Dame Gillian Weir
Through her unique career as an internationally acclaimed concert organist performing worldwide at the major festivals and with leading orchestras and conductors, GILLIAN WEIR has become established as a distinguished musician known for her virtuosity and integrity, her reputation extending well beyond the world of the organ. Her renown as a performer, which has stimulated numerous young players to follow her, is backed by her scholarly reputation; she is in demand as an adjudicator for leading international competitions and as a lecturer, broadcaster, teacher, and writer, while her television appearances have reached vast new audiences.
Her repertoire is exceptional in its breadth and variety, stretching from the Renaissance to the many contemporary works she has premiered. She has performed the complete works of Bach as well as others including Messiaen, and her pre-eminent position as a Messiaen interpreter has been underlined with her recording of his complete organ works, as well as her contribution to Faber’s The Messiaen Companion and other publications. The CD set was received universally with such plaudits as that from Le Monde: “This intégrale is a worthy successor to that by Messiaen himself.”
Weir has received many prizes, awards, and honors, and in the 1996 New Year’s Honors List was created Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in recognition of her services to music, having been made CBE in 1989. Her achievements have been marked by the reissue on CD of her famed series of Argo recordings, and by her nomination by Classic CD magazine as one of the 100 greatest Keyboard Players of the 20th Century as well as by the Sunday Times as one of the “1000 Music Makers of the Millennium.” In December 2000, ITV’s South Bank Show chronicled her worldwide activities as a performer, teacher, and recording artist in a highly acclaimed documentary. She is the Prince Consort Professor of Organ at the Royal College of Music, London, a Distinguished Visiting Artist at the Peabody Conservatory of Music, and is sought after for her masterclasses and as Artist-in-Residence.
Weir’s career as recitalist and concerto soloist continues to encompass the globe. In 2008, Messiaen’s centenary, she was in particular demand worldwide for celebratory performances of his music through a reputation long-accorded her as Messiaen authority and revelatory interpreter, ever since her first celebrated recordings of the organ works and her lectures, broadcasts, and writings on this composer. In 1972 Messiaen gave her his Méditations sur le Mystère de la Sainte Trinité to première in London, and the re-release of her legendary CDs of the organ music (containing the three posthumously published works and thus one of only two complete sets available) received further acclaim in this anniversary year, being hailed by record magazines as still the finest available, and by Gramophone as “one of the finest organ recordings ever made.” In more than 70 engagements last year she also opened several new organs, including those of Worcester Cathedral, England and St. Johannes, Malmö, acted as adjudicator in international competitions, appeared at major festivals including the famed Three Choirs Festival in England, was a concerto soloist, and appeared at a host of major concert halls, cathedrals, and universities.
This year she will continue her recording projects, adding to the series for Priory on both new and historic organs that have brought such acclaim as “55 minutes of bliss” (BBC Music Magazine for Bach’s Clavier-Übung), and which have documented among others the organs of the Royal Albert Hall and Royal Festival Halls in London as well as the Bach organ of St. Thomas, Leipzig. She will be the featured soloist at the RCCO National Convention in Toronto, in a program of concertos and solos, as well as at the Arizona AGO Convention. In Europe she performs again at the famous Gewandhaus in Leipzig as well as the Philharmonie in Berlin, and she will chair the Jordan International Organ Competition in the fall.
For further information on Gillian Weir’s forthcoming appearances and recordings, please visit gillianweir.com.