June 4, 2020

20° C, Fair

Full Forecast

Help us deliver reliable news during this pandemic.

We are working tirelessly to bring you trusted information about COVID-19. Support our efforts by subscribing today.

No Thanks Subscribe

Already a subscriber?


Advertise With Us

The pipes are calling at national organ festival

Organizers aim to 'shred' instrument's stereotypes

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 4/7/2015 (1797 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Scores of organ lovers will be in Winnipeg beginning this weekend to celebrate the "king of instruments," a.k.a. the mighty pipe organ.

The Winnipeg Organ Festival that kicks off today and runs until Thursday offers a musical feast of solo recitals, collaborative concerts, workshops and master classes along with an organ-playing competition. Presented in conjunction with the Royal Canadian College of Organists' annual national convention, it also marks the first time the festival has been held in Winnipeg since 2004.

Boston organist James David Christie will perform four solo concertos at Westminster United Church on Thursday at 8 p.m.


Boston organist James David Christie will perform four solo concertos at Westminster United Church on Thursday at 8 p.m.

"It's just huge for us, but it's also a huge opportunity for audiences to hear what this amazing instrument is capable of," says Winnipeg organist Lottie Enns-Braun, who along with Linda Fearn are the festival's artistic directors.

One can't-miss concert is the gala finale showcasing acclaimed American organist James David Christie, who is hailed as one of the top players of his generation.

The Boston artist -- who notably also performed at Sen. Edward Kennedy's memorial service in 2009 -- will perform four solo organ concertos at Westminster United Church (745 Westminster Ave), on Thursday at 8 p.m. He'll be accompanied by the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, led by Alexander Mickelthwate.

"James David Christie is brilliant," says Enns-Braun, who first met the artist while attending one of his master classes at McGill Summer Organ Academy four years ago in Montreal. "His playing is clean, it's energetic. He also takes a very poetic approach that makes the music come alive. You always hear things you've never heard before whenever he plays."

Christie also performs a solo recital of Baroque works on Monday at 8 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church (61 Picardy Pl.), and gives a morning master class for conference registrants on Tuesday at Young United Church (222 Furby St).

Another festival centrepiece is a collaboration between city organist Jenny Vincent and choral ensemble Canzona on Tuesday at 8 p.m. at Westminster United Church.

The 25-voice choir, led by Elroy Friesen, performs three commissioned world premières inspired by the tenets of human rights. Canadian composers Timothy Corlis, Leonard Enns and Stephanie Martin will attend at the concert that also includes works by Arvo P§rt, Mendelssohn and others.

"Audiences will experience a musical journey from darkness and despair to light and hope," Friesen promises. "They will also experience the power of these profound texts sung by the choir, as well as the power of the organ with all its different colours."

Enns-Braun performs her own concert of contemporary works with Winnipeg saxophonist Allen Harrington on Monday at 3:30 p.m. at Young United Church.

The affable musician points out that while the pipe organ has deep roots in sacred music, her instrument of choice is also a musical chameleon.

"People often assume that the organ is a church instrument, and the saxophone is only for jazz -- we're here to blow that stereotype to shreds," she says.

The festival also features the National Organ Playing Competition with six semifinalists selected from across Canada vying for cash prizes at two free concerts today at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. at Young United Church. The finals are scheduled for Tuesday at 2 p.m. at St. Luke's Anglican Church (130 Nassau St. N.) -- also free.

Hymn fans will be given their chance to join in on a variety of contemporary and traditional hymns during Hymn Festival with a Difference, slated for Sunday at 8 p.m. at Knox United Church (400 Edmonton St.). Leader Christine Longhurst will guide singers through the program accompanied by organist Richard Greig.

Toronto's Patricia Wright joins forces with poet Patricia Orr, who has created reflective texts responding to J.S. Bach's chorale preludes titled Bach in Time: Let There be Beauty, on Wednesday at 2 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church.

Finally, Montreal Symphony Orchestra organist Jean-Willy Kunz performs a program of French romantic repertoire, including his own transcription of Saint-Saens' charming Carnival of the Animals at Holy Trinity Anglican Church (256 Smith St.) Wednesday at 8 p.m.

For festival tickets or further information, call Karen at 204-453-6962 or visit winnipegorganfestival.ca. Tickets/passes ($80) are also available at McNally Robinson or at the door.



Advertise With Us

Your support has enabled us to provide free access to stories about COVID-19 because we believe everyone deserves trusted and critical information during the pandemic.

Our readership has contributed additional funding to give Free Press online subscriptions to those that can’t afford one in these extraordinary times — giving new readers the opportunity to see beyond the headlines and connect with other stories about their community.

To those who have made donations, thank you.

To those able to give and share our journalism with others, please Pay it Forward.

The Free Press has shared COVID-19 stories free of charge because we believe everyone deserves access to trusted and critical information during the pandemic.

While we stand by this decision, it has undoubtedly affected our bottom line.

After nearly 150 years of reporting on our city, we don’t want to stop any time soon. With your support, we’ll be able to forge ahead with our journalistic mission.

If you believe in an independent, transparent, and democratic press, please consider subscribing today.

We understand that some readers cannot afford a subscription during these difficult times and invite them to apply for a free digital subscription through our Pay it Forward program.

The Free Press would like to thank our readers for their patience while comments were not available on our site. We're continuing to work with our commenting software provider on issues with the platform. In the meantime, if you're not able to see comments after logging in to our site, please try refreshing the page.

You can comment on most stories on The Winnipeg Free Press website. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

By submitting your comment, you agree to abide by our Community Standards and Moderation Policy. These guidelines were revised effective February 27, 2019. Have a question about our comment forum? Check our frequently asked questions.


Advertise With Us