More details coming soon for program notes and performer bios.
October 2016 Organ Festival Week Concerts Press Release (PDF)
Oct 9 4PM William Ness in Concert
William Ness is the Interim Director of Music/Organist at the First Church of Christ “Center Church” of Hartford UCC where he directs their semi-professional choir. Mr. Ness retired from First Baptist Church in 2015, having served there for over fourteen years. Organ teaching is now a big part of his life, both at Pakachoag Community Music School and privately. As a church musician for over fifty years, he has served congregations in Iowa, Michigan, Massachusetts, Tennessee, and now Connecticut. As a recitalist he has performed locally in many churches in Worcester County as soloist and collaborative artist.
Oct 9 6:30 PM Wings (1927) Silent Film
accompanied with live improvisations by Peter Krasinski
PETER EDWIN KRASINSKI is broadly recognized as a motivating consultant for the pipe organ community, and as a conductor, organist and music educator, whose imaginative and energetic performances elevate and inform audiences. Well respected in both secular and sacred genres of his field, he has taught the enchantment of music to both public and private institutions in the greater Boston area for many years. His silent film performances have been hailed in the press as “a great marriage of movie and music”. “
Specializing in the art of live silent film accompaniment, worldwide, some of his many appearances have included such venues as Irvine Auditorium at University of Pennsylvania, Trinity Wall Street (NYC), Wanamaker’s-Macy’s Greek Hall (Philadelphia), St Joseph’s Cathedral (Hartford), Old South Church (Boston), National City Christian Church (Washington, DC), St Joseph’s Oratory (Montreal), The Kotzschmar Organ at City Hall (Portland), The Great Organ at Methuen Music Hall and major concert halls in the cities of Yokohama, Fukui, Miyazaki and Kanazawa, Japan.
A multiple prize-winner, he is the recipient of the First Prize in Improvisation from the American Guild of Organists National Competition. A seasoned performer, he has played recitals at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels (Los Angeles), Notre-Dame Cathedral (Paris), Trinity Church (Boston), and Holy Name Cathedral (Chicago).
Mr. Krasinski currently serves as Dean of the Boston Chapter AGO, Organist of First Church of Christ, Scientist in Providence RI, accompanist at Beth El Temple Center Belmont MA, faculty member of St Paul’s Choir School, Cambridge MA and regularly teaches improvisation master-classes to the Harvard Organ Society. He holds both a Bachelor of Music Degree in Music Education and Organ Performance, and the Master of Sacred Music Degree from Boston University.
For bookings, upcoming performances and more information please visit -WWW.KRASINSKI.ORG
REVIEW OF WINGS by SEAN GLENN
On the evening of Tuesday, November 5, 2013, William A. Wellman’s 1927 masterpiece, WINGS, staring Clara Bow, Charles Rogers, and Richard Arlen, was brought to life at Boston’s Old South Church through the daring musical command of organist, Peter Krasinski.
The evening, sponsored by the British Soldiers’ Fund, was inaugurated to the sound of traditional bagpipe tunes as guests entered the nave of Old South Church. To commemorate those soldiers, both British and American, lost in war, Krasinski accompanied the singing of “God Save the Queen” and “The Star Spangled Banner” as the colors of the United Kingdom and the United States were marched in procession through the nave. It was an apt beginning—an invitatory liturgy—to a film that would shake the audience’s stance on the cost of war, and the tragedy of human life cast as friend-versus-foe; just as the liturgy of the Church commands our allegiance, so to it calls us to question those symbols we take for granted and to call to repentance those moments when allegiance demands the ultimate cost. This was also highlighted by the Rev. Nancy Taylor’s gracious and pertinent words of welcome—a greeting and introduction that framed the course of the evening with warm hospitality, yet also with a call to question.
Krasinski’s musicianship and command of the organ (a glorious E.M. Skinner, whose voice I had not truly heard until this evening) were matched by his intuition and keen sense of dramatic sensitivity. The narrative of WINGS tells the story of two young men, Jack Powell and David Armstrong, both from differing economic back grounds (middle class and upper class, respectively) who are both in love with the same woman; all the while, Jack is pursued by the daring Mary Preston (played by Clara Bow), who has tried to make known her love for him for some time. As the United States enters the fray of World War I, Jack and David are thrust into the heat of action as pilots for the US forces. Their economic divisions, in many ways, are rendered irrelevant, as they learn to cooperate with each other; a close friendship is forged in the crucible of death—in a war whose moral boundaries are never clearly defined. Mr. Krasinski brought to aural life the playfulness of Jack’s youthful whims, while also setting in stark relief the expectations of David’s wealthy family life—a stoic home, where emotions but only peak out beneath the sheen social graces.
The significance of the boys’ first flight was imaged in bombastic 32-foot pedal blasts, rich mixtures, gallant reeds, and the gravity of those Skinner principals which strove for flight as the fleet took to the air for the first time. Sweet Skinner strings and celestes, dotted with texture by chimes and celesta, drew the audience into the young mens’ romantic trysts. As the narrative delved into the violence of war, Mr. Krasinski, in an act of musical subtleness, rang out variations on the “Dies Irae” of the requiem mass, followed by a mournful, yet adventurous, harmonization of “O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden” (“O Sacred Head now Wounded”) as those from each side of the conflict fell, including David Armstrong at the hands of his now-dear-friend, Jack. Despite this tragic ending, the film ends with a hopeful coda: Jack returns from war, heartbroken, to find Mary Preston waiting for him (little did he know she was in the heat of it all with him driving for the Red Cross). As the two look to the sky, a shooting star (the name given Jack’s plane) races across the sky. In a moment of exact timing, the Skinner’s Zimbelstern rang through the nave at Mr. Krasinski’s expert command. Mr. Krasinski’s ability to paint the story sonically merited a standing ovation at the film’s conclusion. All the while, he made it clear that it was the film, which merited such praise, for without Wellman’s own skill, we would not have been graced by such a pairing of genius.
Oct 14 7PM Peter Richard Conte in Concert
Peter Richard Conte is an organist whose great skill and innovative style can be completely enjoyed by any general audience-not just by other organists and organ buffs. He programs transcriptions (many of them works he has arranged himself) of recognizable audience-favorite pieces, including many of the great opera arias and overtures. Not many performers today offer a Bach Prelude and Fugue followed by Bizet’s “Carmen” or a Strauss waltz.
Peter Richard Conte is Grand Court Organist of the world famous Wanamaker Organ at the Macy’s Philadelphia department store. When not touring, he performs on the six-manual, 28,000-pipe instrument twice daily, six days per week. The Wanamaker Organ is the largest fully functioning musical instrument in the world; Mr. Conte was appointed Grand Court Organist in 1989, and is the fourth person to hold that title since the organ first played in 1911.
Mr. Conte is highly regarded as a skillful performer and arranger of organ transcriptions. He has been featured several times on National Public Radio and on ABC television’s “Good Morning America” and “World News Tonight.” His monthly radio show, “The Wanamaker Organ Hour”, airs on the first Sunday of each month, at 5 PM (Eastern), and can be heard via the internet at WRTI.ORG.
He performs extensively throughout the United States and Canada under the management of Phillip Truckenbrod Concert Artists, and was a featured artist at the American Guild of Organists’ National Convention in 2002, and at the International Organ Festival in Aosta, Italy, in September 2004. He has performed with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Peter Nero and the Philly Pops, and with the Delaware and Allentown Symphonies. In addition to his concert career, Mr. Conte serves as Choirmaster and Organist of St. Clement’s Church, Philadelphia, where he directs an eighteen-voice professional choir in music of the Anglo Catholic tradition. That choir has recorded several internationally-acclaimed compact discs on the DORIAN label.
Peter Richard Conte is an Associate of the American Guild of Organists, has served on the executive board of its Philadelphia Chapter, and has presented guild workshops on transcriptions and improvisation. Mr. Conte studied with Larry Smith and Robert Rayfield at Indiana University, Bloomington, where he was awarded the prestigious Performers’ Certificate in Organ. He later returned to Indiana University in 2008 to accept the School of Music’s Distinguished Alumni Award. During High School, he studied with Robert Kennedy, while serving as Associate Organist at the Cathedral of the Incarnation, Garden City, New York.
Mr. Conte appears on the GOTHIC, DORIAN, JAV and DTR labels.