Sydney Town Hall Grand Organ

Sydney Town Hall Grand Organ Photo: jason7825 Courtesy of

The Sydney Town Hall is open to the public again, after closing prior to the coronavirus pandemic. During my childhood I would often visit the Town Hall on school excursions, enjoying concerts by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra - well before the new home of the orchestra moved to the Sydney Opera House.

The Grand Organ was rarely played during my visits, so it was a joy to recently attend a short talk and recital by Titus Grenyer. With his passion, Titus captured our attention, taking us briefly through the illustrious history of the organ, then demonstrating the musicality of the 5 keyboards, replicating flutes, oboes and even the tuba, the numerous pedals as well as the 2 panels of stops.

Grand Organ Console Photo: Greg Piper

English company William Hill and Son manufactured the organ in 1890, which at the time, was the largest organ in the world. A number of prominent organists were invited to test it, including the organist of Westminster Abbey, Dr Bridge, who considered it to be the finest organ ever built by an English organ builder.1

The organ was then dismantled and sent by ship to Sydney and installed in the Sydney Town Hall. The organ case was also designed by William Hill and Son to complement Sydney Town Hall’s architectural character, despite opposition from the city architect who believed the case should be modern in design.1

I think you will agree the organ as we see it today blends beautifully with the architecture of the Sydney Town Hall.

Sydney Town Hall: facade, foyer and Titus Grenyer Photos: Jane

Stretching back behind the organ's majestic facade are 8672 pipes, the smallest of which no more than 10 centimetres in length and three millimetres wide. The largest pipe is 64 ft in length - still among the largest organ pipe in the world.1

Titus explained organists wear special shoes, similar to those worn by dancers - we could see why as Titus rippled across the pedals effortlessly.

Playing the organ involves the hands and feet constantly, so we asked how does he turn pages of the music on his iPad?

Easy - just a wink of the right eye to turn the page forward, or wink the left eye to turn the page back. Ingenious isn’t it? This feature would have many others uses, not just for musicians.

The Grand Organ in the Sydney Town Hall. Photo: Jane

Titus is an accomplished organist, conductor, composer and teacher, bringing accessible, deeply musical, and excitingly modern performances to the city as the organ programmer. He’s also currently the director of music at Our Lady of Dolours Church in Chatswood (in Sydney), the acting director of the St Mary’s Cathedral Singers (also in Sydney) and the creator of Australia’s largest organ YouTube channel, Pep Organ.1

What an illustrious career for a young man in his 20s!

If you would like to read more about Titus, click on the link below.

Titus Grenyer ignites the future of the Sydney Town Hall organ | City of Sydney - News
Titus Grenyer is an accomplished organist, conductor, composer and teacher, bringing accessible, deeply musical, and excitingly modern performances to the city.

In the 3-1/2 min video below listen to the majestic sound of the Grand Organ and view its location within the Sydney Town Hall. Titus also talks about his passion for the organ as a musical instrument and in particular the Grand Organ at the Sydney Town Hall.

I was surprised to hear of his earlier lack of confidence, which he has certainly overcome now. Titus composes organ music as well and we had the pleasure of hearing his piece Discovery - which was mind blowing - a shame I did not have the forethought to record it on my phone, as I could not find it on his YouTube channel, Pep Organ, however if you are interested browse through some of his other works on YouTube.