David Titterington (organ)

David Titterington is the Artistic Director of the International Organ Festival at St Albans and one of the world’s leading concert organists. He made his debut at the Royal Festival Hall in 1986 launching a career that has since taken him to many of the great international festivals and concert halls including Herkulessaal in Munich, Schauspielhaus in Berlin, Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto, Auditorio Nacional in Madrid, Megaron in Athens, and the Musachino Concert Hall in Tokyo. He was a featured artist of the European Festivals Association’s 50th anniversary celebrations in 2002 performing works by Kurtag and Messiaen at the Festival of Festivals in Geneva.

Committed to contemporary music he has premiered a number of significant works, in particular Diana Burrell’s 1990 BBC Proms Commission Arched Forms with Bells, and Terce for organ & accordion at the Spitalfields Festival, Hans Werner Henze’s Symphony No.9 at the 2000 BBC Proms with the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Ingo Metzmacher, Toccare Incandescent by Stephen Montague, commissioned by the South Bank and premiered at the Royal Festival Hall to mark the 50th anniversary of the building of the Hall’s organ, and Giles Swayne’s Fourteen Stations of the Cross commissioned for the 25th anniversary of the Cambridge Festival in King’s College Chapel. Other first performances include Lyell Cresswell’s The Blackness of Darkness (New Zealand Festival commission), Petr Eben’s Job (Harrogate Festival commission), and Peter Tiefenbach’s Opening Day (Guelph Festival commission). In 2001 he collaborated with Maurizio Kagel in the London performance of Rrrrrr, and with Jonathan Dove in a premiere performance of Niagara. He gave the New Zealand premiere of Olivier Messiaen’s Livre du Saint Sacrement and the Finnish premiere of Petr Eben’s Organ Concerto No 1 with the Lahti Symphony Orchestra.

In addition to CD’s of works by Olivier Messiaen, Petr Eben and Johann Ernst Eberlin, David Titterington has recorded more than thirty programmes for the BBC and innumerable for radio and television networks world-wide, including the complete works of César Franck from the Abbey of St Etienne, Caen.

David Titterington was Organ Scholar at Pembroke College, Oxford and continued his studies in Paris with Marie-Claire Alain and Susan Landale at the Conservatoire at Rueil-Malmaison, where he won a unanimous Premier Prix. In 1996 he was appointed Head of Organ Studies at the Royal Academy of Music, London. Since 1993 he has given annual master classes at the Dartington International Summer School and since 1997 he has been Visiting Professor of Organ at the Liszt Academy, Budapest.

He has served on many international juries including the Grand Prix de Chartres, Prix André Marchal, BBC’s Young Musician of the Year, the Grand Prix Bach de Lausanne Competition, Graz International Organ Competition, 1st International Organ Competition Basso Friuli, Italy, and in 2010 the International Organ Competitions in Dublin and Moscow. In 1992, he was Artistic Director and Chairman of the Jury of the European Organ Festival, and in 2002 Artistic Director of the festival ‘Splendour of the Spanish Baroque’. He has received several awards and honours, including Honorary Fellowship of the Royal College of Organists in 1999, an Honorary Doctorate from the Liszt Ferenc State University, Budapest in 2000, Honorary Membership of the Royal Academy of Music in 2008 and an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Huddersfield in 2010.

Recent engagements include recitals in Victoria Hall in Geneva, Tchaikovsky Hall in Moscow, the Winspear Center in Edmonton, Canada, Neresheim Abbey in Germany and at the Krakow Organ Festival. Earlier this year he gave recitals at the Royal Festival Hall in London, Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco and plans include recitals at the Monaco International Organ Festival and the Dresden Music Festival.


Artist Videos

David Titterington talks about the Royal Festival Hall organ
Louis-Claude Daquin. Noël etranger

“A monumental pillar of the organ repertoire, the nine-movement, hour-long work demands playing of utmost rigour, and received it from David Titterington. More than most players, he seems to be aware of the music’s exoticism, which he brought out in fascinating registrations. As for the work’s structure — those nine movements representing a trinity three times over – Titterington shaped it with sure hands and feet. There was picturesque detail at every turn, as hypnotic rhythms jostled up against tender melodies – the dancing angels of the sixth movement being just one example. But a successful performance of this piece depends as much as anything else on the organist responding to the harmonic tensions, as Titterington did in the richness of Les Enfants de Dieu. Unerring in Messiaen’s complicated rhythms, he made the final toccata, Dieu parmi nous, blaze uninhibitedly towards its virtuosic apotheosis.” La Nativité du Seigneur/St John’s Smith Square, Telegraph, December 2016

“This year marks the 75th anniversary of the deaths of Elgar, Holst and Delius. The Proms’ weekend-long survey of their music opened on Saturday afternoon with David Titterington playing Elgar’s two organ sonatas, works that in some respects span and frame the composer’s career. Titterington separated them with the Blue Rose Variations by Peter Dickinson, born in the year of Elgar’s death. Where Elgar makes the organ sound like an orchestra, Dickinson, wonderfully and impudently, turns it into a jazz combo. You either like organ recitals or you don’t: on this occasion there was no doubt as to Titterington’s dexterity or the instrument’s remarkable potential.” Guardian, July 2009

“David Titterington’s performance was quite stunning, not only in the sheer technical control of manuals and pedals but in eliciting such a wealth of different sonorities and dynamics from the resources at his disposal.”
Plymouth Herald August 2007

“Titterington is a master of inventive registration….and by his own magnificent virtuosity achieving enormous impressiveness” Jerusalem Post, June 2005

“….but the performance of Janacek’s monumental Glagolitic Mass left everyone utterly speechless. Firstly, the orchestral playing was absolutely superb, as was the highly disciplined singing, with both forces negotiating the rhythmic complexities with consummate ease. But finally it fell to the magnificent organ, and the quite inspired playing of David Titterington, to ensure that Janacek had an evening he’ll definitely remember for another century or more!” (Dartington Festival Orchestra & Chorus, conducted by Sir Richard Armstrong) Philip R Buttall, Pymouth Evening Herald, August 2004

“…Petr Eben’s Laudes found a wonderful and fulfilling response to to the instrument’s potent qualities, whilst allowing the listener to conclude that technically, imaginatively and ultimately, musically, David Titterington is considerably endowed.” (Royal Festival Hall recital) David Alker, Musical Opinion May 2004

“..a fascinating and intensely colourful performance that showed David Titterington’s extensive and imaginative range, musical flexibility and technical dexterity.” (Royal Festival Hall recital)
David Alker, The Organ, February 2004

“……a performance of spellbinding authority……Titterington giving us a performance of staggering intensity and brilliance, this was indeed an experience of a lifetime. It is difficult to express in words just what sort of impact the work made, sufficient to say that I’m sure few present will ever forget the occasion.” (NZ premiere, Livre du Saint Sacrement: Messiaen)
The Dominion, Wellington Festival of the Arts, NZ. July 1998

“…..a formidable achievement, with a wonderful mastery of the score. This was one of the year’s undeniable highlights” (NZ premiere, Livre du Saint Sacrement: Messiaen) The Evening Post, July 1998

“……proved to be a pure phenomenon – a name to be remembered.” Faedrelandsvennen, Kristiansand Festival, Norway 1995

“…..David Titterington is a player of enormous range, not only giving new brilliance to the familiar clasics, but inspiring today’s composers to write challenging new organ music” The Australian, Adelaide Festival 1992

“…..There is nothing churchy and anonymous about his performing style; he has presence and a distinct power of musical projection. He is no mere operative of a rusty machine……” Paul Driver, The Sunday Times, BBC Proms 1990

“……The recital was an experience that one will remember with pleasure. Innovative programming was coupled with cool, unhurried skill and virtuosity”
South China MorningPost – Hong Kong Festival 1988

“…….Mr Titterington, who belongs to that rare species, the truly musical organist, brought to the work (premiere of Eben’s Job) not merely the fluent, agile technique that had characterised the rest of his programme, but a natural feel for phrase, and a powerful sense of musical projection”
Yorkshire Post – Harrogate Festival

“…….deliciously played!” Wilfred Mellers, Music & Musicians
Harrogate Festival – Handel Concertos/Guildhall String Ensemble

Concert Repertoire

Arne Organ Concerto in B flat
Albrechtsberger Organ Concerto in B flat
Bach (CPE) Organ Concerto in E flat
Barber Toccata Festiva
Brixi Organ Concertos in D, G and F
Dupré Organ Concerto in E minor Op 31
Poulenc Organ Concerto in G minor
Saint-Saens Symphony No 3
Job for Organ Petr Eben
Multisonic B0000034EC