Experience the majestic sounds of Joseph Nolan’s ‘The Vierne Project’ on Melbourne’s Grand Organ

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by Sarah Halfpenny

Embark on a once-in-a-lifetime musical journey as internationally acclaimed organist Joseph Nolan graces the Melbourne Town Hall this winter, with an extraordinary series of free performances from 18-28 July.

Hailed as “One of the great organists of our time” by ABC Radio National, Joseph Nolan will present ‘The Vierne Project’, an exceptional event showcasing the complete organ symphonies of Louis Vierne, the celebrated French composer.

Joseph Nolan has performed in some of the world’s most prestigious venues including Buckingham Palace and the Sydney Opera House, and he appears as a soloist with many major orchestras around the world, including the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.

“This is a rare opportunity for Melburnians to hear the epic organ symphonies of Notre Dame’s most famous organist, Louis Vierne, in one week,” said Joseph Nolan, who is eagerly anticipating the event. “I’m really looking forward to returning to Melbourne and playing the Town Hall’s Grand Organ. It’s simply awesome; a magnificent instrument,” he added.

Louis Vierne’s symphonies are known for their complexity, virtuosity, and emotional depth, and they’ve been skilfully interpreted by Nolan. Vierne served as the Principal Organist at Notre Dame Cathedral for an astonishing 37 years, but tragically met his fate while performing one of his compositions during a public recital. The Vierne Project aims to revitalise his remarkable organ music, which is seldom heard due to its difficulty and complexity.

The Melbourne Town Hall’s historic Grand Organ, considered one of the world’s finest instruments, will be the vessel through which the magic of Vierne’s symphonies comes alive. Originally built in 1929, the organ boasts an impressive capacity, utilising ninety thousand cubic feet of air every minute to create a diverse range of sounds – from delicate whispers to thunderous crescendos.

Following a meticulous restoration in 2001, the Grand Organ stands as a testament to its storied past and enduring beauty. With nearly eight thousand pipes, drums, and bells across three levels, this magnificent instrument is ready to showcase its immense power once again.

Gather your friends and family for a unique day out in the city where you’ll be transported by the mesmerising soundscapes and sheer magnificence of this rare event.

The Vierne Project will consist of six performances over five days:

Tuesday 18 July at 1pm                      Symphony No.1

Thursday 20 July at 1pm                     Symphony No.2

Monday 24 July at 1pm                      Symphony No.3

Monday 24 July at 7pm                      Symphony No.5

Wednesday 26 July at 1pm                Symphony No.4

Friday 28 July at 1pm                          Symphony No.6

Find more information about this FREE event here – no bookings are required to attend – and be a part of an unforgettable musical journey.

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