Diocese of York

Internationally renowned organists to play at Selby Abbey’s free lunchtime concerts

  • For first time, a recital series will be played on the newly restored Hill organ
  • Ten FREE summer concerts to raise money for the organ’s maintenance
  • Every Tuesday at 12.30pm from June 6th until August 8th

Selby Abbey in north Yorkshire will again host a series of organ recitals this summer following the success of the 2015 and 2016 series. This year, for the first time, the recitals will be played on the restored Hill organ. Some of the world’s most celebrated cathedral and concert organists are taking part to play the Abbey’s four manual 58-stop organ, widely regarded as a masterpiece.

The organists will play from the Harrison & Harrison console in the nave, purchased for the Abbey and installed in 2016 after a successful appeal. It was built in 1951/52 for Manchester Cathedral and is also historically important as the model for the Royal Festival Hall console.

The Selby Abbey Organ Appeal was launched in June 2012 to raise £520,000 to restore the world-famous organ, built for the Abbey in 1909 by William Hill, who was a leading English organ builder of world renown. Without restoration, there was a risk it would have become unplayable within five years. The Appeal was successful and the restored Hill organ was played in concert for the first time on September 9th 2016.

Meanwhile the 2017 summer concerts are free. There will be a retiring collection for the organ’s upkeep and a commemorative 52 page concert programme can be purchased for £5. This year the series will feature the work of Mozart, Elgar, Debussy, Cesar Franck, Julius Reubke, JS Bach and others. Several of the organists are returning from last year’s series. Such is their international reputation that in 2015 and 2016 80% of the audience came from outside the local area.

The programme this year:

June 6th – Graham Barber, Armley
June 13th – Jan Van Mol, Mechlen
June 20th – Charles Harrison, Chichester Cathedral
June 27th – Paul Parsons, Pontigny Abbey
July 4th - Colin Walsh, Lincoln Cathedral
July 11th - Peter van de Velde, Antwerp Cathedral
July 18th - Kevin Bowyer, University of Glasgow
July 25th - Franz Hauk, Ingolstadt Minster
August 1st - Paul Hale, Southwell Minster, Organist Emeritus
August 8th - Philippe Lefebvre, Titulair Notre Dame de Paris


Selby Abbey Lunchtime Organ Recitals