News Column

NY organist plays contemporary compositions

May 18, 2014

By Kathaleen Roberts, Albuquerque Journal, N.M.

May 18--New York concert organist Stephen Tharp will fill St. John's Cathedral with the sounds of contemporary American composers today.

Named International Performer of the Year by the New York City chapter of the American Guild of Organists in 2011, Tharp will play music by Mendelssohn, as well as pieces by George Baker and Leo Sowerby and Anthony Newman's "Le Tombeau d'Igor Stravinsky" or variations on "The Rite of Spring."

"My Sunday concert is largely built around music of our time," Tharp said in an email interview. "Living American composers Anthony Newman and George Baker, enormous performance names of the past 50 years who also compose, have written music for me that I will share and discuss verbally during the concert. There is also a transcription of a band piece composed by Igor Stravinsky originally written for a baby elephant."

Tharp said his childhood church attendance led him to fall in love with the organ. His parents found him a teacher who taught him both organ and piano.

"Both of my degrees centered around both instruments, but the organ won out as I pursued my career," he said.

Having played more than 1,400 concerts across 43 tours worldwide, Tharp has built an international career, earning him the reputation as the most-traveled concert organist of his generation. He also is an active chamber musician across the country, having performed with such artists as Itzhak Perlman and Rachel Barton Pine at Carnegie Hall, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Alice Tully Hall and Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center. In 2008 he was named the Official Organist for the New York visit of Pope Benedict XVI, playing for three major events. He was appointed associate director of music at the Church of Our Saviour in New York in 2013.

Today's concert marks his seventh visit to Albuquerque.

If you go

WHAT: New York concert organist Stephen Tharp

WHEN: 3 today

WHERE: Cathedral of St. John, 318 Silver SW

HOW MUCH: $25/adults; $20/seniors over 65; $10/ students with ID. Call 250-8614


(c)2014 the Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, N.M.)

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Source: Albuquerque Journal (NM)

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