Kemp English | Sunday 28 April, 2pm
International concert organist Dr Kemp English opens the 2019 season with a return to the Town Hall, following two very successful concerts here in previous years. Known for his technical brilliance, stage presence and humorous presentation, we expect this concert to be a highlight of the year. His recent recording, The Organ is Dancing, features the music of popular contemporary composer Mons Leidvin Takle. Kemp will play some of Takle’s music along with a wide variety of showstoppers by Handel, Saint- Saëns and Karl Jenkins.
Classically trained at the Royal Academy of Music in London and now based in New Zealand, Kemp English is much in demand as an organist. He has released 23 critically acclaimed CDs on several record labels.
'...Kemp English’s playing is always engaging, often brilliant and sometimes electrifying. Outstanding' - BBC Music Magazine
Read more about The Auckland Town Hall Organ
Hidden behind the beautiful 1911 facade is an array of thousands of pipes, dozens of bellows and a network of sophisticated wiring and technology. This organ has gained a reputation as one the world’s finest concert hall instruments: a reputation endorsed by many visiting international organists.
It was not always so. In 1970 the original instrument was replaced with a new organ of a different style. But it was soon discovered that it could not fill the hall with sound. In 2010 the ‘lost splendour’ returned with the Town Hall’s third organ – an instrument built to match its opulent surroundings.
Protected as a heritage item, the new organ contains some of the original 1911 pipes, which were repaired, re-voiced and reincorporated into the instrument as part of the 2010 refit. At the same time, two stops were specially designed to capture the spirit of two traditional Māori instruments – the pūkāea and the kōauau– and unique Māori decorations were added to the largest 12 pipes of each rank.
An internal viewers’ walkway runs inside the organ from where the carvings are just a few of the myriad of fascinating features of the instrument that are visible.