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Celebrations include the rededication of the Father Willis organ, following a major restoration

Harriet Clifford

Celebrations at Salisbury

4:11, 6th January 2020

Salisbury Cathedral embarks on its 800th anniversary in 2020 with a year-long series of events entitled ‘Salisbury 2020: City on the move’, in which music will play a key role.

The celebrations also include the rededication of the Cathedral’s Father Willis organ following a major restoration. On Easter day (12 April), the 2020 Organ Festival will open with Choral Evensong, featuring Walton’s Coronation Te Deum. Performers in the festival include Robert Huw Morgan, Richard Pinel, Anna Lapwood, Andrew Lumsden, and the organists of Salisbury Cathedral.

On 4 April, Salisbury Cathedral Choir, accompanied by the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, will perform Bach’s St John Passion. The anniversary of the laying of the Cathedral’s foundation stones will be officially marked on Sunday 3 May with a broadcast of Sunday Worship on BBC Radio 4, as well as a recording of Choral Evensong for BBC Radio 3.

Following this, David Briggs will perform his organ transcription of Mahler’s Second Symphony, alongside soloists Judith Howarth, Avery Amereau, and choral ensembles from Salisbury on 13 May. The Family Concert on 13 June will showcase Peter and the Wolf on the organ, while Thomas Trotter’s recital on 17 June will feature Elgar’s Organ Sonata.

In July, the first CD of the newly-restored organ will be released on the Cathedral’s label at the Organ Prom (11 July), which presents classical favourites in an informal atmosphere, concluding with Elgar’s ‘Pomp and Circumstance’ March no.1. The month of November sees the Cathedral Choir and friends performing Monteverdi’s Vespers with instrumental ensemble Florilegium (21 November), while on 12 December the Choir will perform Handel’s Messiah with the City of London Sinfonia.

John Challenger, assistant director of music at Salisbury Cathedral, told C&O, ‘This year is an exciting year for us. The 2020 anniversary celebrations are the perfect excuse to expand our musical offering with an ambitious programme, which explores sacred music across the centuries. The famous Father Willis organ will return in style, and our 2020 Organ Festival – including performances by David Briggs and Thomas Trotter – will be a fitting celebration of the return of a marvellous instrument.’


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