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  • best organists of today

    I am curious to see if anybody has a favorite organist or several who area really at the top of their profession.

    dan

  • #2
    Re: best organists of today

    I enjoy the organ playing of Hector Olivera -- he is extremely versatile, both in technique, registration, and has a wildly eclectic repertoire. I had the honor of performing Franck's Piece Heroique for Mr. Olivera about 10 years ago. He stood behind the bench where I was playing, and he was uttering phrases such as "marvelous!" "that's fanTAStic!" as I played.

    If you happen to view the OHS catalog, you will probably only see his recordings in the Theatre Organ section -- that's too restrictive to form an impression about this organist. Hector Olivera is a top notch classical organ player, as well as doing some terrific arrangements of popular, show tunes, and classics. I heard Olivera play a note-for-note transcription of Mozart's Marriage of Figaro and Magic Flute overtures that knocked my organmasters off!

    Joe

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    • #3
      Re: best organists of today

      Jimmy Smith, Jimmy McGriff, Chester Thompson who played with Tower Of Power in the 70s, Earl Grant, and a friend of mine from Pittsburgh, Gene Ludwig, a great jazz player, I will try to post a link to his pic and bio.

      [http://www.jwolf.com/iajo/iajofram.htm]

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      • #4
        Re: best organists of today

        Olivier Latry - Notre Dame, Paris - gave the most totally breath-taking recital I can recall, at Spivey Hall near Atlanta - from memory. Demonstrating complete, total, and consummate mastery of the instrument, and all-encompassing musicianship and technical facility in both repertoire and improvisation, he left me near-speechless with admiration and, frankly, hesitant to continue calling myself an organist. I never expect to hear such a recital again. World's finest organist? He's got my vote!

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        • #5
          Re: best organists of today

          I think Messian called him "the new Marcel Dupre".

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          • #6
            Re: best organists of today

            I'd place Judith Hancock at the top in just about all the repertoire. Never a mis-turned phrase, lapse into bad taste, etc.

            She stood out above all others at the recent AGO National in Los Angeles in July.

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            • #7
              Re: best organists of today

              removed

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              • #8
                Re: best organists of today


                Nice to see that someone put up Thomas Murray. Apart from his musical and technical grasp, he is an amazing manager of a console. I'd have to agree with the Hancocks, Judith and Gerre, too. And Charles Callahan is a formidable player: his recording of the Stanford sonatas has no competition in my book.

                Of organists outside the US, I have to say that Christopher Herrick is a strong contender.

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                • #9
                  Re: best organists of today

                  My favorites are Hector Olivera, Felix Hell, and Cameron Carpenter. Virtuosos all, they are very different. I have traveled far to hear each and am fortunate to count them as friends. They are fantastically talented and are truly extraordinary individuals.

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                  • #10
                    Re: best organists of today

                    Without a doubt, William Smiddy of Richmond Hill, New York. Does this name mean anything to any of you. He is a superb church organist and super virtuoso classical pianist who played for five US presidents and countless international head of states. Best would not be sufficient to describe his organ skill. He is among the finest of the finest musicians.

                    DDin

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                    • #11
                      Re: best organists of today

                      there are too many to name here. let us be sure to exclude names like Hector Olivera, Carlo Curley, and other empty-headed vapid people.

                      "the best" always means one who has studied long and hard and never ceases to learn something new and constructive. "the best" often does not include those who simply are out to wow the public and get by with cheap theatrics.

                      R.

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                      • #12
                        Re: best organists of today

                        Olivera has superb taste, in my humble opinion, and has the gift to inspire musicians and non-musicians alike.

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                        • #13
                          Re: best organists of today

                          "Olivera has superb taste"

                          I've also heard that he has style, and that from "those who should know" in the professional church organist milieu.

                          Just because a person knows how to present himself to the diverse and common population, does not mean that he or she should not be considered among "the best".

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                          • #14
                            Re: best organists of today

                            My submission is Dr. Paul Manz. I've not heard him in concert, but I have heard him musically leading church services. His improvizations are beautiful, whimzical, or add your own positive adjective. Dr. Donald Busarow of Wittenberg University in my own home town of Springfield, Ohio is also in the same league as Dr. Manz. Dr. B musically led the rededication service of Lessons and Hymns for our refurbished 1917 E. M. Skinner that left me enthralled. The organ music these two men provide is the type I could listen to for eternity.

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                            • #15
                              Re: best organists of today

                              Hey man, where do you live? You can check my calendar to see where I'm playing. Thank you for the compliments, I certainly appreciate it.

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