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John Wells Organ Concert

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  • Sat 14 May ’16, 7:30pm – 9:30pm


Waiapu Cathedral of St John the Evangelist, 28 Browning St, Napier


All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Adults: $20.00
  • Seniors: $15.00
  • Students: $5.00

Concert Programme:

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Fantasia & Fugue in G minor, BWV 542

Leo Sowerby (1895-1968)
Fantasy for Flute Stops
(from Suite for Organ)

Percy Whitlock (1903-1946)
Folk Tune

Jean Sibelius (1865-1957)
From Karelia-suite, Op.11: Alla Marcia, arr. Wells

John Wells (b. 1948)
From: Organ Symphony In C Major
Piacevole/Allegro marziale/Piacovole

Commissioned by the Trustees of the Auckland Town Hall Organ and funded by the Roskill Foundation (Freemasons), the symphony was given its world première at the Inauguration Concert celebrating the completion of the new Klais organ in Auckland Town Hall on Sunday 21st March, 2010.

Louis Vierne (1870-1937)
Toccata and Clair De Lune, Op.53, Nos 6 and 5

Charles Marie Widor (1844-1937)
Finale from Symphony in D major, Op.13, No.2

Dr John Wells is the national NZ director of the Australian & New Zealand College of Organists, Organist to the University of Auckland, Patron of the NZ Association of Organists and Visiting Artist-Teacher (Organ) at the Auckland University School of Music. As City Organist, he instigated the project to rebuild the Auckland Town Hall organ; after ten years of planning and two years' construction, the new organ was inaugurated on March 21st, 2010.

One of NZ's most respected and widely-travelled musicians, Dr Wells was Organ Scholar at King's College Chapel, Cambridge and received his Doctorate in organ performance with high distinction from Indiana University where he studied under Oswald Ragatz. He maintains a busy schedule as performer, composer and teacher. He has made seven CDs, including NZ's very first organ disc; he has recorded the whole of Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier on the organ and has composed The Well-Tempered Piano, thirty preludes and fugues in all the keys. These are all available on disc.

He had the honour of giving the opening recital on Napier Cathedral’s previous organ when it was new in 1974. He is also known internationally as a composer: his Organ Concerto has
been performed numerous times in Australia and NZ, and has just received its North American premieres on May 7th and 8th in Manchester and New Britain, Connecticut, USA.

Recent reviews
"Impeccable Display for Audience . . . Wells promised high drama and he delivered. The large audience was treated to an impeccable display of virtuosity in a demanding programme . . . With Wells' hands and fingers dancing rapidly over the four keyboards, (the Vierne) was a delight to listen to and watch . . . The virtuosity was clearly evident (in Thalben-Ball's Paganini Variations) with the precision of two feet playing chords . . . Wells revelled in engaging the full tonal resources for this authentic presentation (of the first movement of his Organ Symphony).
The concert was a display of virtuosity equalling that of other international concert organists . . . mastery . . . with ease." (Hawkes Bay Today, May 2014)
“Talented musicianship and knowledgeable comments . . . an entertaining and informative concert. Gifted both as musician and lecturer, a master in his element . . . leaving the feeling that (the work) had been played just the way Bach would have wanted it, with understanding, skill and passion.” Whakatane Beacon, February 2015

“While the sky opened in torrents outside, I was amazed at the number of people arriving at this concert . . . This was a masterful example of the genre played in a spectacular fashion with complete confidence and sparkle . . . The greatest delight was in hearing Wells' own work (the Fifth Suite) . . . left me wanting to hear more of his compositions. (He) gave the freshly tuned organ a complete workout. The buzz afterwards and the race to purchase CDs confirmed we had just experienced a piece de resistance.” - Nelson Mail, 9/3/2015

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