The world-renowned Royal College of Organists (RCO) will make a rare trip north this weekend to take part in a series of events to mark the arrival of two ancient organs at the University of Aberdeen.
Leading musical academics will travel from all over the UK to bring music to life through illustrated lectures, masterclasses, and recitals on Friday and Saturday, February 25 and 26, as part of the University’s Early English Organ Project residency.
This weekend’s events will provide RCO members and organ enthusiasts with the chance to hear the ancient 16th century English organs contrast with the University’s acclaimed new Aubertin organ. The organ, which was built by renowned French organ builder Bernard Aubertin, is the first of its kind in the UK.
Two acknowledged experts in the field of pre-Reformation English and French Classical organ music, Dr Magnus Williamson of Newcastle University, and Dr John Kitchen of Edinburgh University, will take the lead in the weekend’s diverse performances entitled Three Organs Two Traditions.
The RCO visit is undoubtedly one of the highlights of the Early English Organ Project residency. The project, which welcomed the two unique reconstructed English organs to the historical setting of King’s College Chapel in January this year, runs until April 2005. The RCO visit is the latest event on the project’s three-month agenda.
Dr Roger Williams, Director of Music at the University of Aberdeen, said he was thrilled that the University is hosting the first ever visit of the distinguished Royal College of Organists to Aberdeen. He said: “The College, now based in Birmingham, is the foremost organisation for organists, and its Diplomas have a worldwide reputation for their exacting standards.
“We welcome them not only to see the early English Organs but to come and share our delight in the first UK organ by the distinguished French builder Bernard Aubertin.”
Dr David J. Smith is a Senior Lecturer in Music at the University of Aberdeen and is leading the Early English Organ Project residency. He said: “We are thrilled that the Aberdeen residency of the Early English Organ Project has attracted the attention of national organisations such as the Royal College of Organists, as well as being the focus of a great many events for local musicians.
“We are delighted that its members will be coming to Aberdeen, and that they will have the chance not only to experience the sound world of 500 years ago, but also to hear and play the superb Aubertin organ.”
Further information on Three Organs Two Traditions at the University of Aberdeen this weekend is available by contacting University Music on (01224) 272571, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
* The Early English Organ Project residency activities continue every weekend until April and will culminate with a Festival of Organs and Virginals – a major international event including recitals and a ‘Symposium of Early English Keyboards’, which will celebrate the end of the organs’ reign at the University.