Anne Page Organist / Harmonium recitalist
Anne Page began studying the organ in order to play the music of Bach. Born and educated in Perth, Australia, her teacher at the University of Western Australia was Annette Goerke who guided her in the study of Bach and of wider repertoire, particularly the French classical school, Franck, Messiaen and other contemporary composers. Upon winning a scholarship to study in Europe Anne spent two years in the class of Marie-Claire Alain at the Conservatory of Rueil-Malmaison then studied with Peter Hurford in Cambridge. A further two year period with Jacques van Oortmerssen at the Sweelinck Conservatory in Amsterdam brought a deeper awareness of historically informed performance.
Anne made her London debut in the Royal Festival Hall playing works by Jehan Alain, Franz Schmidt and Anton Heiller. The Musical Times wrote: ‘Page’s playing was of the highest order and her handling of the instrument particularly impressive.’ An international recital career followed with visits to the USA, many European countries and Australia. Since the 1980s she has been based in Cambridge where during 2011/12 she performed the complete organ works of Bach on fourteen instruments in eleven chapels and churches.
Since being invited by Peter Hurford to co-teach his organ class at the Royal Academy of Music in the 1980s Anne has had extensive experience of teaching advanced students, including generations of organ scholars at the University of Cambridge. Many former students have become professional organists and hold posts at cathedrals and major churches. She is one of the founders of the Cambridge Academy of Organ Studies which presents study days and summer schools taught by leading UK and international scholars and recitalists.
Developed under the auspices of the British Institute of Organ Studies with Heritage Lottery funding, this project is a major resource for the study of organs in Britain from the 1690s to the early 20th century. It provides online recordings of forty-five historic organs and developed a programme of community events. Several instruments of historic importance were restored as a result of inclusion in the project. Anne played a key role in its development and implementation, and recorded some 10 hours of music for the archive.
Anne has been at the forefront of the revival of interest in this instrument of the Romantic period, which has only recently begun once again to receive serious attention from musicologists, performers and composers. She was invited by the Royal Academy of Music to establish a course in harmonium and has given many recitals across the country and abroad, including a solo recital in the Purcell Room in 2008. Swiss organist Lionel Rogg, whose Bach recordings first inspired her to take up the organ, has dedicated a suite of pieces for harmonium to her.
She has contributed a series of four articles on the harmonium to the Organists’ Review under the title The Expressive Organist; BIOS Journal no.32 published an article on the HOSA: “Quaint and Irrational? A performer’s perspective on the Historic Organ Sound Archive.” These are currently available online here.