Cameron Carpenter, Organist

Cameron Carpenter, Organist

Biography from his facebook page: Cameron Carpenter– “the most controversial organist alive” (Dallas Morning News) – is “one of the rare musicians who changes the game of his instrument” (The Los Angeles Times) with performances that are “alternatingly dazzling and subtle, and always fired by a profound musical intelligence” (The Wall Street Journal). Cameron challenges the ways in which the organist is promoted and the organ is played. His repertoire includes the complete organ works of Bach, Franck and Liszt, but he has adapted more than 200 works not for the organ: from the piano music of Liszt and Rachmaninoff to Debussy’s Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun and Mahler’s Fifth Symphony, to music from animé and film (Howl’s Moving Castle, Spirited Away, and scores by John Williams and Bernard Herrmann), and re-imaginings of songs by Kate Bush, Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan and Annie Lennox. Bringing increased physicality to the organ as a former dancer, his supervirtuosic organ transcriptions of Chopin Études have led to comparisons as diverse as Vladimir Horowitz and Fred Astaire. Cameron’s embrace of fashion on the concert stage includes concert wear of his own design. His original compositions are published by Edition Peters. Cameron was a child prodigy who performed Bach’s complete Well-Tempered Clavier at age 11 before touring as a boy soprano with the American Boychoir for two years. He graduated from The Juilliard School in 2006 and lives in Berlin with his cat, Kittyball.

Revolutionary Etude: Frederick Chopin / Cameron Carpenter
Evolutionay Toccata & Fugue: J. S. Bach / Cameron Carpenter
Carmen Variations: Bizet / Vladimir Horowitz / Cameron Carpenter


From Wikapedia: Cameron Carpenter (born 1981 as Taylor Cameron Carpenter) is an American organist known for his virtuosity, showmanship, technique and arrangements for the organ.

Carpenter has bachelor’s and master’s degrees from The Juilliard School in New York, having studied with Gerre Hancock, John Weaver, and Paul Jacobs. Though he is not religious, Carpenter was from 2008 to 2009 the artist-in-residence at Middle Collegiate Church in New York’s East Village, where he played a four-manual virtual pipe organ that he designed for the broad ranging music of that church. Carpenter ended his residency in July 2009.

A champion of virtual pipe organs, Carpenter has been referred to as “extraordinary”,”the most controversial organist in the world” and “meshing virtuosity with musical intelligence” while also attracting criticism.

Carpenter has been both criticized by some and praised by others for his unorthodox interpretations of the standard organ repertoire. Registrations rarely follow those suggested by the composer, and Carpenter often takes dramatic liberties in articulation. Carpenter is also noted for his advocacy of the digital organ, particularly development of a touring virtual pipe organ, citing factors such as the obstacles the pipe organ imposes on the ability of a traveling performer to enjoy an ongoing relationship with a single instrument in the same manner as many other instrumentalists. Despite this, he frequently performs on pipe organs, often garnering major exposure for the instrument.

Raiders March: John Williams / Cameron Carpenter

Cameron Carpenter, organist Documentary produced by NJTV

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