About Concert Organ International
Concert Organ International began in 1997 during extensive concert travels by Thomas Heywood and his wife Simone.
'Thomas Heywood began his musical career as a child prodigy, having given his first public performance at age five. The first Australian musician in history to be a professional concert organist, he has travelled more than 750,000 miles, traversing the globe, performing a comprehensive repertoire of more than 5,000 works that include many transcriptions of his own devising.' (The American Organist, USA)
With solo performances around the world each year, Concert Organ International:
• brings inspiring and memorable concerts to the widest possible audience:
Heywood's 'flawless technique is just the platform from which truly artistic and memorable performances flow.' (The Editor's Choice - Organists' Review, UK)
• introduces people of all ages to the thrill and wonder of the pipe organ:
'Heywood has a rapport that a rapper would envy…the selection was superb and brought the audience to a noisy standing ovation. What a concert!' (The Munster Express, Ireland)
• grows and maintains audiences for organ concerts:
'Heywood is without argument one of the world's best concert organists whose primary goal is to touch a wide public with music that stirs the soul as much as it stimulates the mind.' (The American Organist, USA)
'Even if you think you don’t like organ recitals, don’t even think of missing him.' (The Dallas Morning News, USA).
A brief history of the Concert Organ
The Concert Organ tradition, as it has grown from the Industrial Revolution England of the 1830s, is the means by which the largest audiences in history have been brought to the pipe organ as an instrument in a concert setting, not a religious one.
It is concert organs in town halls, concert halls, school halls and other secular public buildings that are so important for the worldwide future of the pipe organ. The fact that these monumental and, in many cases, irreplaceable instruments are the single largest and most valuable ‘objects’ owned by the public authorities on behalf of their local communities is a fact that should not be lost on any of us who love the pipe organ.
For Thomas Heywood, as a seventh-generation Australian, it is a matter of some pride that the first significant concert organ anywhere in the world outside the United Kingdom was opened in Australia in June 1861.
‘To entertain and educate’ are the watchwords of the concert organ repertoire.
Any study of concert organ programs around the world from the mid-19th century to the Second World War will show that there was a balance of repertoire: a balance that is absolutely crucial. That balanced repertoire included appropriate original organ works together with transcriptions of music originally composed for other instruments. All of this blended together to make an entertaining and educative concert program for a concert audience. After all, the audience doesn’t have to be there. They are coming because they want to be there.
[From 'Transcribing The Nine' - Thomas Heywood, published in The Organ, Volume 99 No. 392: May–July 2020]
We hope you enjoy exploring the many possibilities on this site and look forward to seeing you at an organ concert soon.
We invite you to get in touch with us