When Peter Hurford founded the International Organ Festival in 1963, it was one of the first music festivals of its kind in the world – combining organ competitions with concerts of other kinds of music.

From the start, the aim was to provide other musical events with different instruments, some humour and social life – to attract larger audiences and demonstrate the potential of the organ as a musical instrument in its own right. For too long, the organ had been viewed as merely an instrument to accompany church services – the Festival was to prove its possibilities in solo recital, and to encourage the art of improvisation.

More than 60 years on, the Festival now combines ten days of music by international musicians, from orchestral to choral, early music to jazz. The organ competitions attract young organists from all over the world, to perform in front of a jury of organists of international standing.

Join us in the historic city of St Albans, with its Roman remains, glorious cathedral and other historic buildings, as well as cafes and restaurants aplenty for the visitor – just 20 minutes by train from London, or 10 minutes from the M25.

Photo Galleries


The Anatomy of a Dream: histories of the Festival by Paul Collins, 2003 and 2023


Platinum Jubilee Celebration