grahl, will present a concert of English, French and German music for choir and organ, on the theme of peace and reconciliation.

From 8th – 10th June 2017 an Organ Festival is planned, to celebrate the organ’s change from Old Philharmonic to Standard Concert Pitch and, of course, its new ability to play alongside other musical instruments. The Festival will include solo performances and a concerto concert, as well as some exciting opportunities for the community to get involved. Circle the dates of this celebration in your diary now!

Pipewatch: Meet the pipes

We have been following the organ project, where much of the painstaking work goes on either above eye level or off site, in a series of short videos. The latest follows the pipes to Harrison and Harrison’s workshop in Durham and talks to some of the highly skilled craftsmen involved. You can watch the video here:

Thank you

The work of re-pitching the organ so that it becomes a greater asset to the musical life of the city and region, as well as to the worship life of the Cathedral, has been generously supported by numerous donors. We are very grateful to the private charitable trusts, commercial organisations, organists’ associations and individual donors who have contributed. We look forward to celebrating with you all in June 2017.