Our wonderful Summer Organ Festival was a great success showcasing the cathedral’s magnificent Lewis/Harrison organ and our own extremely talented musicians and composers. For the first time, the festival ran as a single week of events with evening concerts almost every night; plans are already underway for next year’s festival!
The renowned Scott Brothers Duo and the Harrogate Symphony Orchestra were among the highlights. Cathedral organists Andrew Bryden (Director of Music) and Alana Brook (The John Sayer Organ Scholar) – pictured centre and right – accompanied the orchestra in a unique performance on Saturday night, bringing the concerts to a spectacular climax.
The previous day, the Scott Brothers Duo captivated two different audiences – including groups of local schoolchildren at 1.30pm, some of whom returned for the evening show at 7.30pm.
The week also saw Wednesday’s screening of the classic 1923 silent film The Hunchback of Notre Dame, with Assistant Director of Music Tim Harper (pictured left) playing an improvised soundtrack on the organ; Monday’s liturgical premiere of world renowned composer Philip Wilby’s Evening Liturgy, sung by the Clothworkers Consort of Leeds and Tuesday’s recital by critically acclaimed organist Margaret Phillips. Margaret, a professor at the Royal College of Music, also gave a masterclass at Allhallowgate Methodist Church on the Wednesday evening, sponsored by Leeds Organists Association.
Thursday’s lunchtime concert featured Andrew and Alana playing on the cathedral organ’s two consoles (and one chamber organ) at the same time, before the audience itself had a chance to come and play the instrument.
The organ also featured heavily in worship: Tim performed the whole of J. S. Bach’s Clavierübung III across the week’s services, being joined by Alana and lay clerk Jonathan Groundwater on the final Sunday for a very rare liturgical performance of alternatim repertoire – alternating between the singing and ‘playing’ of the words of worship.