Ripon Cathedral host Summer Organ Festival as part of 1,350th anniversary

The pipe organ of Ripon Cathedral is revealed in all its glory this month, with a Summer Organ Festival, showcasing what it can do and premiering a specially commissioned animation telling the cathedral’s 1350-year-old story.

The festival is part of a year of events including art installations which run until the autumn, including a photographic exhibition, concerts, talks and pilgrimages, as the cathedral celebrates the building of a great church on the site by its founding patron St Wilfrid in 672 AD. 

The remaining crypt is the oldest built fabric of any English cathedral.

Director of Music Dr Ronny Krippner said: “The Summer Organ Festival aims to show the organ in all its colours and all its glory and to give it the time and the attention it deserves. 

“It is played in concerts and in services – to accompany the choir and at the end, but it has more of a serving role usually, whereas now it’s about letting it speak as a concert instrument and it’s really important to give it that opportunity.”

One of the highlights of the festival is a concert on Tuesday, June 21 by the Scott Brothers Duo, whose programme is a collaboration between visual arts, organ composition and piano playing. 

They’ll be treating the audience to popular pieces such as Dukas’ The Sorcerer’s Apprentice and Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. 

Ahead of their concert Tom and Jonathan Scott will perform at a free event for local schools at the cathedral, providing a fun insight into classical music for some 300 school children.

“It’s important that children are exposed to going to a concert, I think that’s the main thing… hearing instruments that you might not normally hear. I mean these days, on TV, you don’t get people giving organ recitals or piano recitals so young people aren’t going to be exposed to them readily,” said Jonathan.

Their animation A Cathedral’s Story premieres that evening.  

“I’ve spent thousands of hours working on this,” explained Tom, “and it’s been really interesting to do the background research in to how everything was and is now, from the Anglo-Saxon monastery to the church built by Wilfrid that became Ripon Cathedral. 

“I hope it will give a real sense of a journey through time on which people can go, bringing that story to life and offering a glimpse of history, of something being created.

“It’s wonderful to be part of this. 

“Music plays a huge part in the life of the cathedral, it’s got wonderful instruments, a wonderful musical heritage, so it’s fantastic just to be a part of that. 

“The animation is called ‘A Cathedral’s Story’ and the idea behind it is that if you go to Ripon Cathedral you become part of the cathedral’s story; for me and Jonathan to perform there we just feel that we are becoming a part of the history of Ripon Cathedral in that musical sense.”

“We have performed in concert halls all over the world, with orchestras and it’s great to have this sense of such a wide range of age groups watching animation and listening to live music,” added Jonathan.

The Summer Organ Festival begins on Tuesday, June 7.

For full details of each evening’s programme and where to get tickets, please visit

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