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Gala Concerts To Dedicate New IU Seward Organ

Indiana University Jacobs School of Music organ professor Christopher Young performs in a series of gala concerts to dedicate the new organ in Auer Hall.

"Actually, I was a pianist right until I went to college. It was there that a terrific professor introduced me to the organ and inspired me to play it."

Eclectic Is The Word!

When asked to describe the new instrument in a single word, Young says "eclectic."

"In the twentieth century musicians looked back to earlier composers and sounds. They wanted instruments that could, with some authority, offer the music of Bach, but at the same time bring out the big broad sounds of the French romantics like Widor or Messiaen for instance. For my contribution to the concert, I'll be playing a toccata by Bach, a little dance by a twentieth century American, William Albright, and a celebratory piece by the blind French organist Jean Langlais."

What's Next? Multi-Keyboards?

As we've come to be familiar with racks of multiple keyboards in rock bands, the sight of the foot pedals and the two or three keyboards on an organ don't seem as strange as they once did. Young explains just why they're necessary on the organ.

"The analogy that I use is with an orchestra. In an orchestra the conductor has strings from violins on down to basses, and winds from piccolos to bassoons and tubas. Some of the members of the different groups can play the same notes, but they sound different. With different keyboards, the organist can link his fingers to whole different sets of pitches and timbres. One keyboard might be set to trumpet, another to more of a wood wind sound and the pedals to some of the great low sounds that only the organ can really sound out."

It sounds as if it could be either a wonderful set of choices or an overwhelming night mare! "Organ is certainly a wonderful instrument, but it is a challenge. Fortunately, it's a great one."

Listen to Artworks' earlier interview with Christopher Young and Doctoral Student Patrick Pope as the organ arrived in our Auer Hall.

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