Past Event28 Oct 2018

Sunday Town Hall Organ Concert Series 2018

No longer available

Great Hall, Auckland Town Hall


Experience some of the finest music written for organ performed by internationally renowned organists on one of the world’s best concert hall instruments.

Raúl Prieto Ramirez | Sunday 28 October, 2 pm

The performances of Raúl Prieto Ramírez, newly appointed San Diego Civic Organist and Artistic Director of the Spreckels Organ, have been described as sizzling, iconoclastic, and transcendent. 

Performing a wide ranging classical and popular repertoire with flair and bravado, this Spanish master has an extraordinary way of entertaining audiences of young and old, music experts and casual listeners like few other organists. 

The first Spanish organist in recent times to establish himself among the elite of the international organ scene, Raúl Prieto Ramírez’s global schedule takes him to major festivals and concert halls – from the Mariinsky Theatre and Moscow House of Music in Russia to cathedrals and churches throughout Europe and the United States.  He also serves as a jury member at international organ competitions. 

A composer as well as instrumentalist, Raúl Prieto Ramírez’s compositions for chamber ensembles, pipe organ and solo instruments have been broadcast throughout Spain, and his concerto for organ and orchestra premiered in Barcelona. 

Bayleys Great Classics 2018

The Auckland Town Hall Organ Trust, in association with Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, presents a 30-minute recital at 6pm prior to each Bayleys Great Classics concert in the Auckland Town Hall. Each recital features a different organist playing classics from the organ repertoire.

10 May, Michael Stoddart
5 July, Rebecca Lee
27 September, Philip Smith
8 November, Erika Budday 

Find out more

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.

[PAST EVENT] Christopher Wrench | Sunday 22 April, 2pm

Internationally acclaimed, Australian Christopher Wrench travels widely, presenting exciting concerts which leave audiences in awe of his consummate musicianship. His latest recording of the Bach Trio Sonatas has won critical acclaim: 

“Wrench has scored, in terms of commitment, energy, musical poise, and…sheer joy in music-making – an unequivocal triumph” – Fanfare, USA

“ A perfection of execution that is jaw dropping…the musical beauty of these gems shines through…Wrench achieves the Holy Grail of trio performance…Brilliant music, brilliantly performed” – Church Music Quarterly, UK 

His concerts are known for their perfection.

"Wrench may be regarded as a true virtuoso. His interpretations called upon the wealth of his resources as a performer…His command is just as amazing as his individuality of expression” - Delmenhorster Kreisblatt, Germany 

Christopher Wrench lives in Brisbane and performs at Brisbane Town Hall and at the Queensland Performing Arts, which boasts a Klais organ, the same organ builder who built the Auckland Town Hall Organ.

In addition to the Sunday Town Hall Organ Series, Christopher performs Saint-Saëns’ Symphony No.3, ‘Organ’ with Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra in May

[PAST EVENT] Michael Stewart | Sunday 10 June, 2pm

Michael Stewart holds the positions of Organist and Director of Music at the Wellington Cathedral of St Paul and is also Music Director of the Tudor Consort

Awarded a Bachelor of Music degree with first class honours from the University of Canterbury, Stewart studied at McGill University, Montreal where he was awarded a Master of Music degree. During his time in Montreal he was assistant organist at The Church of St Andrew, which boasts the finest music programme in the country. He has recorded for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and RNZ Concert, and has produced two organ CDs. His particular interest is in 20th century French organ music, and the French Baroque period. 

In recent years he’s performed the complete organ works of JS Bach and Mendelssohn in Wellington Cathedral, and returns to play the Town Hall Organ after his last performance in 2012.


Herbert Murrill - Carillon                                                                                     
JS Bach - Prelude and Fugue in A minor                       
Cesar Franck - Cantabile                                                                                 
Dave Brubeck - Everybody’s Jumpin’                                                               
Felix Mendelssohn - Prelude and Fugue in G major                               
William Bolcom - Gospel prelude on What a Friend we Have in Jesus               
John Knowles Paine - Concert Variations on the Austrian Hymn     
Julius Reubke - Sonata on the 94th Psalm        

Thomas Gaynor | Sunday 19 August, 2 pm

Since leaving New Zealand to study at Yale, Thomas Gaynor has achieved remarkable success. He has claimed first prizes in the Third International Bach-Liszt Organ Competition in Germany, the Sydney International Organ Competition, and the Fort Wayne National Organ Playing Competition in America.  

In July 2017 he was awarded the First Prize in Organ Interpretation and the Audience Prize at the St Albans International Organ Competition – only the 25th organist to receive this distinction since the festival and competition was founded in 1963. 

An aspiring concert organist, Thomas has studied in masterclasses and workshops with many of this generation’s most influential organists including Edoardo Bellotti, Cameron Carpenter, Ken Cowan, Nathan Laube, Jaques Van Oortmerssen and others. He can be frequently heard in solo and collaborative recitals across the USA and Australasia. 

A grateful recipient of an Arts Excellence Award from the Dame Malvina Major Foundation, a Freemasons University Scholarship, a Kiwi Music Scholarship and the Maxwell Fernie Trust Scholarship, Thomas most recently received the New Zealand Aotearoa Scholarship from Creative NZ.

Thomas is currently Assistant Director of Music at Christ Episcopal Church in Pittsford, NY, where he works closely with concert organist David Baskeyfield. 

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