Aka Reductio - from Organ Scholar to Tik-Tok trend
After studying Classics and being an Organ Scholar at Homerton College, Matt Walters has found a new role championing organ music for a new generation of listeners.
Once the preserve of religious music in cathedrals and churches, the organ has a traditional and classical heritage. However, Homerton alumni Matt Walters is keen to bring organ music to a new young audience. Last weekend, he performed a concert of organ music at Wells Cathedral in aid of the restoration of the organ. However, all is not quite as it seems as Matt, Aka Reductio, has been shaking up the world of classical organ music with his classical-dance music re-mixes and has become a bit of Tik-Tok sensation.
Matt learnt to play the organ whilst at Downside Abbey School, where he still plays as his family live locally. He started learning the piano whilst at school, but in Year 9 his music teacher joked that his ability at playing football might mean he would have the necessary co-ordination to be talented at playing the organ, a prediction which turned out to be correct.
Matt continued to play both the organ and football at Homerton and now gives regular performances experimenting with combining dance tracks from the 80’s and 90’s with more traditional favourites. A particular favourite is the Robert Myles’ track Children.
Matt loves the versatility and majesty of organ music especially in a cathedral space, as a big organ has a similar capability of a whole orchestra. Matt’s audiences say that they find organ music has emotional resonance and is very atmospheric. He wants people to see the organ in a new light and feels that there are great capabilities for the organ music beyond the classical tradition. Matt felt that dance tracks evoke a similar emotional connection for younger audiences and so he wanted to experiment with what they might sound like on the organ.
In his performances at Wells Cathedral and elsewhere, Matt likes to include classic, dance and film music and his favourite piece of classical music is Mozart’s Requiem “because it is epic and evokes a wide and range of powerful emotions.” Matt has also experimented with remixing dance tracks with Handel’s Zadok the Priest which is traditionally associated with the coronation, to make classical music more accessible.
He is also a particular fan of film composer Hans Zimmer, known for epic scores for Pirates of the Caribbean, Gladiator and Inception. He often performs some of his own compositions as well. Matt encourages audience participation in his concerts he asks them to pick a two-bar phrase and then he will compose something on the spot.
Matt has used Tik-Tok as a platform for trying out different music soundscapes and his feed features organ versions of The Weeknd and Kate Bush among others. Tik-Tok has enabled him to build his profile; a following which might have taken years to build up has been created in a matter of months. In the future he would like to perform more nationally and hopes to work with music venues as an associate artist.
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