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No K-pop or Taylor Swift for teen who hits the big notes on the pipe organ

On Wednesday night, also at Scots Church, Mr Trotter will give a solo recital featuring music by Bach, Ginastera, Durufle and Mendelssohn.

Anna is as excited as any teen with Beyonce tickets that for the masterclass on Tuesday she will get to play one of her favourite pieces, 19th Century composer Cesar Franck’s Pastorale.

‘‘Obviously Thomas Trotter is quite esteemed and it will be great to see how he interprets the Franck, and how he thinks I play it as well,’’ she said.

Organ-ic learning: Anna Duan with the pipe organ at Scots Church.

Organ-ic learning: Anna Duan with the pipe organ at Scots Church.Credit:Simon Schluter

Anna, who started piano aged five and is studying for her high level piano LMusA diploma, took up organ three years ago so she could play at services at Toorak Uniting Church, where she studies with Jennifer Chou.

Scots Church’s organ has four keyboards, 32 pedals you play like a foot keyboard and 68 ‘‘stops’’ – knobs you pull out that let you experiment with a variety of sounds; it can sound like a trumpet, a flute, strings in an orchestra or tinkling bells.

While some of Anna’s classmates say ‘‘only old people’’ play organ, others think it’s cool and want to try it.

She tries to listen to her friends’ pop music ‘‘so I can have something to talk about’’ but says when she’s with classical music fans, ‘‘there’s so much more to talk about. I could talk about classical music for, like, hours’’.

Mr Trotter sympathises.

When he started learning the organ in Liverpool in the late 1960s, he couldn’t even reach the pedals, but playing it was a ‘‘bigger love’’ than listening to The Beatles and the Rolling Stones.

He loved how you could play organ with your feet as well as your hands. Boys like to make noise, “and you can make a lot of noise on the organ”.

Mr Trotter said pipe organ was not a dying art.

There were fewer players than 50 years ago but standards had improved. Organs are still being made and old ones restored.

‘‘I think there’s a lot to be optimistic about.’’

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