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Peterborough’s loudest musical instrument returns!

A ‘magical musical millipede’, a Grammy Award winning conductor, a virtual organ tour and the world premiere of two new compositions are all part of Peterborough Cathedral’s Summer Music Festival in June. It is being held to celebrate the return of the city’s loudest musical instrument

It’s quite a claim, but the cathedral organ’s 5286 pipes, each of which has been painstakingly lengthened by Durham based organ builders Harrison and Harrison, is certainly a musical instrument to be reckoned with. Each pipe has been lengthened in order to lower its pitch, so that the organ now plays at standard concert pitch and can be used with modern orchestral instruments.

Steven Grahl, the Cathedral’s Director of Music says: ‘I am absolutely delighted with the results. The unique sound of the instrument has been preserved, and its greater versatility means that it can be used more effectively by the cathedral’s musicians, and by a new and varied range of outside groups … I am very much looking forward to hearing and participating in wonderful performances from the talented musicians assembled for the Festival.’

Special hotel deals and a 20% discount on ticket prices are in place for those who would like to take part in the whole Festival weekend.

Summer Music Festival 2017

Monday 5 June
Pre-festival Recital 2.00pm Steven Grahl gives a public performance of Iain Farrington’s Animal Parade, a fun adventure for ten animals at the conclusion of a music day for schools. ● Tickets: £5 (£4 concessions). Unreserved seating.

Friday 9 June
● Choral Evensong 5.30pm
● Opening Recital by David Briggs 7.30pm
David Briggs is regarded as one of the world’s finest improvisers and his virtuoso performances thrill and entertain their audience in equal measure. Once described as a ‘magical musical millipede’, he is definitely one to watch as well as listen to! There will be a video link between the organ loft and a big screen in the nave. Tickets: £12 (£10 concessions). Unreserved seating.

Saturday 10 June
● Into the Organ Loft 10.30am
See what happens when those stops are pulled! The Cathedral’s organists get in amongst the organ pipes at high level in the Cathedral to give a virtual tour, shown on screen to the audience in the nave, and demonstrating how the organ works. Tickets: £5 (£4 concessions). Unreserved seating.
● Hauptwerk and the Cathedral organ 3.00pm
A talk and demonstration by Ben Trenchard In Knights’ Chamber, Cathedral Visitor Centre. Former Peterborough Cathedral chorister, Ben Trenchard, will introduce Hauptwerk, the leading virtual pipe organ software. Permission was granted to undertake the re-pitch of the Cathedral organ only on condition that a recording was made of every single note at its original pitch. Ben will show how it is possible, using this recording and Hauptwerk software, to create a virtual instrument on which to play ‘Peterborough Cathedral organ’ at its original pitch. Tickets: £5 (£4 concessions). Unreserved seating.
● Festival Concert 7.30pm
The programme for choir, organ and orchestra includes Poulenc Organ Concerto and Barber Toccata Festiva, alongside a new commissioned work by Toby Young, and music by Parry and Fauré. The concert will be directed by Grammy Award winning conductor, David Hill. The Bristol Ensemble; Peterborough Cathedral Choir, Youth Choir and Festival Chorus; Peterborough Choral Society; Steven Grahl, organist. Tickets: £25, £20, £15 (U18s half price).

Sunday 11 June
● Festival Eucharist with choir, organ and brass 10.30am
Mass for Choir, Organ and Brass by Joseph Jongen will be performed by the Cathedral Choir, Prime Brass and organist David Humphreys, directed by Steven Grahl.

● Organ Recital and World Premiere of Tu es Petrus 2.15pm
David Humphreys, Assistant Director of Music, will perform a new composition by David Briggs, commissioned especially for the Festival. ● Tickets: £8 (£6 concessions). Unreserved seating.

● Festival Choral Evensong 3.30pm
The finale to the Festival is the traditional Cathedral service with choir and organ.

A *20% discount applies when full price tickets are purchased for all Friday, 9 to Sunday, 11 June events. Book online via or by phone or in person at Oundle Box Office on 01832 274734. Tickets for Saturday’s Festival Concert are also available at Peterborough Information Centre (01733 452336) and Stamford Arts Centre (01780 763203).

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