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Bristol Music Festival Organ Classes and Masterclass 2024

Bristol Music Festival Organ Classes and Masterclass 2024


Sat 2 Mar 2024    
2:00 pm - 5:30 pm


St Monica's Trust
Cote Lane, Bristol, BS9 3UN
Event Type
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Organised by Jonathan Price and held in the Chapel at St Monica’s Trust.

The Programme for the afternoon may be downloaded here.
There is a particularly large number of competitors this year, and your encouragement by being present would be greatly appreciated.  It’s always a superb afternoon, so do come along and enjoy. This year there is also the presentation of the magnificent Bess Fowler trophy, for the most promising candidate, which alternates between all the sections of the Festival. This trophy was presented in 1934 by W E Fowler, in memory of his wife Bess who had been the Festival’s Secretary and who had died young.
We are sure the candidates (and we) will all benefit greatly from the helpful comments and advice from Adjudicator BENJAMIN NICHOLAS, both during the competition and in the Masterclass which comes after the competitive sections.
Please use the Chapel Car Park (from the first turning into St Monica’s from Cote Lane, signposted “Oatley House ~ Chapel ~ Carparks A and B”.
Enter the chapel ONLY via the slope, where you will see the Festival banner.
Don’t worry if you are unable to attend the whole event – just come and go as you can.  We ask that you enter / leave discreetly at an appropriate moment between competitors, or classes.
The B&DOA will be supplying a tea / coffee bar in the West End Chapel Vestibule throughout the Competition Classes and particularly at the Interval.
There is no charge for this event.



An Eisteddfod is a festival involving several artistic competitions. The Founder of the Bristol Eisteddfod, William Ernest Fowler, was born in St. Paul’s, Bristol, in 1872. At the age of 14, he became the organist at The Pro Cathedral. After ten years he moved to All Saints’ City, where he  remained as organist for over fifty years. He felt there should be an Eisteddfod in Bristol which was open to all-comers without distinction of nationality.
In 1903, he founded the Bristol Eisteddfod, which continued under his direction without a break even during two world wars. The first Eisteddfod was held at the Victoria Rooms. There were over 300 competitors from London, Bath, Cardiff, Bournemouth and Newport. By 1914, entries had reached over 2000. Folk Dancing, Morris Dancing, Country and Sword Dancing were introduced with Cecil Sharpe as Adjudicator. In 1915 the Eisteddfod moved across the road to the Royal West of England Fine Arts Academy.
By 1928, there were over 6000 performers including 50 choirs and 900 folk dancers. Numbers soared as competitors came from all over the UK, so the Bristol Music Club, Central Hall in Old Market, the Museum Lecture Theatre and Bristol Grammar School also served as venues. At the end of each Eisteddfod two concerts were held in the Victoria Rooms, which were often attended by The Lord Mayor and Sheriff and were very popular.
Over the years, the Eisteddfod attracted prominent adjudicators including Sir Adrian Boult, Sir (Dr) A Herbert Brewer, Dame Clara Butt, Thomas F Dunhill, Dr Herbert Howells, Hubert Hunt, John Ireland, Hugh Roberton, Cecil Sharp, Sir Arthur Somervell and Gustav Holst.
The Bristol City Council subsequently took on the responsibility for running the Bristol Eisteddfod, but withdrew its financial support in the late 1990s. The dance section left the umbrella of the Eisteddfod, which then changed its name to the Bristol Festival of Music, Speech and Drama – though it is still fondly referred to as The Bristol Eisteddfod.

You can read all about The Music Festival, including details of the individual categories on the Festival Website