next concert: 8th December - Christmas Concert Pershore Abbey

Biography

Keith Hearnshaw was born in West Bromwich and began learning the organ at the age of thirteen. He spent four years at Birmingham Conservatoire where he studied with David Saint, and also with Mark Shepherd at Lichfield Cathedral. During this time, he gained his associateship diploma of both the Royal College of Music and the Royal College of Organists.

While studying in Birmingham, Keith held the position of organ scholar at St Chad's R.C. Cathedral under John Pryer. He was later assistant organist at St Columba's Parish Church, Sutton Coldfield, and toured Germany with both of these choirs. In 1991 he was a prize winner at the Oundle International Organ Festival and in 1993 was awarded the Leonard Gibbons Memorial Prize by the Birmingham Organists' Association.

From September 1994-95 he was organ scholar at Lincoln Cathedral studying with Colin Walsh.

In July 1997 he became a Fellow of the Royal College of Organists, whilst studying with Andrew Fletcher and Kevin Bowyer. From September 1997-98 Keith was organ scholar at Liverpool Cathedral under Professor Ian Tracey. The Cathedral houses the mighty 152-stop Willis organ - one of the largest church organs in Europe!

As a recitalist, Keith has performed throughout this country and Europe, including Kleve-Germany, Liverpool Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, Alexandra Palace, London, Doesburg-Holland, Bruges-Belgium, Rochdale Town Hall, Victoria Hall, Hanley, Hereford and Westminster Cathedrals and Symphony Hall, Birmingham. Keith was in Guernsey in March 2003 and 2006 as both Recitalist and 'Ambassador' in a very successful RSCM children's day. Keith has also been involved in two 'Family Organ Days' at the Victoria Hall, Stoke on Trent. He has made a number of radio and TV appearances including BBC Radio 2 The Organist Entertains recent show marking Elgar's 150th anniversary. Keith has a number of recordings available on CD. Twice a year, Keith is also responsible for producing the recordings for the aural tests for the Royal College of Organists diploma examinations.

For the RCO, Keith recorded the sound track for an animation DVD to inspire youngsters to take up the organ. This DVD was released in the summer of 2008 and can be viewed at www.danmagic.org; it won the Innovation Category BBC Connect & Create Awards 2009.

Keith is much in demand as a Concert Organist playing an increasing number of solo concerts a year. He has twice been a guest organist playing duets with the 'Pavarotti of the Organ', the great american virtuoso, Carlo Curley, in his Christmas Concerts in London. In the summer of 2004, Keith played friendly 'Battle of the Organs' concerts with Carlo in the Exmouth Festival, Pershore Abbey and at the Lavenham Festival and again in the autumn of 2005. In July 2004 he played one of the IAO National Congress Recitals on the Isle of Wight at All Saint's PC in Ryde. In July 2007, Keith appeared alongside Carlo Curley in the King's Lynn Festival. January 2008 saw Keith in Sweden playing duets in Gothenburg with Carlo and also in East Sussex. In April 2008 he was duetting with Carlo on the 30,000 pipe 6-manual Grand Court Wanamaker Organ at Macey's, Store, Philadelphia, USA, the largest fully working pipe organ in the world. Keith is also the principal organist at Redditch Crematorium.

His concert programmes are wide and varied, and are presented musically and verbally in a style that makes the organ very accessible. He will sometimes include music with scrolling images from recent movies such as Harry Potter, Titanic, and Pirates of the Caribbean. Keith's aim is to promote the art of Organ playing and help establish it in its rightful place as 'The King of Instruments'. Keith has also provided high definition big screen video projection for a large number of Carlo Curley's UK Organ Concerts in venues such as St Paul's Cathedral, Westminster Cathedral, Royal Albert Hall, St Alban's International Organ Festival, Lincoln Cathedral, St George's Chapel, Windsor and more recently at Gloucester Cathedral.

Alongside his musical activities, Keith and his fiancée Amy are Independent Distributors for the Utility Warehouse Discount Club, a fantastic company that helps people to shrink their household and business running costs. The club is operated by Telecom Plus PLC, a major British company listed on the London Stock Exchange. Telecom Plus was named 'Company of the Year' at the PLC Awards in 2009. Visit www.piggysavings4u.co.uk.