Victoria Organ Studio
Founded by Mark McDonald in 2021, the Victoria Organ Studio brings together teachers and students from around Vancouver Island to share experiences and learn the craft of organ playing together. The studio meets regularly for masterclasses, organ visits, and other training initiatives.
Past Initiatives & Collaborations
One Equall Musick
The vocal ensemble One Equall Musick is a community of musicians in Montreal that works collectively to program, rehearse, and perform music of the highest quality from the 15th century to the present day. Mark McDonald served as Interim Artistic Director in 2018-19 and appears as a frequent collaborator.
Bengt Hambraeus' Livre d'orgue: Critical Explorations & Revisions
The Livre d’orgue (1980/1) by composer and former McGill professor Bengt Hambraeus (1928–2000) is a collection of pieces written for Hellmuth Wolff’s groundbreaking organ built in 1981 for McGill University’s Redpath Hall. The collection, consisting of 48 pieces arranged in four suites, draws inspiration from the 18th century French classical Livre d’orgue tradition and includes detailed organ registrations for the Redpath Hall organ based on Dom Bédos de Celles’ treatise on organ-building and registration L’art du facteur d’orgues (1766, 1770, and 1778). The organ registrations are vital to the performer’s interpretation since they serve both as a guide for performing the music at the original Redpath Hall instrument and for expanding our knowledge of Hambraeus’ interpretation of French classical registration practices. For the performer, some distinct problems arise when interpreting these registrations at the Redpath Hall organ. For one, Hambraeus’ registrations, which were conceived away from the organ in the months prior to its completion, do not necessarily reflect the reality of the finished instrument. Additionally, the Redpath Hall organ has undergone a number of subtle but noteworthy changes in its voicing that must be considered when interpreting the registrations today. These, along with occasionally missing or incorrect markings in the score, required reflection and comment. My solution was to complete a careful analysis and review of the organ registrations in the Livre d’orgue in order to provide a more accurate and refined presentation of the pieces for future performers. This paper presents the findings of my research using examples from the 48 pieces in the collection corroborated by source material from the 18th century treatises on French organ registration. I also cite my research on the history of the construction and subsequent modifications to the organ in Redpath Hall and include an overview of Hambraeus’ other organ music.