Professor David Titterington

Head of Organ

MA, HonDMus, HonDUniv, HonDArts, HonRAM, FKC, HonFRCO

Organ - Head of Organ
Research Programmes - Head of Organ

Artistic Director of St Albans International Organ Festival and organ curator at St John’s Smith Square

Performs worldwide at leading venues and festivals

Collaborations with composers resulting in the creation of many new works for organ

Jury member for major international organ competitions

Conferred Professor of the University of London and Honorary Fellowship of King’s College London

David Titterington is Head of Organ at the Royal Academy of Music, Artistic Director of St Albans International Organ Festival and a Professor of the University of London.

He was an Organ Scholar at the University of Oxford before continuing his organ studies in Paris with Marie-Claire Alain and Susan Landale at the Conservatoire de Reuil-Malmaison where he won a 'Premier Prix a l’unanimité avec les félicitations du Jury' and later with the distinguished Czech composer, Petr Eben.

Titterington appears in recitals and concertos at major festivals worldwide and include the bi-centennial Festival of Sydney, and the international festivals of Hong Kong, New Zealand, Adelaide, Tokyo, Guelph, Schleswig Holstein, Israel, Istanbul, City of London, Belfast, Brighton, Cheltenham, Harrogate. For eighteen years, he gave annual masterclasses  and recitals at the Dartington International Summer School.

He made his debut at the BBC Proms in 1990 with a solo recital which included a Proms commission from Diana Burrell, Arched forms with bells. At the BBC Proms 2000, he played in the UK premiere of Hans Werner Henze’s Ninth Symphony with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and in the BBC Proms 2009, he gave his second solo recital of works by Elgar and Peter Dickinson. Royal Festival Hall recitals include his debut in 1986 followed by a recital in the 50th anniversary recital series which included the premiere of Stephen Montague’s Toccare Incandescent commissioned by the Southbank Centre. Most recently in February 2016, his recital included the world premiere of a Southbank commissioned work by Sally Beamish, Chaconne. 

Throughout his career, David Titterington has worked closely with many composers across a wide range of styles including commissioned works, first performances and in recital with works by Mauricio Kagel, Diana Burrell, Lyell Cresswell, Peter Dickinson, Jonathan Dove, Paul Patterson, Giles Swayne, Per Nørgård. In 1998, he gave the New Zealand premiere of Olivier Messiaen’s Livre du Saint Sacrement – 'a performance of spellbinding authority...Titterington giving us a performance of staggering intensity and brilliance' (The Dominion, Wellington).

In performance, he has worked with many distinguished soloists, orchestras and including Hakan Hardenberger, Christian Lindberg, John Wallace, Thomas Sanderling, Ingo Metzmacher, City of London Sinfonia, Lahti Symphony Orchestra, Berlin Symphony Orchestra, La Camerata of Athens, BBC Symphony Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra.

David Titterington has been awarded numerous honours and awards which include Fellowship (honoris causa) of the Royal College of Organists, a Doctorate (honoris causa) and Honorary Professorship by the Liszt Ferenc State University of Budapest. Honorary doctorates have also been conferred by the Universities of Huddersfield and Bolton. David Titterington is an Honorary Member of the Royal Academy of Music and in 2016, was elected Fellow Commoner of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge. In 2018, he was conferred an Honorary Fellow, King’s College London.

Recent engagements include recitals at Davies Symphony Hall, San Francisco, the Dresden Musikfestspiele, Sogakudo Hall, Tokyo and Visiting Professor at the National University of the Arts.  Forthcoming engagements include the inauguration of the new organ at King’s College, London, Visiting Professor at Yonsei University, Seoul, and recitals in the Great Hall of Moscow Conservatory.

Personal philosophy of teaching

Discovering how to express ourselves as musicians is a life long journey which we all have in common. The technical aspects of our instruments can be taught and with practice mastered. But the real challenge is learning to find the music that lies hidden between the notes on the page. I believe the wider the context of music making our organists can be exposed to, the more they will discover and better themselves as musicians and performers.

I am passionate about organists learning to immerse themselves in repertoire beyond the familiar and comfortable. At the Academy, chamber music is very much at the heart of our activities and the new organ in the Duke’s Hall has provided a wonderful resource and space in which organists can learn to perform in a secular context, especially new music. As Artistic director of the St Albans International Festival and organ curator at St John’s Smith Square, I have been able to give organ Academy students opportunities to work on several important festival projects which have challenged their horizons and been an inspirational musical experience.

Selected recordings

La Nativité du Seigneur – Olivier Messiaen (Hyperion)

Toccata & Fugues – Johann Ernst Eberlin (ASV)

Job – Petr Eben (Multisonic)

The organ of Pembroke College, Oxford (Classical Recording Company)


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