© 2024 - Michael Wooldridge
A Brief Overview of Michael’s Career

Introducing Michael Wooldridge

Michael is one of England’s top electronic and theatre organists, launching his career at the age of fifteen by winning the ATOS UK Young Theatre Organist of the Year Competition in 1980 and then receiving the coveted Ian Sutherland Memorial Award from the Cinema Organ Society of Great Britain in 1984. Michael has made countless appearances on BBC Radio 2, both on The Organist Entertains, and also broadcasting the Virtual Theatre Pipe Organ live on air to 5-million listeners on the Steve Wright In The Afternoon Show. He plays concerts on most of the Mighty Cinema Organs around the UK, and is Resident Organist on Europe's largest Wurlitzer organ, the magnificent 4/32 East Sussex National Wurlitzer. He has been privileged to deputise at the controls of the 5-manual Compton at the world famous Odeon Leicester Square for a couple of film premieres, one in the presence of His Royal Highness Prince Charles and to appear in a sell-out concert at Bournemouth's Pavilion Theatre with the world renowned Mantovani Orchestra, now run by the great leader's son. Recent highlights have included leading a modern-day pop singalong for a family audience of 1,000 New Year's Eve revellers from the controls of the Worthing Wurlitzer and, at the same instrument, playing the organ part in the Saint-Saëns Organ Symphony with the Worthing Symphony Orchestra in an edited version to an enthusiastic audience of 700 children in a special inspirational morning school's concert for 8 to 12 year olds, where the star of the show became the solo Wurlitzer feature, and the full version of the same piece to 850 concert goers that evening. Outside of the UK, Michael has played theatre organ concerts in Holland, Germany, Switzerland and Australia and, in bands, has worked in Ireland and Dubai. He has worked as concert artiste playing pianos, organs and keyboards for Yamaha, Hammond and Wersi. These days a rare talent, Michael has mastered the art of accompanying silent films and, besides sometimes slotting a comedy short into his concerts, has played for other silent film events both in the UK and in Holland and for two consecutive summers has topped the bill accompanying the annual International Silent Film Festival held at the Babylon Cinema in Berlin, Germany. He very much enjoys leading small bands and orchestras, providing jazz nights and also playing in theatres, where he has produced and musically directed countless musicals, touring shows, summer seasons and pantomimes. Michael feels extremely privileged to have worked with many of the stars he grew up admiring on television, including Supersonic Syd Little, Crackerjack and Good Morning Sunday's Don Maclean, Stu Francis, stars of the Black and White Minstrel Show, pianist Bobby Crush and, from Ireland, the hilarious Jimmy Cricket and Eurovision Song Contest winner, Dana. He has worked in cabaret with master magician, Paul Daniels and, to a crowd of over 2,000 caravaners and in summer season, with his superbly talented son, Martin Daniels. When not on tour Michael is pleased to share his experience to bring out the best in others through teaching. He is Principal Tutor to both the Rye Wurlitzer Academy, teaching Rye College students on the UK's second oldest Wurlitzer, and the Theatre Pipe Organ Preservation Society Academy at Robertsbridge. He spent three years working as Electronic Organ Instructor to the University of Sussex and has a number of private pupils. He was invited to became a Trustee of The London and South of England Chapter of the American Theatre Organ Society specifically to re- launch the UK Young Theatre Organist of the Year Competition, an event which he has given new life to with great success and, over the last few years, has produced winners from Rye, Barrow-In-Furness, Hull and Glasgow, all helped to one degree or another by Michael and ATOS UK. He gives private lessons to regular students and one off coaching sessions for enthusiasts. Alongside his performances and teaching, Michael has taken over as publisher of the popular ‘Keyboard Cavalcade’ magazine, continuing its long-held tradition of supporting the world of keyboards, organs and digital pianos, whilst also bringing in more content to read, which has been well received. He also now runs the Cavalcade Music Festivals, the ultimate Hobby Holidays! If you would like to see a past issue, subscribe to the free E-Newsletter, subscribe or see more about the holidays, visit www.CavalcadeProductions.co.uk More recently, he has taken over running OrganFax, the UK’s leading on-line resource for information relating to keyboards, organs and digital pianos, with the most up to date comprehensive list of players and venues. To visit the site go to www.OrganFax.co.uk