Each year the Organ Historical Trust of Australia organises a conference lasting about a week in one of the states of Australia. Conferences have also been held on both islands of New Zealand. These conferences bring organists and those interested in the instrument together from all over Australia, as well as New Zealand, the UK, the USA, Asia and Europe. Often, an international authority on the history and restoration of historic organs attends as a key-note speaker. Past guests have included Uwe Pape (Germany), Barbara Owen (USA) and Stephen Bicknell (UK). Opportunities are provided for recitals on historic and instruments. Members often have time to play and inspect the instruments for themselves and papers on the preservation of organs and other relevant topics are presented and later published in OHTA News.
- 2020 Perth, WESTERN AUSTRALIA
- 2021 Auckland, NEW ZEALAND
2019 Adelaide, SOUTH AUSTRALIAPast conferences
THE OHTA 2019 CONFERENCE
OHTA’s 42nd annual conference will take place in South Australia, starting on the morning of Monday 30 September and concluding on the afternoon of Friday 4 October. Registration will take place at St John’s Anglican Church, Halifax Street, Adelaide from 9.00 am on the Monday. Participants will be taken to most of the venues by coach with easy public transport travel in Adelaide city centre. A number of catered lunches and dinners will be provided.
The conference theme of Restoration, Reconstruction and Rebuilding will be explored in a number of papers and the visits themselves.
From the later 19th century and the early 20th century we will be visiting organs by J.W. Wolff, Bishop & Son, Hill & Son, W.G. Rendall, J.H. Fray, J.E. Dodd and Rushworth & Dreaper. From the interwar years, we will see instruments by Wurlitzer, Casavant Frères and Hill, Norman & Beard, the latter two at the Catholic and Anglican cathedrals. From the post-World War two period, two instruments by Gunstar Organ Works and Geo.Fincham & Sons, with electric action, will be seen. The conference will then focus upon the neo-classical heritage and organs built with mechanical key action, visiting instruments by Casavant Frères, Peter Collins, Geo.Fincham & Sons, Roger Lewis, Knud Smenge and George Stephens. Many of these instruments have not previously been visited at OHTA conferences.
Of special interest will be the restored 1877 Hill & Son concert organ at the Barossa Regional Gallery, Tanunda which was incomplete when visited at the 2013 conference. It has since become a great musical and historical drawcard for the area and an object lesson in successful organ reconstruction to the highest standards. The two Cathedral organs in Adelaide will also be of considerable interest: the 1927 Casavant at St Francis Xavier’s Cathedral representing an organbuilding style previously unrepresented in the country; and the 1930 Hill, Norman & Beard organ at St Peter’s Cathedral very conservatively rebuilt by Harrison & Harrison. From this period also is the 1928 Wurlitzer organ at St Peter’s College, previously located at the Regent Theatre, Adelaide. These instruments will be fully demonstrated in recitals.
The 1860s J.W. Wolff chamber organ acquired by OHTA some years ago has been fully restored by George Stephens. This very rare instrument will be unveiled at the conference.
Accommodation has been reserved at Chifley on South Terrace, South Terrace, Adelaide. This is within walking distance of the free Adelaide city centre tram and close to restaurants. Participants will need to make their own arrangements directly with the hotel, before the end of June if possible. To book, phone Chifley on South Terrace on (08) 8223 4355 and quote the “Organ Historical Trust of Australia” to access the rooms set aside for the conference. The Tariff ranges from $112.00 for Standard Twin rooms to $140.00 for Studio rooms. Breakfast is extra, but is cheaper when booked at the time of your room booking. We suggest you book for five nights from Sunday 29 September to Thursday night 3 October for the full extent of the conference, and any other extra nights if you are arriving early or staying later.