City looks forward to International Organ Festival concerts this summer

St Albans International Organ Festival hopes to present a series of full evening concerts in St Albans Cathedral this year.

St Albans' internationally renowned organ festival hopes to present a series of full evening concerts in St Albans Cathedral this year. - Credit: Richard Angell

Organisers of an internationally renowned music festival are hoping to stage evening concerts at St Albans Cathedral again this summer.

The 31st St Albans International Organ Festival is determined to provide music-lovers with a summer to remember.

Almost exactly a year since venues closed their doors all around the UK, the long-established St Albans Festival has announced a busy programme of concerts – from solo recitals to ensemble performances – to break the live music drought in style.

The celebrated festival will take place from July 5 to July 16. Tickets go on general sale from April 26.

All performances will take place in the glorious and exceptionally spacious Cathedral – arguably the perfect venue for a cautious return to live concerts.

Marketing manager Peter Craik said: "We are optimistic that we'll be able to present a series of full-evening concerts in the Cathedral, and look forward to welcoming back audiences after such a long time without live music."

Appreciating that many concert-goers will have questions about the safety and practicalities around returning to events, organisers are providing a detailed set of reassurances – not least a no-questions-asked refund policy for any ticket holders who find that they are no longer able to attend.

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When Peter Hurford founded the International Organ Festival in 1963, it was one of the first music festivals to combine organ competitions with concerts of other kinds of music.

Current artistic director David Titterington has continued to develop this commitment to celebrate the very best live music.

Highlights in 2021 will include A Hymn of Heavenly Beauty by Tenebrae, and Nicola Benedetti playing Beethoven’s Violin Concerto with the Aurora Orchestra.

The Great Outdoors will see baritone Roderick Williams perform with pianist Susie Allan and Momentum Artist Felix Kemp.

There will be electrifying energy and serene tranquility with Jess Gillam Ensemble, while pianist Angela Hewitt will perform Bach and Brahms.

The programme also includes The Phantom of the Opera, a late-night silent film with live improvisation.

Organ recitals will come from Thomas Trotter and Daniel Hyde, while St James’ Baroque will be directed by David Hill.

Screening in St Albans Cathedral and streaming online will be pre-recorded programmes by selected competitors in the International Organ Competition.

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