Plans to put cathedral on the musical map

Pianist: Artur Bobikyan is one of the first artists to appear at St Marie's Cathedral.
Pianist: Artur Bobikyan is one of the first artists to appear at St Marie's Cathedral.
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SHEFFIELD’s Catholic Cathedral, St Marie’s, has just undergone extensive renovations and now has plans to become a key music venue in the city centre.

Silviu Cobeanu is the man charged with putting the cathedral, which now boasts a beautifully-restored interior, on the musical map. He has been putting together a programme for the first season and said that the Church wanted to open up the building as much as possible to everyone following the restoration, which has taken 13 months to complete, costing £1.9 million. Gone are the unsympathetic 1970s changes and the whole space is now light and colourful.

Silviu said that the cathedral had put on occasional concerts in the past but he is the first person employed by the diocese to put together a programme and book artists.

He added: “It has to be sacred music so I’ve got some restraints in terms of repertoire, unless the music is within a festival about sacred things, when you can have one or two concerts of secular music. Artistic music is sacred by itself, of course.”

Silviu, originally from Romania himself, is also keen to reflect the diversity of the cathedral congregation, which has steadily 
grown and now includes people from around the world. The music programme has been launched as part of a celebration by the whole Catholic world of a Year of Faith, which began last month, and looks again at the Church’s traditions and the meaning of faith.

The first concert is 
called Mother and Child and is an Advent and Christmas concert, featuring the University of Sheffield Chamber Choir, on December 13 at 7pm, followed by My Keys to Christmas, a piano recital with the internationally-renowned Armenian pianist Artur Bobikyan.

The famed mezzo-soprano Margaret Macdonald 
will sing in a lunchtime recital on Saturday, January 26.

From next year there will be at least one concert a month.

Silviu is very keen to popularise classical music and is also interested to work with other groups and organisations who would like to use the space.

He said: “In a year’s 
time I’d like to see St Marie’s Cathedral as a recognised concert venue, a place with lots of things going on and an interesting destination for people who visit Sheffield.”

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