Thomas Heywood's career for the record
The Grand Tour
Thomas Heywood has travelled over 750,000 miles or 1.2 million kilometres performing solo concerts on the most celebrated pipe organs across the globe. He has performed international solo tours throughout North America, the UK and Ireland, Europe, Russia, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea and Hong Kong in venues ranging from Windsor Castle to the largest outdoor pipe organ in the world in San Diego, California. He continues solo touring internationally each year.
From one standing ovation to the next in the USA
Thomas Heywood has performed solo concerts throughout the USA from California to New England, and from New Orleans to the Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City.
Acclaimed concerts include performances: on the largest pipe organ in New York City at The Riverside Church; for the 150th birthday of the Mormon Tabernacle Organ in Salt Lake City, Utah; on the world's largest outdoor pipe organ in Balboa Park, San Diego, California; at the famous Methuen Memorial Music Hall near Boston, Massachusetts; at Christ Church Cathedral in New Orleans before Hurricane Katrina; at San Francisco, California; at Dallas, Texas; at Atlanta, Georgia; at Chattanooga, Tennessee; at Dayton, Ohio; at Lincoln, Nebraska; at Buffalo, New York; at Portland, Maine; at Orlando, Florida and at the Cincinnati Museum Center, Ohio to name but a selection, have earned Heywood an enviable reputation from critics and audiences alike as ‘unsurpassed today...beyond brilliant.’
God save the Queen
Heywood has performed solo concerts throughout England, Scotland and Wales on the most famous pipe organs in Britain.
From a solo concert at Windsor Castle, return engagements in world-famous cathedrals include: St Paul’s Cathedral, London; Canterbury Cathedral; York Minster; Chester Cathedral; Exeter Cathedral; Lincoln, Southwell, Lichfield and many more. Also celebrated concert halls from Usher Hall, Edinburgh to Caird Hall, Dundee. Other significant concerts include: St Mary Redcliffe, Bristol; St Michael’s Cornhill, London; St John’s Smith Square, Westminster - one of London’s finest concert venues, and the iconic 5-manual Schulze organ in Doncaster Minster.
Organs of Erin
Ireland is no stranger to Heywood’s concerts where, as the critics say, he has ‘a rapport that a rapper would envy.’ From Galway Cathedral on the west coast to several concerts in Waterford Cathedral since 2004, Irish audiences have been brought to ‘noisy standing ovations.’
Beethoven in Bonn and a World Heritage Site
Heywood has performed throughout Germany.
He has performed Beethoven’s music in Bonn, the famous composer’s birthplace. He has given solo concerts in the 4th-century Basilica of Constantine in Trier, the largest extant hall from antiquity and a World Heritage Site. He has performed in the celebrated Marktkirche in Wiesbaden, Paderborn Cathedral, Himmerod Abbey, Frankfurt, Munich, Berlin, Koblenz, Altenberg Cathedral and more.
The German press call him the ‘Ironman der Orgel. Der australische Starorganist Thomas Heywood.’
Austria’s world-famous ‘Bruckner Organ’
In 2012, Heywood was invited for an immediate season return solo concert on one of the largest pipe organs in Austria: the world-famous ‘Bruckner Organ’.
Heywood and the complete Beethoven Symphonies
Having become the first musician in history to have transcribed the complete Beethoven symphonies for concert organ solo, in 2018 Heywood commenced a major international project to record the complete Beethoven symphonies as a solo artist in a monumental cycle on landmark instruments across the globe.
On the completion of this project before 2027, Heywood will become the first musician in history to have transcribed, recorded and performed the complete Beethoven symphonies as a solo artist.
In 2020, the 250th anniversary of Beethoven's birth, although international performance plans were interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, extensive articles by Heywood about Transcribing The Nine were published in leading musical journals around the world, including the May-July 2020 issue of The Organ, published by Musical Opinion in London: the first time in the 100-year history of this famous scholarly periodical an entire issue had been devoted to a single article.
A first outside Europe and North America
In January 2012 Heywood became the first, and remains the only, artist based outside Europe and North America to be signed by Karen McFarlane Artists in the nearly 100-year history of the world’s premier management for concert organists and choirs.
Since 1921, the agency has managed the Who’s Who of world-famous organists from Marcel Dupré, Louis Vierne, Fernando Germani and Joseph Bonnet to Maurice Duruflé, Anton Heiller, Jean Langlais and Flor Peeters.
In recent years, other organists managed by the agency include Dame Gillian Weir and Simon Preston.
The present roster includes the world’s most celebrated organists and the world’s finest choirs from New College, Oxford to Westminster Abbey.
A first for Australia
Thomas Heywood was the first Australian musician in history to live as a professional concert organist. ‘Australia’s premier organist’ has also performed more concerts in Australia than any other organist. To date, he has presented over 1,700 concerts around Australia to over 600,000 people.
Recordings across three continents
In 2009 Heywood became the first, and remains the only, concert organist in the world to release three recordings from three different continents within seven months: Australia, Europe and North America.
Russia from the Pacific Coast to Moscow
In December 2012 and January 2013, Heywood performed a two-month solo concert tour of Russia from the Pacific Coast to Moscow - across nine time zones.
Heywood and the Melbourne Town Hall Grand Organ
Thomas Heywood first performed on the Melbourne Town Hall Grand Organ when he was 16 years old.
As part of the City of Melbourne’s 150th Celebrations in 1992, he made the first major commercial recording on the Melbourne Town Hall Grand Organ at 18 years of age.
In 1994, the City of Melbourne presented 20 year-old Thomas Heywood in a year-long series of Grand Organ Concerts at the Melbourne Town Hall – the first time such a solo series had been presented for over fifty years since the resignation of the last Melbourne City Organist, Sir William McKie, in 1938. Performing regular concerts on the grandest organ in Australia, Heywood reached out to thousands of people and began to build his immense repertoire of the finest concert organ music.
In 2001, following the A$4.5 million rebuilding of the Melbourne Town Hall Grand Organ as the largest musical instrument in the southern hemisphere, Heywood performed the Opening Solo Concert on the instrument when he was 27 years old.
Heywood’s premiere CD and DVD of the new Melbourne Town Hall Grand Organ broke records and became among the best-selling organ recordings of all time.
In 2011, supported by the City of Melbourne, Heywood released a new CD celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the Opening of the new Grand Organ.
Heywood has performed on the Melbourne Town Hall Grand Organ more than any other living organist.
‘The Crocodile Hunter of the Organ’ (The Dallas Morning News) and ANZCO – The Australian and New Zealand College of Organists
Heywood is committed to promoting and preserving Australasia’s unique pipe organ heritage. In addition to his work as a concert artist, in 2011 he became the Founding President and Australian National Director of the Australian and New Zealand College of Organists (ANZCO) - www.anzco.org - the only pipe organ related organisation working internationally in Australia and New Zealand with links around the world to build the future for the Pipe Organ in Australasia.
The largest musical instrument in any Australian school
Heywood was the consultant for the installation of the largest and most valuable musical instrument in any Australian school: the Grand Concert Organ in Aikman Hall, Haileybury, Melbourne - Australia’s largest school. He opened the instrument in 2009.
Thomas Heywood and the previous ‘Golden Age’ of the Concert Organ
Thomas Heywood’s research interests are in the repertoire, performers and organs of the 19th and early 20th centuries, especially the previous ‘Golden Age’ of the Concert Organ between 1840 and 1930.
For three years from 1992, Heywood made the one of the first comprehensive studies of the work of W.T. Best, acclaimed as the greatest 19th-century concert organist; Heywood compiled a complete catalogue of Best’s contribution to the repertoire, as well as undertaking an extensive study of Best’s life and character.
He has also contributed to The Oxford Companion to Australian Music and his articles have been published in learned musical journals and magazines around the world.
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