Third annual organ week features stunning concerts

photo of organThe third annual Organ Week, a summer music camp and organ festival presented by the School of Music, Theatre and Dance at Colorado State University, takes place the second week of June when nightly concerts at the UCA, and on prominent organs around the city, feature world-renowned soloists performing major solo and collaborative works. Organ Week is sponsored in part by Home State Bank.

Organ weeks have a long history at CSU. Professor Robert Cavarra used to invite organists such as Marie-Claire Alain, Luigi Tagliavini, E. Power Biggs, and Anton Heiller to give week-long courses to capacity audiences. The festivals not only filled the city with fantastic music, but brought organ students from across the country to Fort Collins.

In 2013, the first time since the 1990s, Organ Week returned to campus with events and instruction taking place on the finest pipe organs in northern Colorado, including CSU’s celebrated Casavant organ. Led by a faculty of renowned concert and church organists, the camp and concerts were extremely well-received.

The instruction component of the week is designed for high school students interested in expanding (or beginning) their organ study, and features one-on-one instruction, masterclasses, and recitals.

Joel Bacon, who holds the Stewart and Sheron Golden Chair of Organ and Liturgical Studies at CSU, is thrilled when young students are excited about the instrument he’s so passionate about.

“It’s a great instrument, and deserves a great future,” he exclaimed. “These kids are the future!”

Guest artists for 2015 include Bacon, Joyce Jones (retired from Baylor University), James David Christie (Oberlin), Ken Cowan (Rice University) and Kevin Bowyer (University of Glasgow).

OrganWeekBFrom June 8 to June 11, the community is invited to attend nightly concerts, including guest artist solo recitals and an evening of organ concertos with the Fort Collins Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Wes Kenney.

Fort Collins is a city of organs, with many renowned instruments on its roster.

“Artistic collaboration with the local churches, their instruments, and the Symphony is what our town is about, and Organ Week celebrates that,” said Bacon. “This is an event for the whole community!”

Schedule of ticketed and free events

Monday, June 8, 7:30 p.m.
An Evening of Organ and Orchestra
Featuring the Fort Collins Symphony, Directed by Wes Kenney
with Joel Bacon, James David Christie, and Ken Cowan
Organ Recital Hall, University Center for the Arts
1400 Remington St.
Tickets: $10/CSU students, $20/public

This evening of organ music features three internationally acclaimed soloists and the Fort Collins Symphony, conducted by Wes Kenney. Ken Cowan, professor of organ at Rice University, performs Josef Rheinberger’s Organ Concerto no. 2 in G minor, one of the most popular and tuneful organ concertos of the romantic era. CSU’s Joel Bacon, Stewart and Sheron Golden Chair of Organ and Liturgical Studies, presents Stephen Paulus’ contemporary masterpiece, Concerto no. 1 for Organ, Strings, and Percussion. James David Christie, professor of organ at Oberlin University and organist with the Boston Symphony, plays Francis Poulenc’s gripping and dramatic Concerto for Organ, Timpani and Strings in G minor.

Followed by a gala reception sponsored by Home State Bank

Tuesday, June 9, 7:30 p.m.
Organ Fireworks!
Featuring Joyce Jones, Ken Cowan and Lisa Shihoten
First Presbyterian Church
531 S. College Ave., Fort Collins
Tickets: FREE

Joyce Jones is one of the most recognized and beloved concert organists in America. Her career has taken her to 48 states and 12 foreign countries, with recitals in places such as Notre Dame Cathedral, the Mormon Tabernacle, and Chartres Cathedral, and as soloist with orchestras such as the San Francisco and Dallas Symphonies. Although she retired in 2012 as chair of organ at Baylor University, she continues to maintain a busy performing and teaching schedule — “making friends for the organ,” as she says.

Ken Cowan is one of North America’s finest concert organists. Praised for his dazzling artistry, impeccable technique and imaginative programming by audiences and critics alike, he maintains a rigorous performing schedule that takes him to major concert venues and churches in America, Canada, Europe, and Asia. Ken will be joined on the program by his wife Lisa Shihoten, combining forces on virtuoso works for violin and organ.

Followed by a “Meet the Artists” reception

Wednesday, June 10, 7:30 p.m.
Cavarra Organ Series Concert Featuring Kevin Bowyer
Organ Recital Hall, University Center for the Arts
1400 Remington St., Fort Collins
Tickets: $7/CSU students, $12/public, $1/youth (under 18)

Kevin Bowyer has been called “a superb player, not only technically brilliant, but profoundly musical…” (Gramophone) and “one of the most exciting organists now active…” (Fanfare). As the first-prize winner in several of the world’s most prestigious competitions — St. Albans, Odense, Dublin, Calgary — he launched a prolific concert and recording career. His recordings of the complete organ works of Bach, Messiaen, and Alain have drawn wide praise. Since 2005, he has been organist of the University of Glasgow, where he accompanies the acclaimed Chapel Choir and directs an international concert series.

The Cavarra family welcomes you to a reception following the concert

Thursday, June 11, 7:30 p.m.
Baroque Extravaganza
Featuring James David Christie, Joel Bacon, Joyce Jones, Ken Cowan and Kevin Bowyer, and members of the Fort Collins Symphony under the direction of Wes Kenney
Organ Recital Hall, University Center for the Arts
1400 Remington St., Fort Collins
Tickets: $7/CSU students, $12/public, $1/youth (under 18)

The final program of the 2015 Organ Week at Colorado State University features all of the week’s artists in an unforgettable evening of Baroque masterpieces. Acclaimed Baroque expert James David Christie of Oberlin Conservatory and the Boston Symphony showcases CSU’s Casavant organ with thrilling solo works. In the second half of the program, members of the Fort Collins Symphony join our featured artists to present Vivaldi’s beautiful Concerto for violin and organ in F major, and a rarely heard masterpiece: Bach’s Concerto for four harpsichords!

For a full performance and event calendar, more information, and to sign up for a free event e-newsletter, visit the website.


The University Center for the Arts at Colorado State University provides an enriched venue in which the study and practice of Art, Dance, Music, and Theatre are nurtured and sustained by building the skills and knowledge needed by future generations of arts professionals to become contributors to the essential vitality of our culture and society.