David Titterington (organ)

David Titterington is Head of Organ at the Royal Academy of Music and a Professor of the University of London, Artistic Director of St Albans International Organ Festival, and organ curator at St John’s Smith Square. He was an Organ Scholar at the University of Oxford before continuing his organ studies in Paris with Marie-Claire Alain and Susan Landale at the Conservatoire de Reuil-Malmaison where he won a Premier Prix a l’unanimité avec les félicitations du Jury and later with the distinguished Czech composer, Petr Eben.

He appears in recitals and concertos at major festivals worldwide and include the bicentennial Festival of Sydney, and the international festivals of Hong Kong, New Zealand, Adelaide, Tokyo, Guelph, Schleswig Holstein, Israel, Istanbul, City of London, Belfast, Brighton, Cheltenham, Harrogate. For eighteen years, he gave masterclasses and recitals at the Dartington International Summer School.

He made his debut at the BBC Proms in 1990 with a solo recital that featured a Proms commission from Diana Burrell, Arched forms with bells. At the BBC Proms 2000, he played in the UK premiere of Hans Werner Henze’s 9th Symphony with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and gave his second Proms solo recital in 2009, performing works by Elgar and Peter Dickinson. Royal Festival Hall performances include his debut in 1986 followed by a recital in the 50th anniversary recital series at which he premiered Stephen Montague’s Toccare Incandescent. A recital in February 2016, included the world premiere of a Southbank-commissioned work by Sally Beamish. In 1998, he gave the New Zealand premiere of Olivier Messiaen’s Livre du Saint Sacrement – “a performance of spellbinding authority…Titterington giving us a performance of staggering intensity and brilliance” (The Dominion, Wellington)

Throughout his career, Titterington has worked closely with many composers across a wide range of styles including commissioned works, first performances and in recital with works by Mauricio Kagel, Diana Burrell, Lyell Cresswell, Peter Dickinson, Jonathan Dove, Paul Patterson, Giles Swayne, Per Nørgård. In performance, he has worked with such distinguished soloists, orchestras as Hakan Hardenberger, Christian Lindberg, John Wallace, Thomas Sanderling, Ingo Metzmacher, City of London Sinfonia, Lahti Symphony Orchestra, Berlin Symphony Orchestra, La Camerata of Athens, BBC Symphony Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra.

He has been awarded numerous honours and awards including Fellowship (honoris causa)of the Royal College of Organists, a Doctorate (honoris causa) and Honorary Professorship by the Liszt Ferenc State University, Budapest. Honorary doctorates have also been conferred by the Universities of Huddersfield and Bolton. David Titterington is an Honorary Member of the Royal Academy of Music and, in 2016, was elected Fellow Commoner of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge.

Recent engagements include recitals at Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco, the Dresden Musikfestspiele, Sogakudo Hall, Tokyo and Distinguished Visiting Professor at the National University of the Arts, Tokyo, Yonsei University, Seoul, and the Great Hall of Moscow Conservatory.

Plans include recitals at the MUZA Kawasaki Concert Hall in Japan, the Lotte Concert Hall in Seoul, and the Grand Hall of the Franz Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest.


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