First Ormskirk Organ Day – Saturday 9 September, 2023

Date for your diary

Part of the Tower and Steeple Heritage Project

Saturday 9 September

To include an afternoon Masterclass on the organ, given by Dr. John Kitchen, FRCO, MBE and followed in the evening by an evening recital by the renowned Tom Bell. More details, prices, booking procedures and times, etc. to be provided nearer the time.

The Masterclass is provided under the auspices of the Royal College of Organists and sponsored by the Liverpool Organists’ Assocation. Participants may be of any level of playing, and should bring along their own music. Tuition will be under the direction of Dr John Kitchen.

John Kitchen, MBE, Ph.D, MA, BMus, LRAM, FRCO

Born in 1950, John Kitchen’s interest in playing the organ began at the age of 7. Originally from Coatbridge, he was awarded a MA and BMus from Glasgow University before becoming Organ Scholar at Clare College, Cambridge, where he studied organ under (now Dame) Gillian Weir and composition under John Rutter. During this time, he was awarded his Fellowship of the Royal College of Organists. His doctoral thesis was titled “Harpsichord music of seventeenth century France: the forms, their origins and developments, with particular emphasis on the work of Louis Couperin (1626–1661)”.

From 1976 until 1988, he was Lecturer and University Organist at the University of St Andrews. When the department closed, temporarily, in 1988, he moved to the University of Edinburgh, where he became Senior Lecturer and University Organist. He is also Organist to the City of Edinburgh. His especial academic interests focus on early keyboard music and he has recorded the complete works of William Russell (1777-1813) and Johann Ludwig Krebs (1713-1780). For many years, he has also served as Director of Music of Old St Paul’s Episcopal Church, Edinburgh. He was awarded an MBE for his services to music in the 2016 Birthday Honours of the late Queen Elizabeth II.

Tom Bell, GRNCM

Tom Bell moved from Gateacre, Liverpool, to Ormskirk, at an early age. He undertook his primary education at Ormskirk CE Primary School and then attended Ormskirk Grammar School (now Ormskirk School) for two years before moving to Kent. His father was, for a short time, Organist at this church and it was here, whilst at primary school, that he sang in the choir and became interested in playing the organ. Subsequently, studying Organ at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, under Kevin Bowyer, he became a prize-winner. He has recorded commercial CD’s in locations including Blackburn and Durham Cathedrals, as well as St. Bartholomew’s, Armley, Leeds (home of the famous Schulze organ). These have included the complete organ works of Arnold Schoenberg – no mean feat!
Tom is Director of the annual London Organ Day, in which capacity he has worked previously alongside John Kitchen, and Royal College of Organists Director for the North of England, Wales and the Isle of Man, for which purpose he relocated to Lancashire. Previously, he had been Director of Music in churches in Westhoughton, Esher and, latterly, St Michael’s, Chester Square, Belgravia, where one of his predecessors was Sir Arthur Sullivan (of Gilbert and Sullivan fame). He is married with one infant son, has interests in fell-walking, real ale and steam trains! He is very much looking forward to returning to perform on the organ which first sparked his interest in the organ and all that it entails.
He has played recitals at many of the major cathedrals in the UK and, in two recitals at Blackburn, in May, he will be playing two pieces by Olivier Messiaen – L’Ascension and Messe de la Pentecôte.
Tom is a regular columnist in the Organists’ Review. In collaboration with Richard Brasier, he recently led a UK tour for organists hailing from all over the USA, entitled ‘Pipeworks‘. As part of his RCO portfolio, he is heavily committed to introducing ordinary young people from other-than-privileged backgrounds to the sound, music and playing of the organ.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s