The Cathedral Organ was built in 1962 by Harrison & Harrison of Durham to a design by Peter Hurford (then Master of the Music) and Ralph Downes. It contains over 4,500 pipes, spread across keyboards (manuals) and pedals.

The instrument was revolutionary: it was the first cathedral instrument to be voiced and built on neo-classical lines. It includes certain ranks of pipes – radically re-voiced – from earlier instruments. The logical internal layout and the clarity of speech of the pipes enables a good balance between stops well-suited to solo music, choral accompaniment and congregational singing.

The two facing organ cases were designed by John Oldrid Scott in 1908: the smaller central case dates from 1962. In 2007-9 the organ was comprehensively refurbished by Harrison & Harrison.

The organ is the centrepiece of the biennial St Albans International Organ Festival and Competitions, founded by Peter Hurford in 1963. A large number of recordings have been made on the organ.

Organ Specification

Photo © Chris Christodoulou