Today: May 29, 2024

Organ Reframed Gets Filmic

The third annual Organ Reframed, returns to Union Chapel with a truly experimental approach to this culturally important instrument. The only festival of its kind in the UK Organ Reframed focuses on commissioning innovative new music and introducing new artists and audiences to how versatile this instrument is.  The two-day international festival will invigorate this remarkable instrument and embed it in the music of the 21st century.

Running from the 12th to 13th October the 2018 festival will see nine world premieres of cutting edge new works from composers at the forefront of contemporary music. With a mixture of film, music and sound art, the festival will conclude with a landmark performance of a new work by Éliane Radigue – widely regarded as one of our greatest living composers and a pioneer of experimental music.

The opening night of Organ Reframed will feature a special screening of Visions In Meditation, a collection of short films by the legendary experimental filmmaker Stan Brakhage. The dreamlike silent films, often described as visual music, will be interwoven with three new works from electronic artists, whose aesthetics resonate with Brakhage’s work. Philip Jeck, Sarah Davachi and Darkstar will perform their new works alongside James McVinnie on organ (recent collaborations include Nico Muhly, Martin Creed, Bryce Dessner) and the London Contemporary Orchestra (Radiohead, Frank Ocean, Steve Reich, Actress, Beck)

Saturday evening’s programme opens with a new piece from one of Hollywood’s most sought after film composers, Hildur Guðnadóttir, currently making headlines as the newly signed composer for the upcoming film Joker with Joaquin Phoenix, making her the first woman to compose a score for a live-action DC Comics film. Previous scores include Sicario: Day Of The Soldado and Mary Magdalene. Hildur has also released four critically acclaimed solo albums on touch and written widely for theatre and dance. Hildur will be performing her new work live with James McVinnie and the London Contemporary Orchestra Soloists.

The second half of Saturday evening is nothing short of a historic event for contemporary music. Éliane Radigue, a pioneer of musical evolution since the 1960’s, has composed her first work for organ, which will be performed by Frédéric Blondy. After the performance there will be a screening of a short documentary of Éliane working on the commission which will afford attendees a rare glimpse into her artistic process.

A staple of the Union Chapel calendar, Daylight Music curated by Arctic Circle combines an eclectic programme of music with a magical atmosphere every Saturday from noon. A special edition for Organ Reframed will feature multi-instrumentalist Terry Edwards (PJ Harvey, Spiritualised, Nick Cave) joined by Seamus Beaghen (Iggy Pop, Death In Vegas, Morrissey), plus performances from singer-songwriter Douglas Dare and electropop keyboard player, singer and producer Deerful.

Ahead of both Friday and Saturday evening concerts, festival partners Spitfire Audio will present panel discussions on Composer Insights with Emmy award winner composer Michael Price (Sherlock) and more to be announced.

Throughout the weekend, attendees to any of the Organ Reframed events will also get to enjoy a special sound installation by Kathy HindeExhale, is inspired by the impressive bellows that provide pressured air for the Union Chapel organ and uses mechanical bellow systems to resonate acoustic sound making devices.

Organ Reframed is curated by composer and Music Director of the organ at Union Chapel, Claire M Singer, whose recent albums Solas and Fairge, released on Touch, received wide acclaim. Working closely with the highly sought after London Contemporary Orchestra she has created a unique festival at Union Chapel, Islington’s magnificent cultural venue and home to one of the finest organs in the world.

Curator of Organ Reframed, composer Claire M Singer said of the festival: “I’ve been writing and performing with the organ experimentally for over ten years now. Knowing what an incredible instrument it is and the scope of what is possible the idea behind the festival is to commission artists to write new music for it, broadening the current repertoire and pushing the boundaries of experimental music. It seems that most people associate the organ with church or classical music and the festival is about showing that it is a hugely versatile instrument, in fact it can be thought of as the world’s first synthesiser and can be incorporated into many different genres of music. To have the opportunity to build on the organ’s rich history and bring it to the attention of a new generation is incredibly exciting”.

Festival Schedule 12th – 13th October:
Friday 12th and Saturday 13th, 17:00, Spitfire Audio Composer Insights, £5
Friday 12th, 18:30, Visions in Meditation, tickets from £8.50
Saturday 13th, 12 noon, Daylight Music, pay-what-you-can
Saturday 13th, 18:30, Éliane Radigue and Hildur Guðnadóttir, tickets from £8.50
Friday 12th and Saturday 13th, Exhale, free for attendees to all Organ Reframed events

Tickets on sale now at:

Paula Hammond - Features Editor

Paula Hammond is a full-time, freelance journalist. She regularly writes for more magazines than is healthy and has over 25 books to her credit. When not frantically scribbling, she can be found indulging her passions for film, theatre, cult TV, sci-fi and real ale. If you should spot her in the pub, after five rounds rapid, she’ll be the one in the corner mumbling Ghostbusters quotes and waiting for the transporter to lock on to her signal… Email:

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