Having recently been refurbished thanks to kind support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Islington’s Union Chapel is proud to announce the return of its historic Henry Willis organ as it takes its place once again at the heart of the church. And what better way to welcome back an old friend than with a week dedicated to its glory in the Union Chapel’s The Organ Project.
Originally built in 1877 and remaining virtually unaltered, The Organ Project propels this last of its kind instrument into the 21st century with a week of special concerts, recitals, workshops and film screenings. Striking the first celebratory chord this Saturday 14 July, St Paul’s organist Simon Johnson will perform a free organ recital. On Tuesday 16 July, Norwegian film-score composer Rebekka Karijord places the organ at the heart of her music with a powerful performance as her ghostly voice fills this atmospheric venue. Bringing together the worlds of classical and contemporary music, Karijord will be joined by Icelandic collective Bedroom Community and Small Feet in a unique night of live music.
The highlight of the week is sure to be the landmark screening of Carl Dreyer’s 1928 silent film, The Passion of Joan of Arc on Wednesday 17 July. With a haunting score by Irene Buckley, Dreyer’s iconic film will be brought to life as the eponymous organ takes centre stage in this London premiere performance amidst the chapel’s gothic architecture in a performance not to be missed.
Closing this week of celebration with a special gala concert on Saturday 20 July, members of top London orchestras and the Philharmonia will share the stage with talented amateurs musicians in Paradisal Players, delivering a performance that perfectly embodies the community spirit that made The Organ Project such a resounding success.
Gone are the days where organs are resigned to the backs of churches, rust ridden and hidden beneath heavy dust sheets; this organ is back and it is ready to blow.
Tickets for The Organ Project launch are available from the Union Chapel and range from £5 – £15 (plus booking fee).
The Organ Project takes place from Saturday 14 – Saturday 20 July at: