Auckland Town Hall Organ Concerts Return to Fulfil a 112-Year-Old Promise
The annual Auckland Town Hall Organ Concert Series is back with the first of four free concerts set for next month.
Since first opening in 2010, the annual Sunday concerts have become a local favourite, pulling in up to 1000 music lovers for each performance. The series highlights Auckland Town Hall's historic and culturally significant organ, which was gifted to the city by Mayor Henry Brett, Great-Great Uncle to current Deputy Mayor Desley Simpson, in 1911. The instrument was donated on the condition that it was used to provide free public performances to the people of Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland each year.
The Auckland Town Hall Organ Trust partner with Auckland Live, a division of Tātaki Auckland Unlimited, to deliver on that promise, attracting world class performers from overseas and within Aotearoa to play the iconic instrument. The organ is internationally renowned and has been described by world-class musicians as a "bucket list" experience, so there is no shortage of talented performers lining up to take a seat at the pipes.
This year's series begins with the Organ and Choir Celebration on 14 May, featuring the Auckland Youth Choir, concertmaster of the Auckland Youth Orchestra and organist Zosia Herlihy-O'Brien, and Director of Music at St Paul's Cathedral Michael Stewart. The programme will feature music for the coronation of King Charles III, and the world premiere of He Tamaiti ō te Ao Tukupū, a new work from Auckland composer Takerei Komene.
On 9 July, a world-renowned Canadian organist and Juilliard graduate Isabelle Demers will delight Aucklanders with her music. Regularly invited to play at the basilique Notre-Dame de Montréal, Demer's Viruosic piano techniques and repertoire played entrely from memory set her apart in the world of organists.
Following this is an organ and violin concert on 3 September from Kemp English, on of New Zealand's leading concert performers, and Yuka Eguchi, violinist, and assistant concertmaster with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.
Finally, the Rising Stars 2023 concert finishes the series for the year on 12 November with a selection of up-and-coming young organists. Stay tuned for further details when they are announced later in the year.
Kerry Stevens, Auckland Town Hall Organ Trust Chairman, says the annual free concerts are an essential part of the city's cultural life. "We are thrilled to announce our 2023 Auckland Town hall Organ concert series with our longstanding partner Auckland Live. These free concert are created for the people of Tāmaki Makaurau and visitors to our city to showcase New Zealand's leading concert instrument, the mighty Auckland Town Hall Organ."
Tickets to the first Auckland Town Hall Organ Concert can be found here.