Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University

Grey Street, South Bank (South Brisbane)

MAIN ORGAN: P.D. Collins, St Albans, UK, for
Queensland Conservatorium of Music, George Street, Brisbane, 1980
Located temporarily at Holy Trinity Anglican Church, Woolloongabba, 1994-97
Installed in this location 1997 W.J. Simon Pierce, Brisbane
2 manuals, 22 speaking stops, mechanical action

CHAMBER ORGAN: W.J. Simon Pierce, Brisbane, 1996
1 manual, 4 speaking stops, no pedals, mechanical action



Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University
[Photograph by Howard Baker (1990s)]

Historical and Technical Documentation by Geoffrey Cox
© OHTA 2012 (last updated May 2012)


 

The Queensland Conservatorium of Music was established in 1957 at the former South Brisbane Town Hall. It moved in 1975 to a purpose-built building in the grounds of the Queensland University of Technology in the city, and to its present location at South Bank in 1996, when it was amalgamated with Griffith University. It was renamed the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University at this time, and the new building at South Bank was designed by the architects Bligh Voller Nield. The Orchestral Hall is named after Basil Jones, who was Director of the Conservatorium 1960-80.

Main Organ.

The organ in the Basil Jones Orchestral Hall of the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University was built by Peter Collins of St Albans, UK, and inaugurated in March 1981 with a series of recitals, lectures and master-classes featuring the internationally renowned organist, Gillian Weir.1 The conservatorium had moved from its former quarters in the old South Brisbane Town Hall to its new building at the foot of George Street, adjacent to the Botanic Gardens in 1975,2 and the notion of a new organ had been raised as early as 1976 by the then Deputy Chairman of the Conservatorium Council, Mr Owen Fletcher, after whom the instrument was subsequently named.3



The 1980 Peter Collins organ at the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University
[Photograph: Queensland Conservatorium of Music (March 1981)]


At the time of its installation, the organ was one of only four in the world to stand on a platform that can be 'floated' on air cushions that enable the organ to be moved about the stage.4 It is the largest of three organs in Queensland built by Peter Collins of St Alban's, UK, around this time, the other two being built for St Mark's Anglican Church, Woody Point (1978) and the Department of Music, University of Queensland (1979). The case of the Conservatorium organ is of English ash, and the design is neo-classical, with the following specification:


GREAT
Principal
Rohr flute
Octave
Open flute
Quint
Octave
Tierce
Mixture IV

SWELL (Brustwerk)
Gedact
Principal
Koppel flute
Gemshorn
Spitz quint
Octave
Cymball II
Schalmey

PEDAL
Subbass
Octave
Gedact bass
Spitz octave
Fagot
Schalmey

COUPLERS
I/Pedal
II/Pedal
II Octave/Pedal
II/I

8
8
4
4
2-2/3
2
1-3/5
1-1/3


8
4
4
2
1-1/3
1
2/3
8


16
8
8
4
16
4






 

Draw-stop console
Great tremulant
Swell tremulant
Compass: 58/32
Mechanical action.5



Console of the 1980 Peter Collins organ
at the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University
[Photograph by Howard Baker (1990s)]

 

The temperament of the organ was re-tuned to 'Werkmeister III' by W.J. Simon Pierce in 1991 at the instigation of organist, Christopher Wrench, and other forms of non-equal temperament (such as Vallotti) have been used since that time.6

Following the decision to relocate the Conservatorium to its present address, the instrument was housed temporarily between 1994 and 1997 at Holy Trinity Anglican Church, Woolloongabba. It was installed in its current location in March 1997 by W.J. Simon Pierce.7 The pipework was originally cone-tuned, but tuning slides were fitted in 2003-04. Extensive re-voicing was undertaken by W.J. Simon Pierce in 2004, including the replacement of one rank of the Brustwerk Cymball.8


Chamber Organ.

The chamber organ was built in 1996 by W.J. Simon Pierce of Brisbane, becoming his Opus 2 following his organ for St George's Anglican Church, Eagle Heights. It was commissioned by Dr Peter Roennfeldt for use as a continuo instrument or for the performance of single-manual organ music. The casework is of Tasmanian Oak. For ease of transportation, the external wooden pipes, the keyboard and the blower are detachable.9

The instrument was donated to the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University by Dr Roennfeldt in 2008.10 As well as being used for concerts in Brisbane, this organ has travelled to locations in Queensland as far away as Maryborough and Cooroy.11





The 1996 Chamber organ by W.J.Simon Pierce, Opus 2
at the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University
[Photographs by Howard Baker (1990s)]


MANUAL
Stopt Diapason 8
Rohr Flute 4
Gemshorn 2
Quint 1-1/3

8
4
2
1-1/3
   

Mechanical action
Compass: 4 octaves
Pitch: Adjustable, A 415 or A440.12

 

 

 

______________________________________________________________________________

1 Organ Society of Queensland Newsletter, vol. 6, no. 3 (October 1979), p. 6; The Courier Mail (3 September 1980), p. 2, (6 March 1981), p. 2 and (16 March 1981), p. 2; The Sunday Mail (15 March 1981), p. 26.

2 Organ Celebration Week, Saturday 14 March 1981 to Saturday 21 March 1981 (brochure, Queensland Conservatorium of Music); partial reprint in The Sydney Organ Journal, vol. 12, no. 2 (April/May 1981), pp. 38-39; subsequent correspondence in vol. 12, no. 3 (June/July 1981), p. 3.

3 Christopher Cook, 'The Owen Fletcher Organ in the Basil Jones Theatre of the Queensland Conservatorium of Music,' Organ Society of Queensland Newsletter, vol. 17, no. 3 (December 1989), pp. 6-13; see also Organ Society of Queensland Newsletter, vol. 18, no. 6 (June 1991), pp. 7-9.

4 The Courier Mail (3 September 1980), p. 2.

5 Organ Celebration Week, op. cit.

6 Organ Society of Queensland Newsletter, vol. 18, no. 6 (June 1991), pp. 7, 10-15; The Organ Voice, vol. 31, no. 2 (June 2004), p. 2.

7 S.E. Advertiser (6 June 1994), p. 48; Personal communication to G. Cox from W.J. Simon Pierce, 1997; The Organ Voice, vol. 23, no. 1 (March 1997), p. 24.

8 The Organ Voice, vol. 30, no. 3 (September 2003), p. 26; The Organ Voice, vol. 31, no. 2 (June 2004), p. 24; OHTA News, vol. 29, no. 2 (April 2005), p. 9.

10 Personal communication to G. Cox from David Vann, May 2012.

11 The Organ Voice, vol. 30, no. 3 (September 2003), p. 26.

12 Personal communication to G. Cox from W.J. Simon Pierce, 1997; The Organ Voice, vol. 24, no. 1 (March 1998), p. 29.