Saturday, May 31, 2008

Organ News

At St Philip Presbyterian Church in Houston (where I'm the organist), we're eagerly anticipating the Fall 2009 delivery of a new pipe organ from Paul Fritts of Tacoma, WA. His most recent opus is currently on its way to Sacred Heart Cathedral in Rochester, NY. You can read all about it in a wonderful article from the Tacoma paper:

The new instrument at St Philip, of approximately the same size as the Rochester instrument, will have a more contemporary case to harmonize with our more modern-looking sanctuary, which was recently renovated from top to bottom. The new acoustics and enlarged choir/organ gallery at St Philip make a perfect home for the new Fritts organ. With three manual divisions and pedal and 48 stops, it will be a major addition to the local scene -- and Paul's first instrument anywhere in Texas!

Stay tuned for images of the new instrument, which I'll be posting once we have them from the builder.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Summer's here!

Summer always brings music festivals and travels, and this year is no exception. Yours truly will be off to Turkey in a month, and can't wait to see Istanbul, the Aegean Sea, the mosques, the rugs....

Keeping track of musician friends this time of year is a special challenge, but for the intrepid, here's a quick list of some websites that will tell you where to hear your favorite singers this summer:

Happy surfing!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Ars Lyrica in Beaumont

Just back from Beaumont, where Ars Lyrica played an all-Italian chamber program this afternoon at First United Methodist Church. Performers included Melissa Givens (soprano), Gerrod Pagenkopf, (countertenor), Alan Austin (baroque violin), Brady Lanier (baroque cello) and yours truly on the wire machine. Check out their great sanctuary windows and the article about us at

Many thanks to Eduardo Garcia-Novelli, the church's director of music (and a former student: DMA in choral conducting from the Moores School), and to the Leland Best Council for the Arts at FUMC Beaumont for the opportunity to share some of our favorite pieces with you!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Reviews of "Duelling Divas"

Well, the divas had their duel and I'm delighted to report that there were no casualties! In fact, it was one of the more enjoyable evenings we've spent on the Zilkha Hall stage. If you haven't yet seen it, here are the links to Chas Ward's review in the Houston Chronicle and Holly Beretto's review in Arts Houston:

Many thanks to all who made "Duelling Divas" such a great evening!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

The lowdown on Phoebus...

Just when you thought you'd heard it all...some interesting news about a Bach cantata.

Bach's "Phoebus and Pan" (on the upcoming May 11 Ars Lyrica program) has gotten some attention recently on a website that's never before dabbled in Bach criticism or research. At least one writer considers Phoebus' big aria as a rare example of homoeroticism in Bach. Here's the link: While the author of this article is correct as far as the old legend goes, I wonder how many of us are prepared to admit of such goings-on in Bach. Not many in the Bach industry, or so it would seem!

I'll be interested to know how this colors your hearing of the work on our "Duelling Divas" program at Zilkha Hall. See you there!