Dr Wells is Auckland City Organist, Organist to the University of Auckland, and Visiting Artist-Teacher (Organ) at the Auckland University School of Music. As City Organist, he instigated the project to rebuild the Auckland Town Hall organ; after ten years of planning and two years’ construction, the new organ was inaugurated on March 21st, 2010.
One of NZ’s most respected and widely-travelled musicians, Dr John Wells was Organ Scholar at King’s College Chapel, Cambridge and received his Doctorate in organ performance with high distinction from Indiana University where he studied under Oswald Ragatz. He maintains a busy schedule as performer, composer and teacher. He is a regular broadcaster on New Zealand radio and has made seven CDs, including NZ’s very first organ disc; he has recorded the whole of Bach’sWell-Tempered Clavier on the organ and has composed The Well-Tempered Piano, thirty preludes and fugues in all the keys.
STOP PRESS – LATEST CD REVIEW
The Critic’s Chair (10/7/11) Presented by Robert Johnson STANFORD: Marcia Eroica Op 189/2; VIERNE: Naiades, from Fantasy Pieces Op 55; BATISTE: Gran Offertoire Op 8; BUXTEHUDE: Prelude in G minor BuxWV149; RATCLIFFE: Caprice; LISZT: Variations on Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen; YAMANOUCHI: Poemes pour Orgue; SOWERBY: Air with variations, from Suite for Organ; WELLS: Kokako Fanfare & March; WOLSTENHOLME: Final in Bb Op 11/2 – John Wells (organ of Auckland Town Hall)(Atoll ACD 641)”I have to declare a degree of bias here: as an Aucklander I have a great affection for our wonderful Town Hall, designed after the old Leipzig Gewandhaus, and it’s been a particular thrill to see and hear the Town Hall organ, which has been lovingly rebuilt by Philipp Klais and his team. For this recital, the Auckland City Organist, John Wells, has chosen a varied collection of works designed to demonstrate a few of the different styles that can be performed to advantage on this magnificent instrument. In John Wells’ own work here, All Pageshe is perhaps less concerned with evoking the mournful character of the kokako’s call than with demonstrating the special qualities of the Koauau and Pukaea stops. Among the 20th-century pieces, I was particularly taken with the American composer Leo Sowerby’s Air with Variations. I hadn’t come across Sowerby before, but I was immediately attracted by his understated brand of impressionism. The centrepiece work by Liszt, written in memory of his eldest daughter who died in childbirth, was chosen partly because 2011 is the 200th anniversary of his birth. John Wells performs brilliantly throughout this recital in a bewildering range of styles, reflecting his own broad tastes and, on occasion, his lively sense of humour. The excellent engineering is by Radio New Zealand’s Adrian Hollay, and this CD makes a perfect introduction to the capabilities of the instrument”
Available at www.aucklandorgan.org.nz