Berwickshire High School pupil enjoys tutorial from world-renowned organ virtuoso at Marchmont House

Berwickshire High School pupil, Calum Landon with organ virtuoso, Thomas Trotter. (Photo: Robert Landon).
Berwickshire High School pupil, Calum Landon with organ virtuoso, Thomas Trotter. (Photo: Robert Landon).

Berwickshire High School pupil, Calum Landon (13) enjoyed a special tutorial from one of the world’s leading concert organists, Thomas Trotter, last Wednesday as part of celebrations to mark the centenary of Marchmont House’s majestic concert organ and Music Room.

The unique one-to-one session saw Calum, who has played piano for six years and recently began organ lessons, learn new techniques from Trotter on the 100-year old Marchmont organ, which has just undergone an 18-month restoration.

Comprising 1,962 pipes, the instrument is housed behind an elegant wooden screen designed by celebrated Scottish architect and furniture designer Sir Robert Lorimer, a leading exponent of the Arts and Crafts movement who completed a makeover of Marchmont House in 1919, and who designed the Music Room.

Following the tutorial, Thomas Trotter, who has given recitals at the Berlin Philharmonie, the Konzerthaus Vienna and at London’s Royal Festival Hall, performed a special centennial concert to a packed audience of over 130 people to mark the organ’s 100 years of music making.

Both the tutorial and the concert were organised by Marchmont Farms Director, Hugo Burge, as part of efforts to enable music lovers and the local community to celebrate, share and be inspired by the craftsmanship and creativity on display within the historic house.

The event was supported by sponsors Bruce Stevenson Insurance Brokers and Champagne Deutz as well as a number of ‘Local Hero’ businesses which have been involved in Marchmont’s 10-year restoration project. These include Billy Cowe, Painters and Decorators from Foulden, joiners G&J Waddell from Greenlaw, architects and surveyors, Richard Amos from Duns, stonemasons Sandy McLean from Greenlaw, and chartered surveyors Smith & Garratt, from Ladykirk.

Hugo Burge, Director of Marchmont Farms Ltd, owners of Marchmont House, said; “It was magnificent to hear the Marchmont organ played by someone of Thomas Trotter’s immense talent and wonderful to see the Music Room filled with an audience enjoying both the music and their stunning Arts and Crafts surroundings. We were also extremely pleased to be able to offer one of the region’s young people the chance to be taught by a world-class organ virtuoso.

He continued: “We’re also extremely grateful to the companies who made this event possible through their support and who play a hugely significant role in our efforts to establish Marchmont as a home for makers and creators, celebrating creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship. They include many who have worked on the restoration of the house and who are obviously proud to be involved in the Marchmont journey. We want to thank each of them for their support.”

The recital was part of a programme of special events which the Directors of Marchmont House hope will showcase creativity and craftsmanship in many spheres and celebrate and encourage the work of makers and creators in the arts and business. Events held to date include a sculpture workshop featuring some of Scotland’s leading contemporary artists, tours of the sculptures at Marchmont House, a special event showcasing contemporary makers who work with wood, and a celebration of the work of architect and furniture-maker Ernest Gimson, one of the most influential designers of the Arts and Crafts movement.

A programme of house tours also shares an insight into the architecture and craftsmanship of the house itself, in addition to its collections of art dating from 1460 to the present day.