Welcome to The Waterford International Organ Festival
Founded in 2021, the Waterford International Organ Festival is an annual event celebrating music featuring the organ in Waterford City, Ireland. Its inaugural season was an entirely online event with performers contributing from their home countries (and instruments). The 2022 festival was held in-person and subsequently the 2023 festival will be run as a live event at Christ Church Cathedral Waterford featuring internationally acclaimed musicians and a varied programme. Below you will find more information on the venue. Click here for details on this year’s programme.
Founded as a viking settlement in 914, Waterford is Ireland’s oldest city and was second in importance only to Dublin throughout the medieval period. The eighteenth century was a time of great prosperity for Waterford, when much of the medieval city was replaced with the Georgian arctitecture that gives Waterford its character today.
With a spire that dominates the city’s skyline, Christ Church Cathedral has been a focal point of Christian community in Waterford for nearly 1000 years. The current cathedral, constructed to replace the medieval ediface between 1773 and 1779, is reputed to be Ireland’s finest example of eighteenth-century ecclesiastical architecture. It is the cathedral for the Diocese of Waterford in the Church of Ireland (Anglican) United Dioceses of Cashel, Ferns and Ossory.
The Elliot-Jones Organ
Two years after a disastrous organ gallery fire in 1815, Thomas Elliot was commissioned to build a new organ for Christ Church Cathedral. Elliot was one of England’s foremost organ builders during the early decades of the nineteenth century, and built instruments for York Minster and the coronation of George IV at Westminster Abbey. The organ was added to by leading nineteenth-century Irish organ builder Telford in 1876, and taken down from its gallery and moved to the front left corner of the cathedral during renovations in 1891. After falling into disrepair, the organ was restored by Kenneth Jones and returned to a gallery in its original position in 2003. One of Ireland’s most important organs, the case is composed of solid mahogany with gold-plated façade pipes.
Rev Dr Christine O’Dowd Smyth
Dr Jeffrey Cox