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Events celebrate return of Cathedral’s historic organ

A special series of events is set to take place to celebrate the return of Norwich Cathedral’s historic organ this November.

All are welcome to join in the celebrations as the Cathedral welcomes back the unique instrument following an ambitious once-in-a-lifetime project to preserve the organ for future generations.

The festivities in November will include a trio of Organ Reborn! concerts and a special Evensong service to bless the newly-rebuilt organ. Tickets are on sale now for the three concerts at

Ashley Grote (above), the Cathedral’s Master of Music, said: “The completion of the project to rebuild the Cathedral’s magnificent organ represents an exciting new chapter in our musical life here in Norwich. The Cathedral is now home to what is without doubt one of the finest organs in the country which will serve the people of our community for decades to come, both in our worship and in the many concerts that take place here. We look forward to the series of opening events in November and to further performances throughout 2024 which will bring a host of highly acclaimed organists to Norwich.”

The festivities mark the conclusion of a £1.8m project which, from its initial planning and fundraising stages, has been more than a decade in the making.

The organ is one of the biggest of its kind in the country and the extensive rebuild project was the instrument’s first complete overhaul since it was rebuilt in 1942, following a fire which partially destroyed the instrument in April 1938.

The practical work started back in May 2022 when scaffolding was put up to enable most of the organ’s several thousand pipes to be removed and taken to organ specialists Harrison and Harrison’s base in Durham for further work.

Meanwhile gilders Robert Woodland and Debra Miller set about re-gilding the show pipes, crown and star that decorate the organ’s exterior.

Most of the organ’s working pipes were returned to the Cathedral and carefully reinstalled between January and March 2023, with the scaffolding being removed just before Easter to reveal the newly rebuilt and re-gilded organ in all its visual splendour.

The next stage of the project saw each and every one of the organ’s 5,767 pipes being ‘voiced’ – or tuned – by Harrison and Harrison in situ between May and July this year. The vast number of pipes range in size from about the length of a pencil to an incredible 32ft (almost 10 metres).

Now time is needed for the rebuilt organ to settle back into the Cathedral’s surroundings before the celebrations take place in November. In addition to this, an exciting organ festival is also being planned for summer 2024.

Full details of the November 2023 Organ Reborn! concert series:

Rutter ‘Gloria’ and Bernstein ‘Chichester Psalms’

Saturday 11 November, 7pm

Norwich Cathedral Chamber Choir and Cathedral Organist David Dunnett are joined by internationally acclaimed ensemble Onyx Brass and a cast of soloists for a programme of works for choir, organ and brass.

Tickets £12 to £20.

Herbert Howells – A Celebration

Thursday 16 November, 7pm

The BBC Singers (above), accompanied by Norwich Cathedral’s Master of Music Ashley Grote on the organ, will perform highlights from the music of English composer Herbert Howells.

The concert, which will be conducted by Nicholas Chalmers and presenter/conductor Ed Balls, will also be recorded for broadcast on BBC Radio 3 at a later date.

Tickets £15-£25.

Organ Reborn! Recital

Saturday 25 November, 7pm

Internationally-renowned concert organist Thomas Trotter will give the inaugural organ recital and put the 102-stop instrument through its paces with music by Bach, Guilmant, Willan, Dove, Karg-Elert and Mendelssohn.

Tickets cost £15 (centre nave) or £7.50 (unreserved nave aisles and east end).

The celebrations will conclude on Sunday 26 November with a Festal Evensong service during which the Bishop of Norwich, the Right Revd Graham Usher, will bless the newly rebuilt organ.

To book tickets for any of the above concerts, visit or call 0333 666 3366.