Thursday, 9 June 2011, 6:00PM
Barnard's Inn Hall

From Trocadero to Troxy: A tradition returns

Richard Hills, John Abson

Eighty years ago, three enterprising sons of Russian immigrants realised their ambition, to build a palace of dreams on the Old Kent Road. Three years later they followed their dream with another magnificent picture palace, the Troxy on Commercial Road, Stepney.

On the way they collected Europe's largest Wurlitzer pipe organ and a virtuoso organist, a pupil of Max Reger, to play it.

Today, with the Trocadero but a distant memory and its mightiest of Wurlitzers languishing in store, we follow the fascinating history of the brothers, their cinemas, and today's ambitious project to install the Trocadero organ in the Troxy, thereby helping to re-create a 1930's cultural icon of the East End.

For more information about the organ, please click here.
The other lectures in this series on London's Organs include the following:
    How liturgy affected the development of the organ
        (the George Pike organ at St. Margaret, Lothbury)
    The German revolution in English organ technology
        (the Mander Organs restored William Hill organ of St. Mary-at-Hill)

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Richard Hills FRCO is one of the very few musicians to have truly mastered the divide between the world of the classical organ and that of the theatre organ. Having trained under William Whitehead at Kings School Rochester, he became Organ Scholar at Exeter College Oxford, studying with David Sanger. Further organ scholarships followed at Portsmouth Cathedral and Westminster Abbey.   He now pursues a freelance career and is Organist at St Mary's, Bourne Street. His career in the theatre organ world has been equally prestigious. He has numerous prizes and awards to his credit, both in this country and in the USA, where he was named ‘Organist of the Year’ by the American Theatre Organ Society in 2010 in honour of his contribution to the artform. He has appeared many times on national and international radio and TV and has several recording credits. He has a particular interest in the music and playing of Quentin Maclean, legendary organist of the Trocadero Elephant & Castle in the 1930s.

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John Abson has been deeply involved in the technical aspects of theatre pipe organs since the 1970’s. As Technical Officer for the Cinema Organ Society, he has been responsible for the well-being and development of the former Trocadero Elephant & Castle Wurlitzer pipe organ since 1983, as well as directing and advising on numerous theatre organ restorations and installations in this country and abroad.

In 2006, John stood down from his wider role in the Society in order to focus on the project to find a new home for the historic Trocadero Wurlitzer, and now directs the project to restore it and install it in the Troxy, Stepney.

In his professional life, John is an engineer and a Chartered Quality Professional.

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Transcript

9 June 2011

From Trocadero to Troxy: A tradition returns
Richard Hills
John Abson

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