Richard Hills will present a evening of originality and surprises!
Richard Hills (Organ)
The main event of the evening will be improvised accompaniment of the iconic film starring Harold Lloyd – Safety Last.
Safety Last was released in America on 1 April 1923. It grossed one-and-a-half million dollars at the box office, and it is the greatest romantic comedy of the silent era; it made Harold Lloyd’s name. From the legendary cinematic misdirection of the opening (in which Lloyd’s impending execution is
revealed to be nothing of the sort) to the iconic scene where Lloyd hangs from a clock face that is about to detach itself from the wall of a skyscraper, Safety Last is touchingly funny throughout. The expert combination of Harold Lloyd’s literally gripping stunts and the inventive organ improvisation by Richard Hills will have Mayfield’s audience mesmerised.
In the first half Richard will put the Walker Organ at St Dunstan’s though its paces. Until he sees the organ and plays it even he will not know what he is going to perform!
Richard Hills is one of the very few musicians truly to have bridged and mastered the divide between the world of the classical organ and that of the theatre organ. Having commenced classical organ studies under William Whitehead at Rochester Cathedral, he became Organ Scholar at Exeter College Oxford, studying with David Sanger. Further organ scholarships followed at Portsmouth Cathedral, where he studied with Rosemary Field and at Westminster Abbey.
He now pursues a freelance career and is Organist at St Mary’s, Bourne Street, London. His career in the theatre organ world has been equally prestigious. He has numerous prizes and awards to his credit, both in this country and in the USA, where he was named ‘Organist of the Year’ in 2010 by the American Theatre Organ Society. He has appeared many times on national and international TV and Radio, including solo appearances on programmes as diverse as Radio 3 Choral Evensong and Radio 2’s ‘Friday Night is Music Night’, and has several recording credits. His most recent solo recording was made on the magnificent dual-purpose Compton organ of Southampton’s Guildhall.
When not on the bench Richard serves as Musical Advisor to the Cinema Organ Society and maintains a practical interest in organ building.