Southern Cathedrals Festival

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The Southern Cathedrals Festival (known for short as "SCF") is a 5-day music festival held alternately at the cathedrals of Chichester, Winchester and Salisbury in England, in the penultimate week of July.[1] The festival was restored in 1960 after initial attempts to create the annual occasion - such efforts led to 28 years without it. The directors of music act as festival director when it is their cathedral's turn to host the event - currently, they are Charles Harrison (Organist & Master of the Choristers, Chichester Cathedral), Andrew Lumsden (Organist and Director of Music, Winchester Cathedral) and David Halls (Director of Music, Salisbury Cathedral).


In September 1904 a service was held in Chichester Cathedral to celebrate the reopening of the main organ of Chichester Cathedral following its restoration in by Hele of Plymouth. This brought together the cathedral choirs of Chichester Cathedral, Winchester Cathedral and Salisbury Cathedral. In 1905, the cathedral choirs met in Salisbury, followed by Winchester in 1906. Bishop Wilberforce of Chichester died in September 1907, so the return to Chichester had to be delayed until 1908. Thereafter, the Three Choirs Festival, as it was then known, continued until 1913 when the annual meeting was suspended because of the First World War. The festival was revived in 1920 and continued to be held until 1932. At that time the annual meeting consisted of just a single day and the joint performance by the three choirs of a choral evensong.

In 1960 the festival was re-established by John Birch (Chichester), Alwyn Surplice (Winchester) and Christopher Dearnley (Salisbury), with the title changed to the Southern Cathedrals Festival, and the proceedings increased to two days, with two joint Evensongs and the addition of a concert.[2]

The festival is now three days long consisting of three concerts, a choral masterclass, an organ recital, a Festival Eucharist, buffet lunches, evensongs sung separately by each choir and performances of the "Fringe".[3] The Fringe is an entertainment which is written and performed by the hosting cathedral. It consists of solos sung by lay clerks, comedy acts by organists and vicars, and so on. It is always well received.

Commissioned works[edit]

List of organ recitalists[edit]

An organ recital is given in the evening of the first day of the festival. Recitalists since 1986 have included:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Southern Cathedrals Festival heads for Chichester". Chichester Observer. 1 July 2013. Retrieved 18 July 2013. 
  2. ^ Southern Cathedrals Festival 2007. 2007. p. 64. 
  3. ^ "Southern Cathedrals Festival Programme". SCF. 
  4. ^ Martin Thomas (2016). English Cathedral Music and Liturgy in the Twentieth Century. Routledge Publishing. p. 128. 
  5. ^ "Veni, Sancte Spiritus - Choral and Organ music of Patrick Gowers". Lammas Records. Retrieved 22 March 2014. 
  6. ^ "Dr Francis Jackson—List of Works, 1937-2006" (PDF). York Minster. June 2007. Retrieved 22 March 2014. 
  7. ^ Robert Benjamin Hutchens, II (2006). The Choral Music of Francis Grier (PDF) (D.Mus.A). pp. 24–25, 46–47. Retrieved 19 July 2013. 
  8. ^ "O'Regan premieres at East Neuk Festival and Southern Cathedrals Festival". Schirmer. Retrieved 19 July 2013. 
  9. ^ a b "A 5-Day Feast Of Choral Music - Southern Cathedrals Festival 2009 At Salisbury Cathedral 15 - 19 July". May 21, 2009. 
  10. ^ "BBC - Media Centre - Programme Information - Choral Evensong". BBC Radio 3. 1 August 2012. 
  11. ^ "Choral Evensong – Southern Cathedrals Festival in Salisbury Cathedral". BBC Radio 3. 17 July 2015. 

External links[edit]