Douglas Lawrence – organist
After completing a Masters Degree in performance at the University of Melbourne, Douglas spent two years with Anton Heiller in the Concert Class at the Vienna Academy and during that time began a concert career which has since taken him throughout most of the Western World. His first important concert was in 1972 on the world’s oldest playable organ in Sion Switzerland. That instrument was built about 1420. Douglas has given concerts there on six subsequent occasions.
He performs each year internationally earning the enthusiastic praise of critics, be it for his organ playing or for his conducting. He has given something over 2,000 concerts as organist, harpsichordist or conductor. Since 1985, he has toured abroad every two years with the Choir of Ormond College (1982 to 2006) or the Australian Chamber Choir (2007 to present).
Recent organ CDs include The Bamboo Organ of Manila and two on the Rieger organ in the Scots’ Church. He has also released several CDs as director of the Choir of Ormond College and the Australian Chamber Choir, some 40 CDs in total.
Amongst several inaugurals Lawrence played the first concerts on the organ of the Sydney Opera House and of Melba Hall at the University of Melbourne. He gave the first solo recital on the organ in Melbourne’s Hamer Hall.
In March 2000 Scots’ Church in Melbourne inaugurated a new 68 stop organ from the famous Austrian builder Rieger. This instrument, designed by Douglas Lawrence is regarded by many eminent European, American and Australasian organists as the finest organ to ever come to Australia.
In Melbourne, Douglas Lawrence is currently Director of Music at The Scots’ Church. He founded and directs the Australian Baroque Ensemble and the Australian Chamber Choir. He teaches organ for the Conservatorium of Music at the University of Melbourne.
Douglas Lawrence has appeared as soloist for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation series, youth concerts, Contemporary series and as soloist with the orchestras on television and radio. He gives duo concerts with his wife, harpsichordist Elizabeth Anderson.
Douglas Lawrence is much sought after as a judge in organ playing and choral competitions and his opinion is highly regarded in the field of organ design for churches and concert halls.
In 1992 he was awarded an Order of Australia for services to music.
As organist or conductor Douglas Lawrence has given something over 70 first performances and commissioned many new works. This activity continues unabated with new works scheduled for premiering each year.Positions held are:
Artistic Director, Australian Chamber Choir (2007 to present)
Artistic Director, Southern Grampians Promenade of Sacred Music (2004-present)
Director of Music, The Scots’ Church, Melbourne (1998 to present)
Teacher of Organ, Conservatorium of Music, University of Melbourne (1976-present)
Master of the Chapel Music, Ormond College, University of Melbourne (1982-2006)
Artistic Director, Melbourne International Festival of Organ and Harpsichord (1976-85)
Lecturer in Church Music, United Faculty of Theology
Teacher of organ, Australian Catholic University