The Pipe Organ in China Project Website: Updates for December 2020.

31 December 2020

The Project has received news that a contract has been let for a new pipe organ for the Cathedral of St. Ignatius Loyola at Zikawei (Xujiahui) in Shanghai. This three-manual organ will be the first instrument specifically built for the 110-year-old cathedral church, which was completed in 1910. In 1925, a second-hand Walker (SHA1883a), originally built for Holy Trinity (Anglican) Cathedral, was renovated by Harrison and Harrison and reinstalled at St. Ignatius. The fate of this organ is not known, but it was presumably destroyed in August 1966 at the start of the Cultural Revolution, if not earlier. The new pipe organ will be the first major installation in a Shanghai church since before 1949. Further details will be forthcoming.

Prof. Urrows contributed a post to What’s New on Hong Kong organ enthusiast Peter Cheung Pei-tak (張彼得). Cheung was the author of a 1975 book, Pipe Organs, Electronic Organs, and Church Organists (管風琴, 電子風琴, 與 教堂琴師, Hong Kong: E.C.F. Sheng Tao Press, 1975). This slim book also includes Cheung’s account of seeing an organ with bamboo pipes in Fuzhou in 1931, possibly one of the small bamboo organs built in Shanghai by François Ravary and Léopold Deleuze in the 1850s and 1860s. (see Keys to the Kingdom, p. 272, and What’s New for 11 September 2018.

A new photo has been added to CAN1995b, contributed by one of Prof. Urrows’ erstwhile students, and for which we are grateful.

Our attention was drawn to the organization of a new group dedicated to the history and organ culture of Indonesia, Organis Indonesia. They have a Facebook page and an Instagram account (both with text only in bahasa indonesia), but no website of their own. The link to the Facebook page has been added to the Links. The main organ of interest seems to be a ca. 1841-43 Bätz organ, originally built for the Willemskerk in Batavia, as Jakarta was then known. Jonathan Bätz (1787-1849) was a Dutch organbuilder based in Utrecht. Another surviving organ from his workshop was sent to the Dutch possession of Surinam in South America in 1835.

Photo of the Month (below): Bliss Wiant (1895-1975) and the choir of Yenching University, photographed at the Grand Hotel de Pékin in December 1936 after a performance of Messiah. Note the harmonium and piano (or is it another harmonium?) used to accompany the choir, and only three soloists (this was presumably a performance with cuts).

A Merry Christmas to all our friends (as merry as you can…) and we all look forward with expectation to a better 2021.


Organs in the Census: 192

One year-to-date hits: 12,163

Hits since launch (June 2108): 24, 355