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Organist Cameron Carpenter takes VPAC stage Feb. 4

Date: January 25, 2024
Author: Cat Hayes

Virtuoso composer and performer Cameron Carpenter takes the organ — and his audiences — to nearly unimaginable places. Hailed as “extravagantly talented” by The New York Times, Carpenter is the first organist to be nominated for a Grammy Award for a solo album.  He’ll take the stage at the Vilar Performing Arts Center (VPAC) in Beaver Creek at 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 4.

“Cameron Carpenter is classical music made cool, and he’s revolutionizing what you might expect when you think of the organ as an instrument. This evening will be an exploration of possibility, pushing the limits of classical music and transporting the audience to a new frontier of sound,” says VPAC Executive Director, Cameron Morgan.

Cameron Carpenter with his one-of-a-kind organ
Incredibly talented organist and solo album Grammy winner, Cameron Carpenter, visits the VPAC on Feb. 4.

Carpenter holds the 2012 Leonard Bernstein Award, and in 2014, launched his International Touring Organ (ITO) – a first-of-its kind digital organ built to his own design. He is smashing the stereotypes of organ and classical music and delighting audiences as he does it.

Cameron’s latest album, Bach and Hanson, was recorded at the Berlin Konzerthaus and includes his own rendition of Bach’s Goldberg Variations as well as Hanson’s Symphony #2. The album was released by Universal / DECCA in the fall of 2021. One of his previous releases, “All You Need is Bach,” debuted at No. 1 on the traditional classical charts.

With the help of VPAC’s new 4K projector, audiences will enjoy a real-time HD video projection of his fingers at work, as they command a dizzying combination of 198 organ stops, 108 keys, and 32 foot pedals.

For this performance, Carpenter will preview his program for the NY Phil, which he will perform in David Geffen hall on February 7, just days after his VPAC debut. He has personally penned arrangements for organ based on original piano hits. The night will include two showpieces for virtuosic keyboardists: Bach’s Goldberg Variations and Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition.

Carpenter was born in Pennsylvania and was homeschooled until high school. He received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Julliard School in New York City.

Frustrated by the lack of portability of his chosen instrument, Carpenter advocates for the digital organ so a traveling performer can enjoy and use the same instrument in each place he or she performs. Over the course of 10 years, Carpenter designed and commissioned his International Touring Organ, his customized full-scale portable organ, which cost $2 million to build. The instrument allows Carpenter to travel and perform in venues that have never had an organ. The story of the ITO is the subject of the documentary about Carpenter called “The Sound of My Life” (2015).

Experience his one-of-a-kind aural and visual performance as Carpenter fills the VPAC with his all-encompassing sound and visuals on Feb. 4; you’ve never seen or heard anything like it before.

For more information about VPAC’s schedule and to purchase tickets, visit vilarpac.org or call 970-845-8497.

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