FESTIVAL invitation


PeterKingOrganPeter King
BathAbbeyBath Abbey
PumpRoom2Pump Room


24-29 JULY

An invitation to the IAO’s Music Festival, 24-29 July 2016
from our President, Dr Peter King

It is my pleasure to invite you to the 2016 IAO Music Festival. Whether you are a member of the IAO or not does not matter; all are welcome. This year, in addition to hearing 4 magnificent 4-manual organs, we are getting out of the organ loft to hear in other areas of musical life the work of composers we often encounter through their organ music: songs by Schumann & Brahms; piano music by Liszt & Frank; Bach, Handel & Couperin on the harpsichord; chamber music by Mozart & Franck; and, the other way round, Poulenc and Respighi on the organ.

I am delighted that DAVID HILL will be joining us, not only to give an organ concert on the “mighty Klais” organ in Bath Abbey, which he will play in memory of former IAO President John Scott, but also to conduct an orchestral concert. This will feature the Poulenc Organ Concerto as well as the Suite for Strings and Organ by Ottorino Respighi in which the soloist will be JEREMY FILSELL. If you don’t know this work by Respighi, I thoroughly recommend it – there is a recording of it with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales (Regent Records) conducted by Francois-Xavier Roth which was Editor’s Choice in both Gramophone and BBC Music Magazine. Jeremy will also play an organ concert on the Beckerath organ at Marlborough College and give a piano recital.

We are fortunate to have secured the services of HUW WILLIAMS to direct the Festival Choir. This is made up of yourselves – don’t be frightened: attendance is voluntary! He will also conduct a choral concert with his Cardiff based CANTEMUS CHAMBER CHOIR. We will travel to Downside Abbey to hear JONATHAN VAUGHN playing the Compton organ – reputedly Percy Whitlock’s favourite organ, and to Salisbury Cathedral, where JOHN CHALLENGER will play the famous Father Willis organ.

Bath is blessed with many talented musicians living in and around the city: it will be a pleasure to host the EBERLE QUARTET playing Mozart and, joined by JOHN REID, the Piano Quintet of César Franck. If you only know Franck’s organ music, I can tell you, you are missing out on some of the most powerful music of the late 19th century. SOPHIE YATES, well known to listeners of BBC Radio 3’s Early Music Show, will inject a welcome dose of baroquery into the Festival with harpsichord music from France & Germany. Finally, because she is a former chorister at Bath Abbey, I particularly look forward to welcoming AMY LYDDON, whose singing career looks increasingly exciting. She will be accompanied by IAN TINDALE (winner of the Accompanist’s Prize, 2015 Kathleen Ferrier Awards).

But there is more to life than music! JON CANNON (Presenter BBC TV How to build a Cathedral) will prepare us for out visits to Salisbury and Wells Cathedrals with an illustrated talk, and COLIN MAGGS (author of over 100 books about railways) will talk about Brunel and the GWR – which runs through Bath.

The Festival Dinner will be held in Bath’s magnificent Pump Room which houses a fine Thomas Tompion longcase clock and overlooks the famous hot springs. Dietary requirements to Rob Miller, 01304 619095, festival@iao.org.uk, by 30th June. Chamber music concerts will take place in Kingswood School. Not surprisingly, all four organs are in buildings of architectural significance: the early Gothic of Salisbury Cathedral which boasts the highest spire in the country, the Tudor of Bath Abbey and its awesome fan vault and Gothic revival at Downside Abbey and Marlborough College.

I encourage you to join us in Bath for 5 days of wonderful music, discussion and camaraderie in incomparable surroundings, the opportunity to hear world class performers, and to enjoy the atmosphere of Bath, City of Festivals, and the surrounding area.

Peter King, President.