classical music
classical music

William Whitehead, organ

Part of Classical Season 2017/18

William Whitehead performs two Southbank Centre co-commissions to ‘complete’ Bach’s Orgelbüchlein.

The organist’s international performing career took off when he won First Prize at the Odense International Organ Competition in Denmark in 2004.

He is currently curating a major international project to fill in the gaps in Bach’s incomplete Orgelbüchlein by commissioning 118 new compositions. These complement the composer’s original intended collection of 164 chorale preludes.

Tonight’s programme crowns this project with two new compositions.

The evening is rounded off with the mightiest of Liszt’s virtuoso organ solos: the Fantasia and Fugue on ‘Ad nos ad salutarem undam’ (come to us, to the waters of salvation).


William Whitehead organ


Bruhns: Praeludium in E minor (Great)
Orgelbüchlein Project: 5 Selected Pieces:
Errollyn Wallen: Ach, was ist doch unser Leben? (World premiere)
JS Bach: Chorale-prelude, Ich ruf' zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ, BWV.639
Kalevi Aho: Herr Gott, erhalt uns für und für, die reine Katechismuslehr (World premiere)
JS Bach: Chorale-prelude, Heut' triumphiret Gottes Sohn, BWV.630
Thierry Escaich: Gott Vater, der du deine Sonn (World premiere)
Schumann: Mässig, doch nicht zu langsam (No.4); Lebhaft (No.5) from 6 Fugues on the name BACH, Op.60
Parry: Fantasia and Fugue in G, Op.188
Liszt: Fantasia and Fugue on `Ad nos, ad salutarem undam', S.259

Dates & times

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Royal Festival Hall


Booking fee: £3.50 (Members £0.00)

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Related events
Royal Festival Hall at 6.15pm: pre-concert talk. Concert organist William Whitehead and Andrew McCrea, Director of Studies at the Royal College of Organists, discuss the Orgelbuchlein Project. Admission free.

Saturday 21 April, 2pm – 4pm, Royal Festival Hall: Inside Music. Come and hear Royal Festival Hall’s pipe organ and explore how to write for the instrument with concert organist William Whitehead. He is the curator of the Orgelbüchlein Project, an ambitious 'completion' of Bach’s original collection of chorale preludes. This event is held in collaboration with the Royal College of Organists. £10 (See separate event).

Book 2 to 3 events in the International Organ Series in the same transaction and save 10% on tickets, or book 4 events and save 20%.

£7 student tickets are available via the Student Pulse app in the month before this concert. Some of these seats are on the stage. Download the app from any app store or go to