Gloucester Cathedral Organ case

Evening Organ Recital with Mark Shepherd

Wednesday 12 October

All are welcome to join us for an Evening Organ Recital with Mark Shepherd.

Mark Shepherd read Music at Oxford, and was Organ Scholar of Exeter College, studying with Nicolas Kynaston and David Sanger. He held a number of Church and Cathedral Appointments, including Tewkesbury Abbey, St Mary’s Warwick and Lichfield Cathedral. He was conductor of Schola Cantorum of Oxford, touring extensively with the choir and releasing a number of acclaimed recordings and winning the international choral competition in Osaka. At that time he was an Academic studies Lecturer at the Royal Academy of Music, before taking up his current appointment as Director of Music at Charterhouse.

He continues to be busy both as a player and conductor, giving regular recitals and directing Oxford Voices, a young professional choir which performs throughout France.

Mark Shepherd

Programme to be confirmed.

The recital will begin at 7.30pm, and admission is free with a retiring collection in aid of Cathedral music. This recital will also be live-streamed to this page of the website so that you can join us online.

We ask that you register your attendance in advance by clicking on the 'book' button to the right of this page. This is to help us in managing numbers, but walk-ups will also be welcome on the day.

Please find below an update from our Director of Music, Adrian Partington, regarding the Gloucester Cathedral organ.

Few cathedral and church organs in the United Kingdom have a pair of organ cases to match the two we have here at Gloucester Cathedral. The “Great Case” dates from around 1666; the smaller case, the “Chaire Case” dates from at least fifty years earlier than that. These cases weren’t always placed where they are now; but since 1718, they have stood proudly in their current position, and have housed several different sets of pipes during the past three hundred years.

Organ pipes and mechanisms wear out  after a time, simply from heavy use; and the Gloucester Cathedral organ has had to have several radical rebuilds since it arrived in its present position. The principal, more recent rebuilds have occurred in 1847 (Henry Willis), 1888 (Henry Willis), 1920 (Harrison and Harrison), and 1970 (Hill, Norman and Beard). Apart from some minor changes and repairs undertaken  in 1998 by Nicholsons of Malvern, the instrument from 1970/71 gave valiant service  for just over fifty years.

It, too, has now failed, as all its predecessors eventually did. In the past few years, some of the pipework has become unusable; but more fundamentally, earlier this year, the transmission , which has been temperamental for some months, ceased to function completely.

Since March, the famous organ of Gloucester Cathedral has been silent, and, without a total restoration, will not speak again. The Chapter , anticipating a cathedral organ crisis, began in 2018 to prepare for a rebuild. Various inspections and studies have since been  carried out, and several different schemes for a renovation have been discussed .

A contract has been signed with organ specialists Nicholson & Co, who have successfully cared for the instrument for over twenty years, to refurbish the organ, with work due to commence in 2024.  While we wait for the organ to be rebuilt, we are grateful to Mr. Paul Vaughan for the loan to us of an excellent “digital” organ, which is the instrument which currently accompanies all the services in the Cathedral. We're currently experimenting with the virtual pipe organ software Hauptwerk, using sounds from the organ at Hereford Cathedral. We think it sounds almost as good as it does down the road!

October 12, 2022
Opening times
Wednesday 12 October 7.30pm-8.45pm
Quire 12 College GreenGloucesterGL1 2LX
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Getting Here

  • Address

    12 College Green Gloucester GL1 2LX
  • Map

  • How to find us

    The Cathedral is located in the historic heart of Gloucester and our spectacular tower can be seen from many spots in and around the city.

    Click here to download or print off a guide on ‘Getting to Gloucester Cathedral’

  • Parking

    We are sorry that due to limited space, parking in the Cathedral Close is restricted to pass holders only.

    There are eight disabled parking spaces which are for use by Blue Badge holders on a first come first served basis.

    However, there are several public car parks within easy walking distance of the Cathedral.

    To find out more please download our parking guide or click here for up-to-date information.

  • Arriving by Public Transport

    The Cathedral is located in Gloucester Town Centre, so the best way to get here is by public transport.

    We are a 10-15 minute walk from both the train and bus stations. You can also use Gloucester’s Park and Ride.

    Click here for more information about this service.

  • Cycling

    There are bike racks available on Cathedral Green. Route 41 of the National Cycle Network runs through the Cathedral grounds – find out more about the route here.