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Organist’s space: events, organ travels and player stories

Join us at the IAO Congress Norwich 27 July to 1 Aug 2015

Norwich Cathedral | IAO Congress
(Picture above is of Norwich Cathedral)


We are very pleased to be attending and supporting the national IAO Congress, which will be held in Norwich this year.

The wealth of Norfolk and in particular Norwich was built on the wool trade. This wealth created from the Middle Ages onwards financed the construction of many fine churches. Consequently, Norwich still has more medieval churches than any other city in Western Europe north of the Alps. Outside of Oxford and Cambridge there is certainly no other city location to provide such an abundance of fine churches and instruments in the UK and perhaps most of Europe. The choice of Norwich for the congress is inspired as it provides a wealth of marvellous instruments and what better place to open the congress than St Peter Mancroft in the heart of the city. (You can find the details of the organs at this church by clicking here – or clicking the image below.)

The nave at the Church of St Peter

The fine churches and instruments explored during congress include both Cathedrals of Bury St Edmunds (organ detail here) and Norwich (organ detail here).

St Edmundsbury Cathedral

Inside view of Norwich Cathedral
Wymondham AbbeyWymondham Abbey is also included as a venue (see pictured right). Founded in 1107 as a community of Benedictine monks, the building was on an ambitious scale. Stone was shipped across the English Channel from Caen, in Normandy, and the original Nave – a scaled-down version of the Nave of Norwich Cathedral – was twelve bays long, seems to have been substantially completed by 1130.

Midweek sees the congress move to the Norwich Cathedral where there will be a recital by David Dunnett after a lunchtime boat cruise on the river.

The final organised day sees a visit to the smaller church of St George in Colegate where an historic instrument dating from 1802 by G P England (although since much enlarged) will be played by Anne Page. This is a medieval church and a very different experience to the bigger churches and cathedrals – well worth a look.

St George's Church of Colegate

The week will also see visits to St Helen’s Bishopsgate and The Royal Hospital School (organ details here).

The final day will perhaps be the most personally exciting for delegates as many churches will have an ‘open console’ session – allowing the visitors to play many of the organs in and around Norwich.

St Lawrence Church, Benedict Street

We are adding to this experience by providing a selection of practice instruments for play at St Lawrence Church in the centre of the City. The church is now redundant but remains consecrated and as you can see from the picture has a very fine acoustic. Organ music has not been heard in this church for many years so we are delighted to be able to let the building sing again. To help this, we will also have set up a typical medium size church instrument on an external speaker system for you to play. We would love to see you and be especially interested to get your opinion on our instruments as you can set them in the context of the many fine pipe organs that you will have heard and played.

We will be on Facebook and Twitter throughout the event as well – so be sure to post pictures of yourself playing a Viscount Organ and tag our Facebook Page, or Tweet us using #ViscountIAO during the event. We’d love to hear your feedback as you are experiencing it!

We trust all delegates will have a wonderful time in Norwich and will find the time to come and see and hear the fine selection of instruments we will have available in St Lawrence Church in association with our local retailer Cookes Pianos (located next door to St Lawrence Church) on Saturday August 1st.

For more information on how to buy a ticket, please go to the IAO website where you will find a booking form and a way to book a ticket online as well.

The full Congress agenda published by the IAO website is as follows (please note that the agenda is subject to change and I would suggest checking on the congress website before you plan your visit or stay).

IAO Congress Agenda - Part 1

IAO Congress Agenda - Part 2



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I have had a passion for church organs since the tender age of 12. I own and run Viscount Organs with a close attention to the detail that musicians appreciate; and a clear understanding of the benefits of digital technology and keeping to the traditional and emotional elements of organ playing.

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