August 31, 2008

Organist Kicks Off Concert Series

By Bill Blankenship

By Bill Blankenship


An English organist whose concert tour includes stops at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles will perform today at Topeka's Grace Episcopal Cathedral.

Richard Pilliner will play the cathedral's 62-rank pipe organ at 5 p.m. today in the cathedral, 701 S.W. 8th, to kick off a new edition of its Great Spaces Music & Arts Series. Admission is free, but a freewill offering will be collected.

Having earned his Licentiate of the Royal Academy of Music performer's diploma at 16, Pilliner won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music, where he took all the prizes for organ playing, accompaniment and improvisation.

While still a student, he made a highly praised recital debut at the Royal Festival Hall in London at the age of 22.

Since then, he has traveled widely and is an annual recital visitor to the United States, with Topeka his only Midwest stop on this tour.

At Grace, Pilliner will play:

- Johann Sebastian Bach: Prelude and Fugue in A minor.

- Jean Langlais: "La Nativite, from "Poemes Evangeliques."

- Dezso Antalffy-Zsiross: "Sketches on Negro Spiritual Songs."

- Franz Liszt: "St Francois de Paule marchant sur les flots."

- Sigfrid Karg-Elert: "The Mirrored Moon" and "Finale alla Solfeggio," from "Partita Retrospettiva."

The other performances in the Great Spaces Music & Arts Series will be:

- 5 p.m. Sept. 21: The Cathedral Brass, the cathedral's resident brass ensemble will perform an eclectic mix of pieces. Freewill offering.

- 7:30 p.m. Oct. 31: Silents in the Cathedral, the annual program co-sponsored by the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library, will screen "The Headless Horseman," a 1922 film starring Will Rogers as Ichabod Crane, with live musical accompaniment by theater organist Marvin Faulwell. Free.

- 7 p.m. Nov. 15: Russian pianist Artur Aksenov, long-time faculty member of the Gnessin Russian Academy of Music in Moscow, will perform a program of classical music. $10 adults, $5 students.

- 7 p.m. Nov. 21: Jazz at Grace, featuring Stan Kessler's HoraceScope, which plays the straight-ahead jazz of Horace Silver. The Topeka High School Jazz Ensemble will open this show co- sponsored by the Coleman Hawkins Legacy Jazz Foundation. Freewill offering.

- 7 p.m. Dec. 13: Western Wind Vocal Ensemble, an internationally acclaimed, a cappella vocal sextet, will offer a choral concert of Christmas music. $10 adults, $5 students.

- 7:30 p.m. Jan. 16: University Singers of the University of Missouri, will travel from the Columbia campus on a Midwest tour that stops at the cathedral for an hour of choral music under the direction of Paul Crabb. Freewill offering.

Bill Blankenship can be reached

at (785) 295-1284

or [email protected]

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