Capable of the softest, most exquisite sounds or shaking the glass in the windows, Ripon Cathedral’s organ is to be used to full effect during the Summer Organ Festival.

This year, organists from across the country will be bringing a bit of joie de vivre to Ripon in a French-themed programme of music, celebrating the anniversaries of three composers: Charles-Marie Widor, Louis Vierne and Henri Mulet.

The audience will have the rare opportunity to see the performers up close, as they play the four keyboards, known as manuals, one pedal board and 59 stops – controls which alter the sound to imitate trumpets, clarinets, oboes, flutes, and anything else the performer can ‘cook up’ from the ingredients available.

The earliest pipes in the instrument date from 1695, while the organist controls the instrument from a console using 21st-century technology. The smallest pipes are smaller than a pencil, producing some of the highest sounds audible to the human ear, while the largest are nearly 10 metres in length, sounding so low that they are felt rather than heard!

Although French composers are being celebrated this year, the Summer Organ Festival will feature an international range of music, played by distinguished organists from across the country.

The recitals take place every Tuesday from July 11 to August 22 at 7.30pm. For more information, or to get tickets, please see