Willis, Henry

▪ British organ maker
born April 27, 1821, London
died Feb. 11, 1901, London

      British organ builder, a meticulous craftsman and designer whose splendid instruments, though limited and perhaps decadent in comparison with the 18th-century German classical organ, were perfectly suited to the music played in England during his time.

      Willis was the son of an organ builder and showed extraordinary inventiveness while still an apprentice. He also learned to play the instrument well and served as a church organist for most of his life; thus, he understood the instrument from a performer's viewpoint. His early instruments, among them a large one for the Crystal Palace of the Great Exhibition (1851), gained him a wide reputation, and thereafter he built or restored perhaps 1,000 church and concert hall instruments, including a number outside England.

      Willis' organs may be called “orchestral” in that they made some use of pipe ranks designed to imitate orchestral instruments and were well suited to the organ arrangements of orchestral works then popular in England. But although they were expressive in the Romantic sense, his organs were also well balanced tonally, with an abundance of traditional, characteristic organ voices. Willis' reed stops were particularly renowned, and the specifications for his instruments included rather more of the critical higher pitched stops and mixtures (stops comprising two or more ranks, or sets, of pipes sounding simultaneously) than was common in his time.

      Willis' sons, Henry II and Vincent, and his grandchildren carried on the family profession, making notable improvements in tone and mechanism.

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Willis Henry Bocock — (1865 1947) was a prominent administrator and professor of Classics at the University of Georgia. One of the highlights of his career was his appointment as the first Dean of the newly formed University of Georgia Graduate School in 1910. Much of …   Wikipedia

  • Henry Willis — Henry Father Willis (* 27. April 1821 in London; † 11. Februar 1901, ebenda) war ein Orgelbauer aus England. Seine Orgeln unterschieden sich grundsätzlich von den deutschen Orgeln. Sein Sohn Henry Willis II und sein Enkel Henry Willis III führten …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Henry Willis (Australian politician) — Henry Willis (6 April 1860 ndash; 23 February 1950) was an Australian politician, born in Port Adelaide, South Australia to English mariner John Willis and Jane, née Emmerson. Having been locally educated, Willis worked at his father s tannery,… …   Wikipedia

  • Willis (surname) — Willis, a variant of the name William, is a surname, and may refer to many people.A* Albert Sydney Willis * Alicia Leigh Willis * Allee Willis * Amrit Kaur Willis * Austin Willis * Ashley Willis * Avery T Willis Jr, American Missionary, AuthorB*… …   Wikipedia

  • Henry Brittan Willis — (1810, Bristol ndash; 17 January 1884, London) was a British painter of landscapes and, particularly, of sheep and cattle. Willis was born in Bristol and worked initially with his father, G. H. Willis, also a landscape painter. In 1842, he… …   Wikipedia

  • Henry Willis — (born: 27 April 1821, London died: 11 February 1901, London) was a British organist turned organ builder. He built thousands of organs, including for famous cathedrals and concert halls around Britain, such as St Paul s Cathedral, Truro Cathedral …   Wikipedia

  • Henry Willis (disambiguation) — Henry Willis is the name of:* Henry Willis (1821 1901), British organ builder * Henry Willis (Australian politician) (1860–1950), Australian politician * Henry Brittan Willis (1810–1884), British painter of landscapes * Henry Parker Willis… …   Wikipedia

  • Willis Bouchey — Dans Je dois tuer (1954) Données clés Nom de naissance …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Henry Ell — Henry George (Harry) Ell (24 September? 1862 27 June 1934) was a New Zealand politician. He is also famous for his conservation work around Christchurch s Port Hills, his advocacy for the Summit Road, and his construction of the Sign of the… …   Wikipedia

  • Willis Avenue Station — U.S. National Register of Historic Places U.S. Historic district Contributing property …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.