A Musical Fest in St. Albans, 1971

Reference is made to Munrow, and his wife Gillian. Both used to live in St Albans for quite a long time before ultimately going to Chesham Bois, Bucks.

Source reference Organ Festival. com/Archives/ St Albans

6 IOF 28 June - 3 July 1971. Artistic th th rd Director: Peter Hurford.

Jurors: Marie-Claire Alain (France), Ralph Downes UK), Geraint Jones (UK), Bernard Lagacé


The last minute indisposition of Jury members Anton Heiller and Piet Kee resulted in many

phone calls "all over Europe" to fill the gaps. Richard Arnell and André Isoir were able to

contribute instead, concerts and themes were re-arranged, and Peter Hurford took the

Improvisation master-class himself. John Birch was also unable to come as planned.

20 competitors came from Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, the UK and


Interpretation 1st prize £100, a BBC recital and a concert at the Royal Festival Hall. 2nd

prize £50. Inauguration of the Audience prize: at the Interpretation Finals, audience

members were invited to make their own judgement as to the merits of the performers by

indicating on a form provided. The competitor receiving the most votes won a special prize

of £20, donated anonymously. The audience was given the competitors' names, but not the


Interpretation prize: Larry Cortner (USA)

2nd prize & Audience prize: Helène Dugal (Canada)

Improvisation 1st prize £75, donated by St Albans City Council. 2nd prize £40.

Improvisation prize: Hans Eugen Frischknecht (Switzerland)

Artists appearing: Montserrat Alavedra, John Birch, Virginia Black, James Bowman, Oliver

Brookes, John Dankworth, the Early Music Consort, Christopher Hogwood, André Isoir,

Geraint Jones Orchestra, David Munrow, James Tyler.

One concert combined the playing of André Isoir with John Dankworth in works varying

from C16th to 1971.

Recitals: Gustav Leonhardt, Christopher Bowers-Broadbent, Ralph Downes.

Lectures: 'Renaissance woodwind instruments' by David Munrow with Gillian Reid.

'Authenticity - myth or bust?' by Ivor Keys. 'Developments in Organ Design since 1965' by

Josef von Glatter-Goetz', 'The organ in architecture' with Michael Gillingham and Peter


Organ Exhibition: Ten organs were on display from nine builders. When the exhibition

began in 1967, building a small organ with mechanical action was a new idea to traditional

organ builders, but had now become widely accepted. This year builders were invited to

display instruments costing less than £2,000 - a price which many small churches might

afford, and a direct competition to electronic substitutes.

Visit: to the Royal National Rose Society, Gardens of the Rose, St Albans.

Other events: 'Ad s'hoc hour' - a very informal happening with the Queen of Sheba:

those taking part included Peter Hurford, John Birch, Jury members and some competitors.

Festival party devised by David Elliott, included a sketch with Rosalind Runcie, wife of the

Bishop of St Albans.

Cabaret: Julian Chagrin; Cleo Laine.

Madrigals sung by the Alban Singers in the School Amphitheatre.

The Festival was an outstanding success with a 50% increase in turnover since 1969.

The Festival programme cost 35p. and the IOF mailing list was now over 3,000.


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