Mixture – Union Chapel’s Annual Organ Programme

Union Chapel houses one of the world’s finest organs and it’s a focal point of the Chapel’s unique acoustically designed architecture. Our focus is to change perceptions of what the organ is capable of by not only embracing its rich history but also bringing it to the forefront of contemporary music creation through our annual festival Organ Reframed. This works hand in hand with introducing the organ to primary school children across London and university students in London and beyond.

 

Photo Daniela Sbrisny

Education

We run a number of workshops, master-classes and learning opportunities for primary and secondary schools, university students and adults. The education programme provides an opportunity for people to learn about the organ through their chosen art form and is designed to enable people of all abilities to reach their full potential. 

Anthony Richardson Organ Scholarship

Our scholarship is designed to support an individual in their professional development and leadership skills within the organ field. Supported by our Organ Director Claire M Singer the scholar is involved in the production and administration of our organ programme and a number of performances across the year.

Individual Organ Lessons

Currently in partnership with St Mary Magdalene School and #InspiringOrganists we offer free organ lessons to local schools.

Workshops:

Computer Music Composition, Acoustic Composition, the Science of Sound, Creative Writing and Physical Theatre

Now running in its seventh year, we offer creative workshops for KS2, years 3-6, which stretch across the art forms in acoustic composition, creative writing and physical theatre. All centred around the organ, schools participate in all three workshops in one morning. These workshops are offered through the Islington Council 11 by 11 programme.

Notating the World: Musical Notation for Composition and Sound Design

The world is full of sounds. Sometimes our heads are full of sounds too.  How can we get them on paper and what happens when we do? We explore graphic and text scores, creative uses of staff notation, the sonification of numeric data sets, notating for the organ, aleatoric writing and interacting with performers.  Bringing in works from Nico Muhly to Pauline Oliveros and from Cathy Berberian to John Cage, the course takes a refreshing look at the art and science of musical notation for all those interested in sound, regardless of their musical background. We currently offer these workshops to Year 10 and 11.

University Composition and Performance Series

Composers at postgraduate level work with emerging organists to create new works that re-imagine the organ and the space of Union Chapel.

The series is designed to encourage emerging composers to explore writing for organ, an instrument not always accessible to them. It also aims to offer emerging organists the opportunity to learn how to work with composers and perform new music.

Performance

Recital Series and Organ Tours

Our recital series invites prolific organists to present works from the organ’s expansive repertoire. These are followed by a tour of the organ. Please check out events listings for our next recital.

Organ Reframed

Organ Reframed is the only festival of its kind in the UK. It has been commissioning innovative music, introducing new artists and attracting new audiences to this versatile instrument since 2016. For more information, please see our main festival page here.

“It’s really important to not only embrace the historic organ repertoire but also help it to grow. Access to the instrument can be tricky and as Organ Director at Union Chapel I feel it is important to offer opportunities to composers and performers (early stages, emerging and established). I do this by encouraging them to spend time with the instrument – through free workshops and masterclasses, take risks, push the boundaries of the current repertoire and continue to celebrate this wonderful instrument full of endless sonic possibilities. As an artist myself I continue to be fully committed to supporting my younger peers, nurturing their talent and providing an artistic space for them to evolve.”

Claire M Singer, Music Director of the Organ

Mixture is brought to you by Union Chapel Project, in partnership with the London Contemporary OrchestraSpitfire Audio and The Wire Magazine with generous support from Arts Council EnglandPRS for Music Foundation and the Institute of Physics.