Our concerts are meant to showcase both new talent and new ideas. The organ is an instrument that can transcend its time and continues to be used for new compositions and new collaborations. Its ability to fill the hall with rich warm tone makes it the perfect instrument for large choral works. Its ability to suddenly change tone and volume sets it apart from all other instruments.
Ryan Jackson currently works in New York City but originally comes from Ontario. He is the winner of numerous prestigious competitions across North America since 2004. On Monday night, July 2nd, Ryan will be performing our opening concert featuring both mainstream music and a new composition commissioned by the Spirit Wind Festival.
Acclaimed organist and choral director Ryan Jackson was appointed Director of Music and Fine Arts Ministries at Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church, New York City, in 2012 following an international search.
The winner of numerous prestigious competitions, including the Royal Canadian College of Organists’ National Organ Playing Competition, he has studied with several of the most prominent organists of the day, including Patricia Wright, Thomas Murray, and Paul Jacobs. Ryan is a graduate of the University of Toronto (Mus.Bac.Perf.), Yale University (M.M.), and The Juilliard School (D.M.A.).
The commissioned work that Ryan will play is a composition by our very own Zachary Wadsworth. For some years Zachary lived in Calgary and became an honorary Canadian due to his all around classy and fun loving nature. These days he lives in Massachusetts, but he is still one of us (as is his spouse, Tim). Zach and Ryan went to Yale at the same time.
Zachary Wadsworth is a composer of “fresh, deeply felt and strikingly original” music (Washington Post), with regular performances and premieres around the world. His compositions have been heard at the Kennedy Center, the Lincoln Center, and Tokyo’s Takinogawa Hall, and they have been performed by such ensembles as the choir of Westminster Abbey, the Yale Philharmonia, the Swedish Chamber Choir, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Richmond Symphony. As the 2012-13 fellow of the Douglas Moore Foundation for American Opera, Wadsworth was in residence at the Metropolitan Opera and the Santa Fe Opera. 2014 marked his Carnegie Hall debut, and 2015 marked his debut at the National Opera Center.
Winner of an international competition chaired by James MacMillan, Wadsworth’s anthem Out of the South Cometh the Whirlwind was performed at Westminster Abbey in the presence of Queen Elizabeth II. Other recent honors include awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, ASCAP, and the American Composers Forum. Wadsworth’s music is widely broadcast and distributed, with recent publications by Novello, G. Schirmer, and E.C. Schirmer, and airings on NPR, BBC, and CBC.
The music of Paul Halley is a fusion of ideas both old and new. Mr. Halley has no difficulty melding pipe organ and African drum rhythms, and then adding some astounding piano textures on top to create spectacular music that crosses boundaries. He is a five-time Grammy award winner and is known all over the world. In many ways, Spirit Wind is a celebration of his vision about how the organ can be used today.
Paul Halley is Director of Music at both the Chapel of the University of King's College and the Cathedral Church of All Saints, Halifax, NS. Paul is Creative Director and Co-Founder of Pelagos Music with his wife, Margaret Race. The winner of multiple Grammy Awards as principal composer and keyboardist for the Paul Winter Consort, Paul was Director of Music of The Cathedral of St. John the Divine, New York, NY and then Founder and Director of the choirs, Chorus Angelicus and Gaudeamus, Torrington, CT. Paul relocated to Halifax, NS in 2007 to become Director of Chapel Music at the University of King's College.
Full bio: http://www.pelagosmusic.com/Current/pages/Artists%20Pages/ArtistPH.html
No festival is complete without a big choral event, and this is ours. The combination of organ, piano, percussion and instrumental ensemble creates the musical background for our mass choir to perform Missa Gaia (Mass for the Earth). If our plans work out, the choir will fill both transepts, the loft and the main stage to give this work the energy and investment it deserves. There will be limited seating, unless you are in the choir!
The core of our mass choir will be the Calgary Festival Chorus under the leadership of Mel Kirby, who brings over 20 years of professional experience as a performer, teacher and conductor to the stage.
As an added bonus, Nick Halley, son of Paul Halley, will be joining us for this performance. His percussion skills along with Paul's piano playing and artistic leadership will make this a performance to remember.
Mel is a highly respected and well known member of the Calgary music community and his experience includes five seasons as Conductor of the Calgary Bach Society and two seasons at the helm of the Civic Symphony. At the present time, he is Coordinator of Calgary Opera’s Emerging Artist Development Program, overseeing the post-graduate training and transition to a professional working career of young Canadian singers.
Nick Halley is a drummer/percussionist, keyboardist, composer, and conductor. As a drummer and world percussionist, Nick has performed and recorded internationally with a range of musicians including American icon James Taylor, Oscar Castro-Neves, Maucha Adnet, David McGuinness & Revenge of the Folk Singers, Concerto Caledonia, Jefferson Hamer & Eamon O'Leary, Old Man Luedecke & Tim O'Brien, the Chris Norman Ensemble, various Paul Halley ensembles, Suzie LeBlanc, Theresa Thomason, Diomira with Dinuk Wijeratne & Joseph Petric, and occasionally the Nick Halley Band. The recording Barnum Hill (2008) features Nick and his ensemble performing some of Nick’s original compositions.
When Missa Gaia was created by Paul Winter and Jim Scott in 1982, Paul Halley was the organist and pianist for the ensemble. At the time, Paul was the Director of Music at The Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City and the mass was composed for that church and that organ. Knox United Church and its organ is the closest thing we have to that magnificent setting.
Full bio: http://www.pelagosmusic.com/Current/pages/Artists%20Pages/ArtistPH.html
Neil is the resident organist at the Jack Singer Concert Hall and brings us a concert of repertoire ideal for the Carthy organ. Neil will be joined by the Spirit Wind Orchestra, under the direction of noteworthy Canadian conductor and pianist, Rolf Bertsch, to present excerpts from ’Snow Walker’ by Michael Colgrass.
‘Snow Walker’ was commissioned by the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra in 1990, and premiered at the first Calgary International Organ Festival. Colgrass sat at the console making extensive notes about the sounds of the organ prior to composition. The piece evokes the character of the Inuit people and the sounds of the cold north. It shows the ability of an instrument invented in the 3rd Century BC to create new music.
International prize-winning organist Neil Cockburn is Director of Music at the Cathedral Church of the Redeemer (Anglican) in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Celebrated for his diverse repertoire interests and expertise, he performs an all-encompassing spectrum of solo organ recitals on a wide range of instrument types, from all-Bach recitals on historically inspired organs, to symphonic programmes on romantic instruments, and concerts of entirely new works. His most recent solo recording is of the Mass on the Sixth Tone with three Magnificat Suites by the seventeenth-century French composer, André Raison.
Hailed for his passion and natural musicianship by critics, audiences, and musicians alike, Rolf Bertsch is one of Canada’s leading conductors. Appointed Assistant Conductor of the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal by Charles Dutoit in January 2000 and named Conductor in Residence for the 2002-2003 and 2003-2004 seasons, he has had an impressive reputation as conductor, pianist, communicator, teacher and adjudicator. His career has spanned a wide spectrum of musical experience and styles and has taken him to Europe, Asia, and throughout North and South America.
The Royal Canadian College of Organists (RCCO) is the professional organization for organists in Canada. It provides support to its members in the development and practice of fine organ and choral performance and sound musicianship, and works to promote these interests in the wider Canadian public.
Our vision: Inspiring connections with organ music.
Our mission: To promote a vibrant and inclusive community that engages more people in the transforming power of the organ and its music.
© RCCO Calgary Centre 2018
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