Mixture : Union Chapel’s Annual Organ Programme
The very best opportunities to create, compose, play and engage with the organ at Union Chapel
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 different age groups and different skill levels to the instrument as we endeavour to create a smooth and supported path from childhood to professional organ performance and composition of all genres.
Through free and subsidised workshops, residencies, scholarships, lessons, tours, and our critically acclaimed festival Organ Reframed, our programme is world renowned for its innovative approach.
Save our rare, historic, hydraulic powered organ.
After 146 years of dedicated service, urgent repairs are needed to save this important instrument, the future of innovative festival Organ Reframed – the only festival of its kind in the UK – plus continue to culturally enhance and teach children and disadvantaged groups.
We need to raise £130,000 by January 2024.
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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 with Jeremiah Stephenson.
Organ lessons in September 2020 with Jeremiah Stephenson
“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
Computer Music Composition, Acoustic Composition, the Science of Sound, Creative Writing and Physical Theatre
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.
Online notation workshops led by our Organ Scholar Jay Richardson in 2020
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.
“As someone with no prior knowledge of how the Organ works, the masterclass series was fascinating and gave a great insight into the potential of this instrument. Having the chance to work closely with very talented organists is amazing and I don’t think I would have considered writing a piece for the organ if it wasn’t for this project.” - Rachael Gibson, Goldsmiths College
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 our what's on page for our next recital.
Frédéric Blondy 2018 | Photo by Laurent Compagnon
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.
Music Director Claire M Singer plays her new composition Forrig at Union Chapel.
Mixture is brought to you by Union Chapel Project with generous support from The D’Oyly Carte Charitable Trust