posted October 9, 2007

Organist Olivier Latry to Perform

The Skinner Organ Rededication Series of Hope College will feature Notre-Dame in Paris titular organist Olivier Latry on Tuesday, Oct. 23, at 7:30 p.m. in Dimnent Memorial Chapel.

The public is invited.  Admission is free.

Latry, titular organist of the Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris, is hailed as one of the world's most distinguished organists.

"The New York Times" has said that Latry is "as good as they come...  splendidly clear, steady and buoyant."

In 1981, at age 19, Latry was named organist of the Meaux Cathedral, a post he held for four years. In 1985, he stunned the musical world by winning a competition to serve as one of the three titular organists of Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris. In addition to his duties at Notre-Dame, he serves as professor of organ at the Paris Conservatory.

Latry has appeared in more than 40 countries on five continents. He made his first American tour during the fall of 1986. He has subsequently made annual tours to the United States and Canada.

He has recorded CDs for several labels in France as well as Deutsche Gramophone.

His Hope College performance will feature works by Georg Muffat, Johann Sebastian Bach, Alexandre Guilmant, Marcel Dupre, Sergei Rachmaninov, and many others. The program will conclude with one of Latry's famed improvisations. He is considered to be among the most noted improvisateurs in the exceptional French tradition.

Latry will be performing on both the Gallery and Chancel organ in the Chapel. The Chancel organ is the college's highly regarded Skinner organ, built in 1928 by the Skinner Organ Company, which Hope College organist Huw Lewis has said "was thought of as the Rolls Royce or the Cadillac --the industry standard-- for quality construction or sound."

The Skinner organ's recent restoration by the A. Thompson-Allen Company--which emphasized preserving its original character--took nearly two years, from January 2005 through the latter part of 2006. The entire organ, including all 2,932 pipes and the console, was removed and taken to New Haven, Conn., for the work, through which the instrument was repaired and restored to its original factory specifications. In addition, the chambers housing the pipes were renovated and the chapel's roof drainage system was modified to repair and prevent water damage caused by the building's original design. The most major work previously done on the organ had been conducted more than 40 years earlier, in 1963, when it had been cleaned, refurbished, releathered and regulated.

Dimnent Memorial Chapel is located on College Avenue at 12th Street.