David Johnston OAM

On 12th August, 2018 at 2pm Internationally renowned organist David Johnston OAM, accompanied by historic footage from the golden years of Television, presented Sixty Years of Television. David featured the Mighty Karrinyup Wurlitzer Organ in this nostalgic presentation.


David Johnston OAM, was for many years resident organist on the Wurlitzer organ in the Dendy Theatre in Brighton. A long tenure at the Naughty Nineties nightclub has seen David emerge as the consummate entertainer.
David began by listening to his father’s collection of organ records, David developed a love of organs and organ music, especially that of “theatre” organs – traditional pipe organs capable of playing ‘popular’ music.
Possessing the ability to hear a song on the ‘wireless’ and immediately play it on the piano, he reluctantly took a few organ lessons from his father, which was only an excuse to get access to the church organ so that he could practice his ‘popular’ style of organ playing when no one was listening.
A chance opportunity to play an electronic organ in a nearby cinema – the Dendy Theatre, Brighton – led to a long association with that cinema, playing many different organs, including the historic Wurlitzer organ from the Capitol Theatre, Melbourne.
For over twenty years David was Organist and Musical Advisor to the “Carols by Candlelight” at Melbourne’s  ‘Sidney Myer Music Bowl’, Musical Director of the ‘Naughty Nineties’ and ‘John Hancock’s’ theatre restaurants, advisor and contributor to the “Young Organists’ Association”, whilst embarking on and extensive concert career, performing in major venues throughout Australia New Zealand and the USA.
His love of theatre and theatre organs introduced him to the world of the silent movie, and he is considered to be Australia’s finest exponent of accompanying these movies. He has composed and recorded several scores for early Australian silent movies restored by ScreenSound Australia.
On January 26th 2009 (Australia Day) David was awarded the Order of Australia Medal –  “For service to music and the community, particularly through organ performances, installations and restorations and fundraising events”.
Here is a vintage television clip of David being interviewed by Charles Stewart for a Channel 9 Breakfast Show with host Steve Liebmann.

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