Concert on 9th September 2024

John Keys (Nottingham City Organist)

Johann Sebastian Bach: Toccata in d BWV 565
Percy Whitlock: Five Short Pieces
(1. Allegretto 2. Folk Tune 3. Andante Tranquillo 4. Scherzo 5. Paean)
César Franck: Choral No.1 in b
Théodore Dubois: Toccata

John Keys

John Keys begins with the most famous organ piece of all, often performed at start of a series of recitals and designed to prove that after 114 years the Binns Organ’s lungs are in perfect shape! Then comes Whitlock’s tuneful and attractive Five Short Pieces, one of them inspired by a whistling choirboy at Rochester Cathedral, a soulful Folk Tune, a jolly Scherzo and a rousing present for the composer’s fiancée among them. Franck’s second Choral is one of his most beautiful works and one of his last compositions, in which he clearly looks back to his orchestral works, in particular his Symphony in D minor, which is evoked twice in a passage of great tenderness. An opportunity to hear the many colours of the Binns organ. And to conclude, Dubois’s cheerful Toccata, tuneful and jolly throughout.

The concert runs from 1.10pm to 1.55pm. Admission £5 at the door. Feel free to bring your own lunch.

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John Keys, an Honorary Fellow of the Guild of Church Musicians, has been Director of Music at St Mary’s Church, Nottingham since 1984, and has fostered a flourishing musical life in the Church, as well as following an independent career as solo organist, continuo player, accompanist and conductor. He is also Nottingham City Organist, Nottingham University Organist and Vice Chairman of the Nottingham Albert Hall Binns Organ Trustee Committee.

Born and educated in Chester, John obtained the Diplomas of the Royal College of Music and the Royal Academy of Music in organ playing while still at school. After A-levels he was assistant organist at Chester Cathedral for nearly three years before going up to New College, Oxford, as Organ Scholar.

After graduating in 1981 he went to Geneva to complete his organ studies  at the Conservatoire with Lionel Rogg, where he won several prizes. In 1984 he won First Prize at the Fourth Manchester International Organ Competition.

John has produced many recordings of pieces, and also one of the world’s largest collection of organ hymn accompaniments.

He has played in France, Germany, Italy, Holland, Norway, Denmark, Spain, Sweden, Gibraltar, the Ukraine, Switzerland, Malta, the USA and Australia, as well as widely in the British Isles. He has appeared as organist, accompanist, continuo player and conductor on Radio Suisse Romande, Télévision de La Suisse Romande, Netherlands Radio, Radio France and for the BBC.