City Organ

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Wellington City Organ

History | Wellington City Organist | Wellington Organ Concert Series 2008

History of the Wellington City Organ

After the opening of the Wellington Town Hall in 1904 music lovers eagerly awaited the promised Grand Organ, and on its installation claimed that Wellington had a concert venue at last.

Critics had repeatedly reported in the newspapers that the acoustics of the Wellington Town Hall were near to perfect, and the organ manufacturers, Norman Beard of world renown, would surely guarantee musical superiority.

No one was disappointed. The opening concerts attracted large and enthusiastic crowds and the acoustic qualities are undiminished to this day.

The Wellington Town Hall is rated amongst the top ten in the world for acoustics, and this was a significant argument in the 1970-80s when the demolition of the Town Hall became a possibility.

Douglas Mews – Wellington City Organist

Most organists will have played at a wedding at some time or other, but few can boast of playing at a wedding with Elton John as best man, or the wedding of a black labrador and a fox terrier…

Our City Organist, Douglas Mews has had that honour, along with other memorable experiences such as reaching the climax of Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor in a packed Nelson Cathedral when a power cut silenced the organ and plunged the building into darkness just before the final chord.

Other qualifications for the post include a Masters degree from Auckland University and post-graduate certificate from the Hague Conservatory, plus working with the NZSO, many early music groups and a Celtic band.

While the Wellington Town Hall organ is 102 years old this year, it’s young when compared with the 500 year-old organs in Europe. What interests Douglas in old instruments  is their ability to bring old music to life, to be enjoyed as if for the first time.

Wellington Organ Concert Series 

If you would like to join the mailing list to be notified when the 2009 series has been set, please email




Wellington Convention Centre
Tel: +64-04-801 4231 / Fax: +64-04-801 4310
Freephone: 0800 20 23 24
111 Wakefield Street,
Wellington 6011, New Zealand

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