Sydney Opera House Concert Hall Grand Organ

This CD contains historic recordings made during the inaugural recital series in 1979 when the organ was launched.

The Sydney Opera House Grand Organ is in many ways a unique instrument. With 10,500 pipes, of which 2700 can be sounded simultaneously, it is both the largest instrument in the country, and the largest mechanical action organ in the world.

Douglas Lawrence gave the inaugural recital on the Sydney Opera House Grand Organ. He was for many years artistic director of the Melbourne International Festival of Organ and Harpsichord, and was director of the Choir of Ormond College until 2006. He travels extensively on concert engagements in many countries around the world.

Robert Ampt, a student of David Rumsey and Anton Heiller, has been the Sydney City Organist since 1978 and Organist/Choirmaster of Sydney's German Lutheran Church since 1985. His organ and choral music is distributed by Birralee Publishing. He is married to Sydney University Organist Amy Johansen.

Christa Rumsey, who also studied with Heiller, taught, up unto the late 1970s, at the Sydney Conservatorium, and then moved to Adelaide to take up a teaching position there.

Donald Hollier, organist and composer, was director of the Canberra Opera Company at the time of this recording.

A Fellow of the Royal College of Organists, William Pierce was organist at a number of churches around Australia, Director of Music at various schools and Launceston City Organist for many years. He was a well-known recitalist and composer of liturgical music. He died in 1996.


Christa Rumsey

Christa Rumsey was born in Vienna, Austria in 1943. In 1961 she became a student of the renowned organist, conductor and composer Anton Heiller at the Vienna Academy of Music and the Performing Arts, and graduated in Organ Performance in 1966.

William Pierce

A Fellow of the Royal College of Organists, William Pierce was organist at a number of churches around Australia, Director of Music at various schools and Launceston City Organist for many years. He was a well-known recitalist and composer of liturgical music.

Douglas Lawrence

Melbourne organist Douglas Lawrence is Director of Music at The Scots' Church and Teacher of the Organ at the University of Melbourne and was the founding director of Choir of Ormond College, a position he held from 1982 to 2006.

Robert Ampt

Robert Ampt is the Sydney City Organist and Organist/Choirmaster of Sydney's German Lutheran Church. An active recitalist and teacher, he composes and arranges music for the organ, has written two children's introductions to the organ, and has written an extensive history of the Sydney Town Hall organ.

Donald Hollier

Born in Sydney, Donald Hollier studied piano at the NSW State Conservatorium of Music. He spent much of his life working with choirs, and his many appointments in this field include conductor of the Canberra Choral Society in 1976, and Musical Director of Canberra Opera.

Press quotes

“Congratulation to Move Records for re-releasing in an expanded form this disc from the inaugural recital series of the Opera House organ in 1979 . . . A spirit of adventure also pervades the performers . . . of particular note is [Donald] Hollier's mercurial account of Liszt's monumental Prelude and Fugue on B.A.C.H.”

— Tony Way, The Age - Green Guide

“I consider the disk is a must-have for both the music and the history. I think I'll just listen to it once more before bed.”

— David Powis, Plenum Magazine

“What an excellent gesture on behalf of MOVE . . . this is all delightfully played and registered most colourfully on an instrument offering unlimited possibilities . . . the CD also includes excellent notes on the music with further information on the instrument”

— John Maidment, Organ Historical Trust of Australia News, July 2008

Audio previews

Track Listing

  1. Grand Chœur from 12 Pièces Théodore Dubois 4:14
  2. Passacaglia in D minor Johann Caspar Kerll 7:04
  3. Canon in B minor Op. 6 No. 5 Robert Schumann 3:22
  4. Noel: This Day Nicolas Le Bègue 2:16
  5. Trumpet Voluntary John Bennett 5:32
  6. Preludes for Christmas Time: Op. 76, No. 6 J. B. Schiedermayer 3:26
  7. Pieces for Mechanical Clock, Hob. XIX:1-32 Franz Joseph Haydn

  8. No. 5, Menuett :40
  9. No. 1, Allegro moderato 1:00
  10. No. 11, Menuett: allegretto :51
  11. No. 4, Andante 1:11
  12. No. 7, Allegretto :53
  13. No. 8, Menuett 1:24
  14. No. 10, Vivace 1:05
  15. Prelude and Fugue on B-A-C-H S.260 Franz Liszt

  16. Prelude 3:14
  17. Fugue 8:37
  18. Lamento JA 119 Jehan Alain 3:24
  19. Litanies JA 14 Jehan Alain 4:39
  20. Epitaphs for Edith Sitwell Malcom Williamson 4:25
  21. Sistine Chapel Evocation S.461 Franz Liszt 8:54
  22. Am Grabe Richard Wagners S.135 Franz Liszt 2:51
  23. Chorale Prelude: Nun danket alle Gott Franz Schmidt 1:45



Théodore Dubois

François-Clément Théodore Dubois (1837 – 1924) was a French composer, organist and teacher. The music of Dubois includes ballets, operas, oratorios and symphonies. His best known work is the oratorio Les sept paroles du Christ which continues to be given an occasional airing; and his Toccata in G (1889), for the organ.

Robert Schumann

Robert Schumann was a German composer, aesthete and influential music critic. He is regarded as one of the greatest and most representative composers of the Romantic era.

Franz Joseph Haydn

Franz Joseph Haydn (1732–1809) was an Austrian composer, one of the most prolific and prominent composers of the Classical period. He is often called the "Father of the Symphony" and "Father of the String Quartet" because of his important contributions to these forms.

Franz Liszt

Franz Liszt (1811–1886) was a 19th-century Hungarian composer, pianist, conductor, and teacher. As a composer, Liszt was one of the most prominent representatives of the "Neudeutsche Schule" ("New German School").

Jehan Alain

Jehan Ariste Alain (1911 – 1940) was a French organist and composer. Alain was born in Saint-Germain-en-Laye in the western suburbs of Paris, into a family of musicians. His father, Albert Alain (1880–1971) was an enthusiastic organist, composer and organ-builder who had studied with Alexandre Guilmant and Louis Vierne.

Where to buy

Sydney Opera House Concert Hall Grand Organ is available for download from the iTunes Music Store.
It's available for streaming through Apple Music.

Sydney Opera House Concert Hall Grand Organ is available as as CD. It can be purchased online through Buywell Music or the Australian Music Centre which both offer secure online ordering.

Move CDs can be ordered through music retailers across Australia including Readings.

Product details

List price
$25.00 AUD
Total playing time
70 minutes 47 seconds
Sydney Opera House
Release date
© 1979 Australian Broadcasting Corporation
℗ 2008 Move Records
Australian, Classical, Organ
Catalogue number
MD 3030
Alternate catalogue number
EAN 9314574303025