Published: 9 October 2023
The United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE), the home of Freemasonry in England and Wales, has announced its autumn organ concert for 2023, which will take place at Freemasons' Hall on 08 November at 6:00pm.
The concert is to be given by the concert organist Tom Bell, who has been described as “invigorating” (Sunday Times), “compelling” (Organists’ Review) and “brilliant” (American Record Guide). Tom has built a vibrant international portfolio of work as a performer and educator which has taken him across Europe, to Asia, the USA and Australia.
Tom’s concert in the Grand Temple at Freemasons' Hall, includes a diverse and lively programme, with works including 20th Century Cornucopia; Adagio in E – Bridge; Rhapsody no.3 in C sharp minor – Howells; L'Ascension – Messiaen; Rhosymedre – Vaughan Williams; and Tu es Petra – Mulet.
The organist is known as an innovator, having worked with beatboxers, visual artists, poets, folk musicians and dancers, and his work has been broadcast worldwide. Current projects involve music by Messiaen and nineteenth-century editions of Bach.
His educational activities are centered on work with the Royal College of Organists; he is equally at ease leading workshops for children or teaching the next generation of professionals. His students have held prestigious scholarships in the UK. Tom is Artistic Director of the London Organ Day, studied with Kevin Bowyer, Jacques van Oortmerssen and Ann Elise Smoot, and lives in the north of England.
The concert is a perfect opportunity to soak in the grandeur of Freemasons' Hall, widely known as an art deco masterpiece and completed in 1933 as a memorial to the nearly 3,500 Freemasons who lost their lives in the First World War. Built in the central courtyard of the building, the Grand Temple is rich with multicoloured details of blue, gold and white. The Grand Temple was designed as a pentagon to suit the irregular area in which it is located and features stunning ceiling mosaics rich with historic symbolism.
The event will showcase the magnificent Willis pipe organ. The original organ was installed in 1933 by Henry Willis, the third generation of an extended family line of organ builders. It originally had three manuals and 43 stops, giving a total complement of some 2,220 pipes, and was the last big organ built by the Willis firm.
Tickets, costing £5 (which includes a free programme and a donation to the Royal College of Organists); obtain your ticket for organ concert on the website.