James O’Donnell, Organist & Master of the Choristers at Westminster Abbey to play Inaugural Organ Recital on 28 November 2013

Hampton Court Palace 28/5/ 2013: We are delighted to announce that James O’Donnell, Organist & Master of the Choristers at Westminster Abbey will play an Inaugural Organ Recital on 28 November 2013 at 7:45 PM on the Chapel’s Shrider-Hill Organ, which is being overhauled by the organ-building firm Harrison & Harrison of Durham.  Tickets are £10 and will be sold on the Historic Royal Palaces website from 1 July.

This instrument was originally built by Christopher Shrider in 1711, and the instrument today still contains eleven ranks of pipes from that organ. The splendid case may well be by Grinling Gibbons whose work can be found elsewhere in the Palace. The organ was enlarged on several occasions between 1840 to 1901 by the firm of William Hill and Son, one of the most highly rated and experienced British organ builders of the time. Other firms carried out work in 1957, 1972 and 1993.

The principal work at Hampton Court is mechanical, and involves the replacement of the action and transmission – the vital connections between the keys and the pipes. The construction of the key-action started back in January.  Harrison and Harrison will also improve the layout of the interior, and undertake minor tonal changes – including the removal of the electronic stops which can be seen to be an anachronism in an historic organ. It is anticipated that the work will be completed by July.  After the Inaugural Recital in November, a series of weekly organ recitals will commence.

Work on the organ was made possible through the support of The Choral Foundation, registered charity number: 1142075, company number 7542466.

The Choral Foundation aims to raise funds to provide musical training for the choristers and to ensure that the 500 year old musical heritage of The Chapel Royal at Hampton Court Palace will continue for future generations.


Behind the great pipes of the Shrider-Hill organ, overhaul work commences


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