Maggie Hamilton

Issue: November/December 2017

New organ for Royal College of Music

12:41, 16th November 2017

A new organ has been installed and is currently being voiced at the Royal College of Music (RCM) in London. Part of the RCM’s More Music project, which represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform the College’s facilities, the organ has been custom-built by the Dutch firm of Flentrop Orgelbouw to meet the College’s teaching and performance requirements. The RCM has a prestigious history of organ training, with distinguished organ alumni including Colin Mawby, Jane Watts, Sir William McKie and William Lloyd Webber.


The III/34 Flentrop looks to Dutch and north German organ building traditions, and was designed specifically for the acoustics of the Amaryllis Fleming Concert Hall. It has a case of Limousin oak, with gilding to echo the decoration of the hall. The keyboard has a suspended mechanical action and the sound is fed by two large V-fold bellows with a relatively low wind pressure to achieve a warm, prominent tone.


Celebrating the new instrument, the RCM is hosting a masterclass by Ton Koopman (6.15pm, 6 February 2018) and an organ festival (25 February), which will include performances of works by RCM alumni including Vaughan Williams, Parry and Stanford alongside new works by RCM composers. Experts from Flentrop will provide insights into the building of the organ, and the day will conclude with a recital by Thomas Trotter.


RCM director Professor Colin Lawson CBE commented, ‘I am overjoyed at the results of Flentrop Orgelbouw’s expert craftsmanship and their success in turning our vision for this new instrument into a reality. The College’s ongoing mission is to enhance our students’ experience and I know every musician here will enjoy and learn from our new organ.’


The Royal College of Music organ is in recognition of James Zheng Huang HonRCM, generously supported by the Kingdom Music Education Group, Sir Anthony Cleaver FRCM & Lady Cleaver, The Hon Richard Lyttelton & Romilly Lyttelton, Jane Wilson and John Ward. www.rcm.ac.uk, www.flentrop.nl

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