Organs in churches and theatres

(site under construction – contributions welcome
updated on 28/01/02 )

The Esplanade (under construction)

A new 61/63 stop organ will be installed in the concert hall, currently under construction close to the historic heart of Singapore, on the river mouth. Opening of the Theatres by the Bay is expected early 2002.

"The pipe organ will be located at the Concert Hall behind the choir stalls.

It is being designed and constructed by:
Orgelbau Klais Bonn – Johannes Klais Orgelbau GmbH & Co. KG
KôlnstraBe 148 – D-53111 Bonn – Tel: 0228-98240-0 – Fax: 0228-98240-30 or 49-228

It will have 61 stops and 4889 pipes, but as the design is still being finalized, this may change. Approximate size of the pipe organ is 12 m height and 9m wide facade. Approximate cost is $ 3m and the Esplanade is looking for a sponsor who, in return for sponsorship, will have the organ named after him"

Who volunteers ? 

Victoria Concert Hall

Klais organ installed in 1988.

Organist :: Margaret Chen

Sacred- Heart cathedral

Organist : Robert Navaratnam

1984 : Great Pipe Organ restored, enlarged and recommissioned by organ builder and organist Robert Navaratnam.

Saint-Andrew’s cathedral



Margaret Chen

Born in the Philippines to parents of Chinese descent, Margaret Chen started piano lessons at 3. At 14, she began to play the organ. After graduating "Valedictorian" from her high school in the Philippines, and with encouragement from her parents, she began training as a concert organist at Indiana University (Bloomington). While a student at Indiana, she won the American Guild of Organists Midwest Regionals in 1973, the 1974 Gruenstein Memorial Competition in Chicago, and was finalist at the Music Teacher’s National Association "Young Artist Competition" in 1977. In 1978, Indiana University awarded her the prestigious John H. Edwards fellowship for outstanding doctoral candidates. Two years later, she received her Doctor of Music Degree with highest distinction.

Since returning to Asia in 1980, Margaret Chen has lived and worked in Singapore, first as organist-choirmaster of Saint-Andrew’s cathedral, then a lecturer in organ and music history at Singapore Bible College School of Church Music. A founding member of the Singapore Symphony Orchestra‘s (SSO) Ladies’ League, Margaret was honorary consultant and a key fundraiser for the Klais organ installed in the Victoria Concert Hall in 1988. Since then, she has served as honorary organ curator and organist for the SSO. In 1997, she was appointed artistic advisor for music education. In this capacity, she worked closely with the music director in bringing educational programmes to schools and families.

As an organ consultant, Margaret Chen has overseen the selection, purchase, construction, installation and commissioning of the new organ at Dewan Filharmonik Petronas, the home of the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra. A smaller project for the new recital hall of the Chinese University of Hong Kong will be completed in early 2001. Her most important project is the new 63 stop organ to be installed in the concert hall of the Esplanade, Theatres by the Bay in early 2002.

As concert organist, Margaret Chen has performed under the baton of Robert Shaw, Sergio Commissiona, Marek Kudlicki, Charles Webb, Jan Harrington, James Buswell, Francisco Feliciano, Muhai Tang, Okko Kamu and Lan Shui. She has performed and conducted workshops in Southeast Asia, Hong Kong and China as well as in many cities in the United States. Future engagements include the inaugural concert for the new recital hall of the Chinese University in Hong Kong and several recitals in the United States, Germany and the United Kingdom.

October 2000


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