Matching organ repertoire to a particular instrument is a challenging and rewarding endeavor. I especially enjoy finding a theme that connects a wide variety of pieces. Here are sampling of concert programs I have performed recently.
Reflections of Light
The concept for my debut recording, this program uses Philipp Nicolai’s beloved chorale “How brightly shines the morning star” as a frame for an eclectic sampling of works related to the theme of light. Settings of Nicolai’s chorale by Heinrich Reimann and Dirck Sweelinck stand side by side evocative contemporary works by Judith Bingham, Eunyong Kim, and Ad Wammes.
Reflections of Light CD booklet
“Time, Like an Ever-Rolling Stream”
Our thoughts turn to the notion of time frequently over the course of our day. We note the passing of time whenever we check our watch (or more likely, our phone), or hear a clock or set of bells intone the hour. This program explores music with a connection to the concept of time: Vierne’s Carillon de Westminster is followed by Andante in F Major for musical clock by Mozart, Arvo Pärt’s Annum per Annum, and ostinato pieces by Wammes, Rheinberger and/or Bach that explore the idea of cycle. The program notes reinforce that life is a precious gift and how we choose to spend our time is a reflection of what we value.
Sample program–St. James Episcopal Church Los Angeles
The Art of Variation
Variation is a concept as old as the organ. For centuries, organists and composers have explored variety of compositional technique in polyphonic genres, and variety of color, texture, and character in theme-and-variation sets. I initially developed this theme to explore the myriad registration possibilities of the seventeenth-century repertoire on historic organs but have expanded it to include nineteenth and twentieth-century ostinato pieces and variation sets for modern organs.
Sample program–Cornell University
Music of Women Composers
This program lifts up music of the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries by female composers including Jeanne Demessieux, Judith Bingham, Ethel Smyth, Lili Boulanger, and Elsa Barraine. One successful iteration of this program involved collaboration with my colleague, soprano Janet Brown, and included an accompanying slide show.
Sample program–Syracuse University
The 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago was a seminal moment in American organ culture, as it was the first high-profile concert series dedicated to the organ as a solo instrument in the United States. Clarence Eddy curated the series and Alexandre Guilmant made his American concert debut. This program explores music performed at this event, including works by Bach, Mendelssohn, Buck, Chopin, and Guilmant.
Sample program–OHS convention Philadelphia
All Roads Lead to Rome
In the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, Rome was an important center of music-making, largely due to the wealthy patrons that resided there. I developed this program for the Italian Baroque organ at the Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester, NY, an instrument I have performed on dozens of times, first as a graduate student and later as instructor. This program works well on Italian-inspired instruments but can be expanded to work on larger tracker instruments.
Sample program–Sonoma State University