Renowned Pro Cathedral Organist Retires

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Renowned Pro Cathedral Organist Retires after four decades of service


Professor Gerard Gillen bought a remarkable 42 years as Organist Titular at Dublin’s Pro-Cathedral to a close today, when he played for the final time at Mass celebrated by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin.

Many concelebrants joined with Archbishop Martin as well as former staff members of the Pro-Cathedral. Professor Gillen’s chosen work for today was Dvořák’s Mass in D with the Palestrina Choir.

President Michael D. Higgins and his wife Sabina were in the congregation for the occasion.  Professor Gillen played at their wedding their paths have crossed many times since.

Professor Gillen was Appointed Organiste Titulaire of St Mary’s Pro-Cathedral by Archbishop Dermot Ryan on 1st March 1976. His 42 years of service as Organist covered the episcopal ministries of four Archbishops of Dublin.  Professor Gillen supervised the training of many Organ Scholars over his four decades in the Pro Cathedral.

Professor Gerard Gillen is internationally recognised as a world-class organist, Church Musician and educationalist. He has an renowned reputation in Europe having given recitals at international venues such as the Royal Festival Hall, London, McEwan Hall, Edinburgh, Ulster Hall, Belfast as well as Cathedrals of Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Canterbury and Notre Dame, Paris among many others.  In recent weeks, he completed a series of recitals in Slovakia and Germany.

Professor Gillen was founder-chairman of the Dublin International Organ & Choral Festival and was the festival’s artistic director from 1990–2000. He was also consultant to the National Concert Hall in Dublin on the installation of the Hall’s Kenneth Jones concert organ in 1991 and remains one of the Hall’s honorary organ curators. He is Professor of Music emeritus at St Patrick’s University, National University of Ireland, Maynooth.  The Senate of the National University of Ireland awarded Professor Gillen with an Honory Doctorate for his outstanding academic leadership. In 1994, he was appointed to the Pontifical Order of Knight Commander of St Gregory the Great KCSG Gazetted KSG. ENDS