True Kiwi master to perform on Wurlitzer

Acclaimed organist Chris Hainsworth will be playing Baycourt’s Wurlitzer in the Addison Theatre this June. Supplied photo.

Baycourt’s mighty Wurlitzer theatre organ will roar into life when one of New Zealand’s most renowned and entertaining organists performs at the Tauranga community and arts centre this June.

Baycourt Presents is proudly bringing internationally acclaimed classical organist Chris Hainsworth on the Mighty Wurly to the Baycourt Addison Theatre at 7pm on Wednesday June 6.

The programme will feature works by Julius Fucik (Entry of the Gladiators), Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (Flight of the Bumblebee), plus soundtracks from classic silent films by Buster Keaton (The Goat), George Méliès (Voyage to the Moon), and Charlie Chaplin (Payday) which will all be screened during Hainsworth’s performance.

“To have an organist of Chris’ calibre and international stature travel to Tauranga just to perform on Baycourt’s Wurlitzer theatre organ is really a once in a lifetime opportunity,” says Baycourt manager Megan Peacock-Coyle.

“Baycourt’s Mighty Wurly is a stunning piece of machinery, some even call it a work of art. If you have never heard it live in action, especially played by a true master, you need to get yourself a ticket to this concert today!”

Chris is currently the organist "titulaire" of Beziers Cathedral in France and will be travelling to Tauranga especially for this concert.

He studied organ with Ernest Jamieson (St. Mark’s church, Wellington), Maxwell Fernie (Westminster Cathedral, Victoria University and St. Mary of the Angels, Wellington) and with Jean Ferrard (professor at the Conservatoire of Brussels).

Following specialized studies of French classical organ and harpsichord music, the symphonic organ repertoire and the fortepiano, Chris has been freelancing in France and around Europe for 30 years, often travelling with his 1830 fortepiano or his modern Leroy copy of a 1770 Taskin French harpsichord.

Chris was congress recitalist at the NZ Organ Congress in 2014, and has toured New Zealand regularly since. When not playing, Hainsworth has also been associate professor of music at the University of Waikato, Director of Beziers Conservatoire in France, and Director of Music at Hamilton Cathedral.

In 2017, Chris was also harpsichord soloist in Bach’s fifth Brandenburg concerto with the Montpellier National Orchestra and organ soloist in Handel’s BB Concerto with the Liege Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra.

Chris is also keen on popular music and accompanying silent movies. He has twice performed at the saint Tropez antipodean film festival and in 2008, following successful performances in London, Paris and around New Zealand, he was invited to accompany a New Zealand silent film at the Wroclaw international film festival.

Wurlitzer organs are the largest type of musical instrument in the world. It consists of a console that dramatically rises from beneath the stage, connected to thousands of pipes; a piano keyboard, a xylophone, castanets, bells and drums.


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