Mourners in tribute to a master of the organ

Broadway 24, UK
Feb 4 2005

Mourners in tribute to a master of the organ
[email protected]

Jonathan Marciano

TRIBUTES have been paid to one of Muswell Hill’s best-loved music

Felix Aprahamian’s funeral took place last Friday at St Marylebone
Crematorium, East Finchley, with carefully chosen speeches and music.

Guests such as music expert John Amis, baritone Gordon Honey, and
classical singer Danny Gillingwater spoke of the organist’s
contribution to the world of music.

Mr Aprahamian, who lived in Methuen Park for 85 years, was a
self-taught musician.

Guests at his funeral spoke of his enormous influence in musical
circles and remembered his enthusiasm, talent and his campaign to
save the Alexandra Palace organ.

Mr Aprahamian was born in London on June 5, 1914, the son of an
Armenian carpet dealer. The family moved to the Methuen Park home on
January 1, 1919.

Mr Aprahamian’s organ, inherited from the organist André Marchal, was
regularly used by his protégé, the blind organist David Liddle, who
also performed at the funeral.

Mr Aprahamian also encouraged young artists to practise at his house
and is remembered for holding parties with musical accompaniment.

Most recently Mr Aprahamian led the campaign to save the Alexandra
Palace organ, which the then Greater London Council was proposing to

This became a much greater challenge when it was badly damaged by
fire in 1980.

Mr Liddle said: “Felix would take visitors on sixpenny tours of the
organ at Ally Pally in 1929. He then became committed to restoring
the organ.

“More than that, he was my music mentor. He took me to Paris and
introduced me to the greatest organists and teachers.

“He has done similar things for many young musicians. He changed my
life and changed the life of everyone who met him.”

Mr Aprahamian attended Tollington High school, and became interested
in the organ, taking lessons in Crouch End.

He became a master of the instrument, counting among his friends
organist William Lloyd Webber, father of Andrew and Julian.

The funeral, attended by more than 150 people, began with a slow
movement from Rachmaninov’s 2nd Symphony as mourners arrived.

The coffin was brought in to an extract from Delius’s Mass of Life.

The last voice heard was an extract of Mr Aprahamian’s discussion on
Desert Island Discs about music’s appeal to the heart and head.

Mr Aprahamian died on January 15. He was unmarried.