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J.S. Bach and the Orgelbüchlein Project

Blacks Club - 67 Dean St, Soho, London W1D 4QH
Jun 25th 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm

With acclaimed organist and music scholar William Whitehead

William Whitehead, acclaimed organist and music scholar, will talk about the Orgelbüchlein project will talk about the fascinating project to commission short organ pieces from 181 contemporary composers to complete J.S. Bach’s amazing but unfinished series of musical settings. The event will feature a selection of recordings of pieces both by J.S. Bach and by contemporary organ composers.

The Orgelbüchlein Project is a major international composition project to complete J S Bach’s Orgelbüchlein (Little Organ Book). This had 118 missing pieces, ghostly gaps filled with only the title penned by Bach. Each of these gaps has now been filled by a new composition based on Bach’s intended melody. The new pieces, written by the most interesting composers at work today, encompass a range of the most exciting modern organ composition styles.

Trained at Oxford University and the Royal Academy of Music, London, William’s teachers have included David Sanger, James O' Donnell and Dame Gillian Weir. Valuable inspiration was gained in his year as Organ Scholar of Westminster Abbey, where he played for services and occasionally conducted the choir. This was followed by 4 years as Assistant Organist at Rochester Cathedral. He then became a Lecturer at the Royal Academy of Music, Director of Music at St Mary’s Bourne Street, London, and Associate Organist of Lincoln's Inn in London, where he accompanies the professional choir.

William now combines a career as a concert organist, teacher and writer. He regularly gives solo organ concerts at venues such as The Royal Festival Hall, the Royal Albert Hall (Proms 2017) and Westminster Cathedral, and appears at international organ festival events. He has made a number of solo recordings, including the award-winning 'Dances of Life and Death' on the Chandos label, featuring music by Alain and Duruflé.

Photo of Birmingham Symphony Hall by Kelly used under CC BY 2.0

How to Book

This salon style event will be held from 6.30pm on Tuesday 25th June at Blacks Club, 67 Dean St, Soho, London W1D 4QH. The talk itself will commence promptly at 7.00pm, and should last about an hour.

Space at the event is strictly limited. RSVP in advance to to reserve a place, indicating whether or not you are a Member of Blacks.

These will be allocated on a strictly first come, first served basis. Please reserve your place now to avoid disappointment!

The event will cost £10 per person on the door, payable to R&V either by cheque or in cash.