This year's festival marks the reinauguration of the Royal Festival Hall Organ, which has undergone a £2.3 million restoration. It also marks the instrument’s 60th anniversary since it first resounded in 1954.
Eight new works have been commissioned by Southbank Centre to celebrate the return of the organ including works by John Tavener, Peter Maxwell Davies, Neil Hannon, Martin Creed, Kaija Saariaho, Simon Holt, Terry Riley and visual artist Lynette Wallworth. The opening Gala Concert on 18 March features organists John Scott, Isabelle Demers, Jane Parker Smith and David Goode with trumpeter Alison Balsom and the brass sections from Southbank Centre’s Resident Orchestras the Philharmonia Orchestra and London Philharmonic Orchestra. Celebrity recitals during the festival include performances by John Scott, Olivier Latry and Thomas Trotter – including the London premiere of Judith Weir’s The Wild Reeds performed by Trotter on 24 April 2014. For the first time in almost a decade, visitors will be able to hear major works for the organ performed by Southbank Centre’s Resident Orchestras such as: Poulenc’s Organ Concerto; Saint-Saëns’ Organ Symphony; Strauss’s Also sprach Zarathustra and Alpine Symphony; and Janáček’s Glagolitic Mass.