May 12, 2022
By Kyra Droog
When the first note emanates from the Davis Concert Organ, it’s an experience unlike any other. You can feel the vibrations in the air and the power of this grand, beautiful instrument radiate through your feet. It’s as if time stands still: the sheer grandeur of the instrument can effectively stop time to provide a musical experience unlike any other.
You can witness all this – and more – when Simon Johnson makes his Winspear Centre debut for his self-curated Bach and Organ concert on May 31.
Simon Johnson is a world-renowned organist, joining us from the U.K.’s famous Westminster Cathedral. He will be performing a stunning concert of his favourite organ works, showcasing the incredible versatility of the Winspear Centre’s Davis Concert Organ. The beautiful thing about this concert is it is a concert curated specifically for the pipe organ, one of the oldest instruments used in European classical music.
Jerrold Eilander, Orchestra Operations Manager and Organ Curator, has been taking care of the Davis Concert Organ since it was unveiled in September of 2001. “The Davis Concert Organ is the largest concert pipe organ in Canada,” says Jerrold. “I can’t begin to express how excited I am to hear Simon Johnson play our organ – it's going to be truly incredible.”
No two organs are exactly the same – it takes an immense amount of talent and skill to be able to perform on a wide variety of organs. From differing numbers of keys and stops, to different sizes and types of foot pedals, each organ is unique in its own way. “I don’t think you ever stop learning to play the organ,” says Jerrold. “It’s never the same instrument.”
“This is an organ concert that will suit everyone from first timers to organ aficionados,” Jerrold says. “For some of you, this may be a brand-new experience, and it’s highly worth it. The organ is rarely showcased as a solo instrument, and to get to witness its dynamic range and diverse colours is a real treat.”