Hereford Cathedral will once again be hosting free lunchtime organ concerts throughout the summer.

Taking place on Tuesdays at 1.15pm, the concerts will give the audience an opportunity to hear organists from across the country as they come to Hereford to perform on the cathedral’s world-famous Father Willis organ.

The season opens on Tuesday 7 May with this year's Organ Scholar Jacob Costard performing a programme including music by Bach, Howells and Mendelssohn.

He will be joined later in the summer by fellow Hereford Cathedral organ scholar alumni Charles Maxtone-Smith, Joseph Wicks, François Cloete and Jonathan Lee as they also return to Hereford to perform on 14 May, 21 May, 9 July and 23 July respectively.

This year's programme is a real celebration of Herefordshire talent as various local organists at different stages of their career will perform at the cathedral. Jonathon Nicholls, organist at Belmont Abbey, was an early student on the Diocese of Hereford Organists’ Training Scheme, and gives the concert on 6 August, a week after current student, 18-year-old David Hulse, whose concert will take place on 30 July. Celebrated local organists Roger Judd, Shaun Ward and Marion Bettsworth also have concerts during the summer months.

From further afield the cathedral will also welcome Jeremiah Mead (28 May) from Truro Cathedral, Claudia Grinnell (16 July) from Winchester Cathedral and Simon Hogan (27 August) from Southwark Cathedral as well as Jonathan Hope (25 June) who will make the short journey from Gloucester Cathedral to perform.

The summer season will also feature two evening gala concerts given by Peter Dyke and John Challenger. On Tuesday 18 June, Peter Dyke will perform a selection of Repertoire Requests featuring a programme of music which has been requested but not made it into his popular Audience Requests concert which traditionally closed the summer concert programme. 

Peter said “Our annual Audience Requests lunchtime concert always attracts far more suggestions of music than it’s possible to include, so I am excited to use an evening concert to highlight some of the larger-scale works that have been requested by our enthusiastic audience. The evening setting in the cathedral gives a chance to hear the Willis organ at its full range of colour and tone – we are so lucky to have an instrument of such quality in Hereford!”

On Tuesday 17 September, John Challenger, former chorister of Hereford Cathedral and currently assistant director of music at Salisbury Cathedral, will perform his transcription of Holst's The Planets. 

John Challenger, says: ‘It is the sound of the Hereford Willis (which I heard played so expertly by Peter Dyke every day while growing up) which remains one of the daily inspirations in my own job today. The instrument possesses a refined delicacy and beauty of tone which, set in Hereford’s generous acoustic, makes the playing of romantic or symphonic styles so enjoyable. It’s therefore a great pleasure to be coming to Hereford to re-imagine Holst’s The Planets on this organ.’

Tickets for evening gala concerts cost £12 (£5 for students) and can be purchased from the Cathedral Shop or To view the full programme of organ recitals and concerts please click here.