We are delighted to have been commissioned to reconstruct the organ of Leeds Town Hall. In what will be one of the most significant concert organ projects of recent times, the instrument will retain the façade and about half the pipework of the present organ, but will otherwise be entirely new. The aim of the work is to create a modern and versatile concert organ for the city of Leeds, with an inspiring musical character that reflects the organ’s majestic appearance. The organ will have 104 speaking stops, with six manual divisions (three of which will be enclosed) playable from a four-manual console. The specification has been drawn up in consultation with the city organist Darius Battiwalla.
The present organ was built by Gray & Davison in 1858, rebuilt by Abbott & Smith in 1905 with a move towards a more opaque sound, and then rebuilt again and reduced in size in 1972 by Wood, Wordsworth & Co. in a radical three-manual scheme that sought to emphasise clarity and brilliance.
The reconstruction of the organ forms part of a wider building refurbishment project by Leeds City Council that began in 2019. The present instrument will be played publicly for the final time in October 2021 before being dismantled, to include taking down the 32′ facade pipes for the first time since 1858. The facade pipes are to be repainted in a copy of their original decorative scheme, hidden since the 1950s. Completion of the new organ is scheduled for November 2023. The consultant for the project is Dr William McVicker.