The Pipe Organ in China Project Website: Updates for October 2023

1 November 2023

Everything, Everywhere, All at Once. There are many things for The Project to report after a quiet summer.

The main event has been the long-awaited dedication of SHA2023, a three-manual and pedal 34-stop organ in the Cathedral of St. Ignatius Loyola at Zikawei (Xujiahui) in Shanghai. Built by Diego Cera Organ Builders, the installation was planned for 2020; COVID got in the way, leading to over 3 years of delays.

This new organ is closely related to the origins of The Project. The cathedral church itself is the 1910 successor to the first Church of St. Ignatius built in 1847. For this earlier church, Léopold Deleuze and François Ravary eventually built a bamboo organ (SHA1859), their third instrument after the groundbreaking organ for St. Francis Xavier (SHA1857), and the three-rank positive for the son of Napoléon III (SHA1858). In fact, one of the interesting discoveries of the past year has been that the 1847 church survived the Second World War, and may have still stood until the 1960s. The photo (below, looking north), taken from Fr. Thomas F. Ryan’s 1942 book, China Through Catholic Eyes, is an aerial view from the 1930s. The old church, with its Chinese-style lantern, is seen just slightly to the northeast of the 1910 Neo-Gothic Cathedral.

As a result of information shared with The Project by the Tushanwan Museum (which is functioning as a museum for the whole of the Zikawei Jesuit ‘village’), the page for SHA1883 (which was moved to the 1910 cathedral in 1925) has been updated significantly, with new photos, for which The Project is grateful.

The Links page has also been updated with corrected and added links, in particular, a Chinese-language website relating to organ performances and audience development in Taiwan. Prof. Urrows was a guest of Fu Jen Catholic University in Taipei in early October, and gave a lecture on “François Ravary SJ: Missionario musicista in China’s ‘Hidden Century’” on 3 October.

The pages for PEK2003 and TAO2008 have also been updated.

Aerial view of Zikawei, 1930s.

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