Music at GMC: 2011 Keith Hearnshaw Organ Concert

Music at GMC

2011 Keith Hearnshaw Organ Concert

Concert: Organ Concert
Title: Let's Get ORGANised!
An Evening of Popular Organ Favourites
Date: 7.30pm, Saturday 14th May, 2011
Performer: Keith Hearnshaw, Concert Organist
CD Available: Yes - please contact Music at GMC here

On Saturday 14th May Gillingham Methodist Church hosted an exciting audio-visual event entitled Let's Get Organised when concert organist Keith Hearnshaw, who was once a scholar of Professor Ian Tracey's at Liverpool Cathedral, brought along his high-tech video projector and screen.
Previous GMC concert attendees may remember the big screen at various of our concerts, notably Ian Tracey, Thomas Trotter and the two recent film improvisations by David Briggs. However, on this occasion Keith used the equipment in a different way by showing a close-up of his hands and feet as he played the instrument. He also used film clips and old photos to accompany the pieces he played.
And what pieces they were, as in his last visit Keith dazzled us with his performance and technical mastery of our organ. He ended with a fantastic rendition of Widor's famous Toccata but this wasn't enough for the audience who demanded an encore. Nigel Ogden's 'Saints on a Spree' brought the evening to a close in a suitably noisy fashion!


  • Greensleeves - Trad. (Arr. R Purvis)
  • Occasional Overture - GF Handel
  • Cavatina - S Myers
  • Toccata & Fugue in D minor (BWV 565) - JS Bach
  • Will o' the Wisp - GB Nevin
  • Final Symphony No.1 - L Vierne
  • A selection from Phantom of the Opera - A Lloyd-Webber
  • Benedictus from "The Armed Man" - K Jenkins
  • March, Meditation, Introduction & Toccata
    on "Ye watchers and Ye holy ones" - N Choveaux
  • Salut d'Amour - E Elgar
  • Toccata from Symphony No.5 - CM Widor

Keith Hearnshaw was born in West Bromwich and began learning the organ at the age of thirteen. He spent four years at Birmingham Conservatoire where he studied with David Saint and also with Mark Shepherd at Lichfield Cathedral. During this time, he gained his associateship diploma of both the Royal College of Music and the Royal College of Organists.

While studying in Birmingham, Keith held the position of organ scholar at St Chad's RC Cathedral under John Pryer. He was later assistant organist at St Columba's Parish Church, Sutton Coldfield and toured Germany with both of these choirs. In 1991 he was a prize winner at the Oundle International Organ Festival and in 1993 was awarded the Leonard Gibbons Memorial Prize by the Birmingham Organists' Association. From September 1994-95 he was organ scholar at Lincoln Cathedral studying with Colin Walsh.

In July 1997 he became a Fellow of the Royal College of Organists, whilst studying with Andrew Fletcher and Kevin Bowyer. From September 1997-98 Keith was organ scholar at Liverpool Cathedral under Professor Ian Tracey. The Cathedral houses the mighty 152-stop Willis organ - one of the largest church organs in Europe!

As a recitalist, Keith has performed throughout this country and in Europe, including Kleve in Germany, Liverpool Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, Alexandra Palace, London, Doesburg in Holland, Bruges in Belgium, Rochdale Town Hall, Victoria Hall, Hanley, Hereford and Westminster Cathedrals and Symphony Hall, Birmingham. Keith was in Guernsey in March 2003 and 2006 as both Recitalist and 'Ambassador' in a very successful RSCM children's day. He has also been involved in two 'Family Organ Days' at the Victoria Hall, Stoke on Trent. He has made a number of radio and TV appearances including BBC Radio 2's 'The Organist Entertains' recent show marking Elgar's 150th anniversary. Keith has a number of recordings available on CD. Twice a year Keith is also responsible for producing the recordings for the Royal College of Organists' Aural Tests for their diploma examinations. For the RCO Keith recorded the sound track for an animation DVD to inspire youngsters to take up the organ. This was released in the summer of 2008 and won the Innovation Category BBC Connect & Create Awards in 2009.

Keith is much in demand as a Concert Organist playing an increasing number of solo concerts every year. He has twice been a guest organist playing duets with the 'Pavarotti of the Organ', the great american virtuoso, Carlo Curley in his London Christmas Concerts. In the summer of 2004 and again in the autumn of 2005, Keith played friendly 'Battle of the Organs' concerts with Carlo in the Exmouth Festival, Pershore Abbey and at the Lavenham Festival. In July 2004 he played one of the IAO National Congress Recitals at All Saint's PC in Ryde on the Isle of Wight. In July 2007, Keith appeared alongside Carlo Curley in the King's Lynn Festival. January 2008 saw Keith in Sweden playing duets in Gothenburg with Carlo and also in East Sussex. In April 2008 he was duetting with Carlo on the 30,000 pipe, 6-manual Grand Court Wanamaker Organ at Macey's Store, Philadelphia, USA - the largest fully working pipe organ in the world! Keith is also the principal organist at Redditch Crematorium.

Keith's concert programmes are wide and varied, and are presented musically and verbally in a style that makes the organ very accessible. He will sometimes include music with scrolling images from recent movies such as Harry Potter, Titanic and Pirates of the Caribbean. Keith's aim is to promote the art of Organ playing and help establish it in its rightful place as 'The King of Instruments'. He also provides high definition big screen video projection for a large number of Carlo Curley's UK Organ Concerts and at such venues as St Paul's Cathedral, Westminster Cathedral, Royal Albert Hall, St Alban's International Organ Festival, Lincoln Cathedral, St George's Chapel, Windsor and more recently at Gloucester Cathedral.

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