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Top musician unveils rare organs in Aberdeen

One of the UK’s foremost musical figures officially unveiled two distinctive 16th century English organs at a special opening ceremony at the University of Aberdeen on Saturday (February 5).

Music lovers, organ enthusiasts, and members of the general public gathered for the official opening of the Early English Organ Project by Professor John Harper, Director General of the Royal School of Church Music. The project sees the unique recreation of a wall of sound from hundreds of years ago and will provide music enthusiasts with a rare opportunity to see and hear the two magnificent reconstructed instruments in the historical setting of King’s College Chapel.

The University’s Early English Organ Project will run until April 2005 and is the only residency in the UK to attract the best performers and scholars from around the world. The project is a significant event for Aberdeen as well as the international musical community and one that will allow the City to develop as a centre of musical distinction and creativity.

Dr David Smith, Senior Lecturer in Music at the University of Aberdeen, is leading the Early English Organ Project. He said: “We are delighted and honoured that we have been given the chance to experience these fantastic organs in Aberdeen.

“Although there have been residencies elsewhere in the UK, ours is the only one to bring in the best performers and scholars from around the world, and promises to be a significant event not just for Aberdeen, but for the international musical community.

“The sound of the English organ is so completely different from what many organists who play this repertoire expect.

“The great thing is that the whole community can benefit - the instruments will be used not only by our staff and students for services, recitals and teaching, but by local organists and choirs, and then, of course, all the concerts are open to the general public.”

The Early English Organ Project residency has a packed programme of events over the coming months featuring performances by some of the world’s most renowned musicians.

The residency has received sponsorship from a number of organisations, including the Scottish Arts Council, Aberdeen City Council, Grampian Housing Association (which is supporting the Educational Project for Schools), the Royal Netherlands Embassy and the Royal Netherlands Consulate.

Dr David Smith, Senior Lecturer in Music at the University of Aberdeen, is available for interview. Please contact him direct on (01224) 274737.

ENDS

Notes to Editors

Issued by the Communications Team, Office of External Affairs, University of Aberdeen, King's College, Aberdeen. Tel: (01224) 272014.

Issued on: Friday 4th of February 2005

Ref: organ photocall

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