Britain's Dame Gillian Weir is one of the world's foremost musical artists. Her unique career as an internationally acclaimed concert organist has established her as a distinguished musician.
Britain's Dame Gillian Weir is one of the world's foremost musical artists. Her unique career as an internationally acclaimed concert organist has established her as a distinguished musician. She is known for her virtuosity, integrity and outstanding musicianship, which combined with a notable personal charisma, have placed her in the forefront of her profession and won her the admiration of audiences and critics alike.
Gillian was a co-winner of the Auckland Star Piano Competition at 19, playing Mozart. A year later she won a scholarship of the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music in London. There she studied with the concert pianist Cyril Smith and the renowned organist Ralph Downes, and in her second year (1964) won the prestigious St. Albans International Organ Competition.
Gillian made her début at the Royal Albert Hall while still a student, as soloist in the Poulenc Organ Concerto, on the opening night of the 1965 season of the Promenade Concerts, and in the same year at the Royal Festival Hall in recital, then the youngest organist to have played there. Since then she has engaged in a unique career as an internationally acclaimed concert organist. Her repertoire is exceptional for its breadth and variety, stretching from the Renaissance to contemporary works.
She has received a host of awards and honours worldwide, the most notable of which was presented in 1996 when she was made a Dame Commander of the British Empire, the first organist to receive this accolade.
Gillian's six-part television series for the BBC in 1989 drew weekly audiences of two million in Britain, exceptional for an arts program, and has been repeated in many countries throughout the world.
Dame Gillian's exceptional artistry was marked in 1999 by the re-issue on CD of her series of Argo recordings, and her nomination by Classic CD magazine as one of the 100 Greatest Players of the Century and 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 performer, teacher and recording artist in a highly acclaimed documentary.