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Meet the Musicians

PAUL TAYLOR – Organist & Director of Music

Dr Paul TaylorFollowing studies in piano with Isola Harvey and Nancy Sworder, and studies in organ with John Hogan in Bendigo, he majored in organ at Australian Catholic University, studying with Geoffrey Cox. In 1993, Paul completed a Master of Arts degree, specialising in liturgy, at the University of Notre Dame, IN, USA. His Master of Music degree (2000) featured a recital of the eighteen “Leipzig” chorale preludes of J. S. Bach and a thesis on Catholic hymnody in Australia. In 2010, he earned a Doctor of Philosophy degree directed by Dianne Gome at ACU with a dissertation on liturgical chant. From 2012 until 2022, he served a term as Executive Secretary of the Bishops Commission for Liturgy of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference. In addition to his work at Sacred Heart Cathedral, Paul is Assistant Director of the ACU Centre for Liturgy. He has served as an organist at St Francis’ Church and St Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne and sung bass in the choirs of both churches. He was Director of Music at St Patrick’s Cathedral from 2015 until 2019.

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Joanne Bonazza - Cantor, Sacred Heart Cathedral, BendigoMusic has always been part of Joanne’s life. Her earliest memory of music is singing along to the ABC radio with her Mum with whom, in 1980 at age 12, she joined the Sacred Heart Cathedral Choir. The following year she was a recipient in the inaugural round of choir scholarships and quickly became worthy of many opportunities both as Cantor and Soloist. She continued her music ministry at various parishes in Bendigo and Melbourne and has been Cantor at the 8:30 Mass every Sunday since 1998.

Joanne has sung in many choirs, performed in local stage productions, recitals and concerts, weddings and funerals. She gained her A.Mus.A. and L.Mus.A. in Singing with the Australian Music Examinations Board while she undertook general nursing training in Melbourne. She was under the vocal tuition of Mavis Webster MBE, Loris Synan OAM and the very sought after vocal coach, Gary May. Being classically trained, Joanne can quickly adapt to many different genres of music. With over 40 years experience, she is available to assist with the selection of music for weddings and funerals. She also teaches voice from her private studio.



Thomas Heywood 2The internationally renowned Australian organ virtuoso Thomas Heywood enjoys an outstanding reputation as ‘without argument one of the world’s best concert organists whose primary goal is to touch a wide public with music that stirs the soul as much as it stimulates the mind. His technique is impeccable and seemingly limitless. His command of musical style, particularly in large Romantic works, allows him to make them spring to life in the organ’s unique idiom.’ (The American Organist, March 2019).

‘An acknowledged master’, Heywood has travelled over 750,000 miles or 1.2 million kilometres performing solo concerts on the most celebrated pipe organs across the globe. He has an ever-growing repertoire of over 5,000 works and was the first Australian musician in history to live as a professional concert organist.

Also a talented and prolific transcriber, Heywood’s published solo concert organ arrangements of some the most famous music composed over the last 300 years are performed by organists around the world.

Heywood performs regular international solo tours in concert halls, town halls, cathedrals and churches throughout the UK, North America and Europe where German critics have hailed him as the ‘Ironman der Orgel. Der australische Starorganist Thomas Heywood.’

In December 2012 and January 2013, Heywood performed a sold-out solo tour of Russia from the Pacific Coast to Moscow. International solo touring since 2014 has included the UK, Europe, the USA, Hong Kong, New Zealand and South Korea. Since 1994, Heywood has also performed more concerts in Australia than any other organist: to date over 1,750 concerts to over 600,000 people.

Having become the first musician in history to have transcribed the complete Beethoven symphonies for concert organ solo, in 2018 Heywood commenced a major international project to record the complete Beethoven symphonies as a solo artist in a cycle on landmark instruments across the globe. On the completion of this monumental project before 2027, Heywood will become the first musician in history to have transcribed, recorded and performed the complete Beethoven symphonies as a solo artist.

Heywood is also committed to promoting and preserving Australasia’s unique pipe organ heritage. In addition to his work as a concert artist, in 2011 he became the Founding President and Australian National Director of the Australian and New Zealand College of Organists – www.anzco.org.

As a teacher, he is on staff at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music at the University of Melbourne and is Organist of Haileybury in Melbourne, Australia’s largest school, where he established and directs the Organ Scholars Program.

Born into a seventh-generation Melbourne musical family in 1974, Heywood was acknowledged to be a child prodigy giving his first public performance at five after commencing musical studies at the age of four. ‘Australia’s premier organist’ has since performed on thousands of occasions ranging from a celebrated recital in the Sydney Opera House at the age of 17 to touring in venues reading like an encyclopaedia of the world’s most famous organs from Windsor Castle to the largest pipe organ in New York City. Heywood has performed Mozart in Vienna, Tchaikovsky in Moscow, Handel in London and Beethoven in Bonn to both critical and public acclaim.

Heywood’s solo concerts are managed in the USA and Canada by Karen McFarlane Artists and internationally by Concert Organ International – www.concertorgan.com – the company he founded in 1997 with his wife Simone.

Regularly inaugurating new and restored organs since 1993, Heywood has opened many landmark instruments including the largest musical instrument in the southern hemisphere: the Melbourne Town Hall Grand Organ.

Since 1992 when he released Australia’s best-selling organ recording at only 18 years of age, Heywood has also become ‘one of the world’s most prolific organ recording artists’ with over thirty popular sell-out recordings receiving extraordinary praise from critics across the globe. In 2009 Heywood became the first, and remains the only, concert organist in the world to release three commercial recordings from three continents within seven months. His performances have been broadcast internationally on television and radio.

Not confined to the ‘organ world’, Heywood’s performances and success in reaching out to a vast concert-going public ‘have prompted critics to hail him as a reincarnation of Edwin H. Lemare’, the greatest concert organist of the twentieth century.

‘What a stunning player Thomas Heywood is. His flawless technique is just the platform from which truly artistic and memorable performances flow.’
(The Editor’s Choice – Organists’ Review, UK)


JOHN HOGAN - Organist & Director of Music Emeritus

John HoganJohn was the seventh Cathedral Organist and the ninth Director of the Choir. He was the first to be appointed joint Organist & Director of Music and the first lay person appointed Diocesan Director of Sacred Music. He was appointed in 1980 and retired in 2020.

John studied pipe organ with Maestro Sergio de Pieri, orchestral conducting with Robert Rosen and choral conducting with David Willcocks.

Before coming to Bendigo he had been successively assistant organist at St Carthage’s Parkville, then assistant organist at St Joseph’s South Yarra. He was then organist of Sacred Heart (St George’s) Carlton where the renowned Pariah Priest was Rev Dr Percy Jones, and then to Our Lady of Victories Camberwell as both organist and choirmaster. He was also assistant to his teacher Sergio de Pieri at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Melbourne.

John was also Principal Study Organ teacher at the Melba Memorial Conservatorium of Music as well as playing piano, organ and keyboard with the Australia Felix Ensemble frequently recording for the ABC.

In 1986 John was elected to the Fellowship of Australian Composers. One of his sponsors was George Dreyfus. In 2005 he was given a five-line entry in A Dictionary of Composers for Organ, an international publication.

John has given many concerts and worked with many of the world’s leading choir directors at summer schools. He has written many Mass Settings, Motets and set all the Responsorial Psalms for the three-year Lectionary cycle as well as seasonal psalms. He enjoys playing the organ repertoire and specializes in improvisation.

Lunch in Honour of John Hogan’s Retirement as Organist and Director of Music (1980-2020) on Sunday 2 May 2021

Caption: Past and present members celebrate with John Hogan at a luncheon at the All Seasons Motor Inn on Sunday 2 May 2021 in honour of John’s 40 years of dedicated ministry as Organist and Director of Music at Sacred Heart Cathedral, Bendigo (1980-2020).  Photo: Chris McCormack

Acknowledgement of Country
The Diocese of Sandhurst recognises the traditional custodians of the lands upon which we live, serve and worship.
We acknowledge the people of the regions of our Diocese.
We respectfully honour and acknowledge their ongoing custodianship and their connections to the land, waters and animals. We pay our respects to their culture, their Elders, past, present and emerging, for they hold the memories, the traditions, the culture and the hopes of their peoples.
We express our gratitude in the sharing of this land, our sorrow for the personal, spiritual and cultural costs of that sharing and commit ourselves to actively working alongside First Nations People for healing, reconciliation and justice.