Jul 07, 2016
World’s top composer in Hull for City of Culture
Karl Jenkins

Karl Jenkins, the world’s most popular living classical composer, will be in Hull on Monday (June 27) preparing for a major City of Culture event.

He is working on a commission from Hull Philharmonic Orchestra to write a 15-minute work for organ and orchestra. It will celebrate the instrument itself and the magnificent hall that has been the orchestra’s home since 1910.

The world premiere of Sir Karl’s new work, 6,000 Pipes, will be at the City Hall in February next year.

Andrew Penny, the Hull Philharmonic’s musical director, said that it was a major coup for the orchestra to attract a composer of Sir Karl’s stature to write for the special City of Culture concert. “He is coming to Hull to hear for himself the power of this magnificent instrument and try out extracts from the piece.”

The organ with its 6,000 pipes was installed in 1911 and was then described as ‘not a concert hall organ at all, but one of the most ravishing cathedral organs imaginable’.

Mr Penny added: “The occasion will also be a fitting tribute to the iconic City Hall and its contribution to the life our city.”

Building work began on Hull City Hall in 1903 and it was in full use by 1909. The organ was built by local firm Foster and Andrews.

The City Hall was bombed in 1941 and left open to the weather until the end of the war. It reopened in 1950 and the restored organ was in use again a year later.

Sir Karl who was knighted last year for ‘services to composing and crossing musical genres, has enjoyed huge success in classical music after an early career in jazz and progressive rock when he mainly played saxophone and keyboard.

His notable classical works include Adiemus and the Armed Man: a Mass for Peace, which has been performed more than 1,500 times in 30 countries, and he is also known for writing music for commercial advertising campaigns.

The first performance of 6,000 Pipes will be on February 25, 2017. It will feature organist Jonathan Scott who has performed at all the major concert halls in the UK, as well as in Europe, South America and the Far East.