As part of the firm’s 150th anniversary we commissioned Cecilia McDowall to compose a new work for the organ, Sacred and Hallowed Fire. We are delighted that Robert Quinney agreed to give the première of this as part of his farewell recital at the Abbey on Palm Sunday 2013.

To celebrate the firm’s 150th anniversary, we ran various events throughout 2011, including:

Cathedral recital & Durham celebration

Touring exhibition

Composition competition

Workshop tours

In October 2011 James Lancelot gave a recital in Durham Cathedral to celebrate 150 years of Harrison & Harrison and the firm’s long association with the Cathedral.  This splendid concert was attended by a large and enthusiastic audience. It included a demonstration of the cathedral organ, led by Mark Venning. Click here to download a low-resolution copy of the programme booklet
As part of our 150th anniversary celebrations, a special exhibition was designed to illustrate the history of Harrison & Harrison and to describe the firm’s work.  It included stunning photographs of some of the finest Harrison organs.  It was displayed in the Galilee Chapel of Durham Cathedral, and is now to be shown around the North East of England. The touring exhibition consists of a series of linked panels. If you would be interested in inviting the exhibition to be hosted in your area, please get in touch with the Administrator on 0191 378 22 22.
The winner of the Fantasia 150  Composition Competition, which was held as part of our 150 year celebrations, was Paul Ayres. The competition was judged by Simon Johnson, Organist of St Paul’s Cathedral.

Paul Ayres was born in London, studied music at Oxford University, and now works freelance as a composer & arranger, choral conductor & musical director, and organist & accompanist. His compositions usually involve words – solo songs, choral pieces, music for theatre productions – and he is particularly interested in working with pre-existing music, from arrangements of folksongs, hymns, jazz standards and nursery rhymes to ‘re-compositions’ of classical works, as in Purcell’s Funeral Sentence, 4A Wreck and Messyah. New pieces have been commissioned by the BBC Singers, the London Festival of Contemporary Church Music, Concordia Youth Choir, The Esoterics, Texas Lutheran University, Wartburg College, Wheaton College and Alexandria Choral Society. Paul is the regular conductor of City Chorus, the London College of Music choirs and the Walbrook Singers, and he is the associate accompanist of Crouch End Festival Chorus. He has led many education workshops for children, played piano for improvised comedy shows and musical theatre, and has given solo organ recitals in the UK, Scandinavia, Europe, North America and Australia. Please visit www.paulayres.co.uk to find out more.

We’d like to congratulate Paul for his wonderful composition and to thank everyone who entered the competition.

Below is a slideshow of images taken at the 150 year Anniversary celebrations held at Durham Boating Club