The Christ Church Concert Series of Christ Church Easton continues this Sunday, March 19 at 4:00 p.m. with GRAMMY-nominated, international concert organist, recording artist, choral conductor and lecturer, Gail Archer. Doors open at 3:30 p.m., and the public is invited. The program will feature music composed by women composers including Joan Tower, Mary Howe, Johanna Senfter, Libby Larson, Nadia Boulanger, and Jeanne Demessieux.
Founder of Musforum, a professional network for women organists which celebrates and promotes their accomplishments, Ms. Archer’s advocacy for women organists and composers inspired her most recent CD, The Muse’s Voice on Meyer Media. She promoted this disc in Europe during the summer, 2014, at La Verna Music Festival, Florence, Italy, Bayerischer Orgelsommer, Fussen, Germany, Cathedral of Zakopane, Poland, Parish Church of Nowy Targ, Poland, Parish Church of Nowy Sacz, Poland, Parish Church of Lubaczow, Poland, Parish Church of Krasnobrod, Poland, Vespri d’Organo, Pesaro, Italy, Gorlitzer Orgeltage, Gorlitz, Germany, Kirke Kontoret, Lillehammer, Norway, Corsanico Musica, Corsanico, Italy, Gavinana Music Festival, Pistoia, Italy. During the 2012-2013 season, Ms. Archer promoted her recording, Franz Liszt, A Hungarian Rhapsody; highlights include recitals at The Cathedral of All Saints, Milwaukee, WI, Cathedral of St. Joseph the Workman, La Crosse, WI, Gethsemani Abbey, Trappist, KY, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY, Community of Christ Temple, Independence, MO. In summer, 2013, she was featured by the philharmonic societies in Irkutsk, Krasnoyarsk, Tomsk and Perm, Russia, and played in festivals in Alessandria, Grondona and Scopello, Italy, Tubingen and Hamburg, Germany, and Copenhagen, Denmark. Her 2011 series in New York City included three concerts dedicated entirely to the organ works of Liszt. In spring 2010, she celebrated the 325th anniversary of the birth of Johann Sebastian Bach with six concerts around New York City, concluding with the Art of Fugue at Central Synagogue. Lucid Culture proclaimed, “Like the composers she chooses, Archer’s playing spans the range of human emotions—with Bach, there’s always plenty to communicate, but this time out it was mostly an irresistibly celebratory vibe.” In 2009, her spring series, Mendelssohn in the Romantic Century was inspired by Mendelssohn’s extraordinary versatility as composer, conductor, performer and scholar and included the organ music of his sister, Fanny Mendelssohn as well as music by Clara Schumann. The series was recorded live and is available on-line at Meyer-Media. Ms. Archer was the first American woman to play the complete works of Olivier Messiaen for the centennial of the composer’s birth in 2008. The New York Times declared, “Ms. Archer’s well-paced interpretation had a compelling authority. She played with a bracing physicality in the work’s more driven passages and endowed humbler ruminations with a sense of vulnerability and awe.” Time-Out New York recognized the Messiaen cycle as “Best of 2008” in Classical music and opera.
Ms. Archer’s recordings span the seventeenth to the twenty-first centuries, a festive discography that highlights her musical mastery on grand Romantic instruments as well as Baroque tracker organs. Her most recent CD, The Muse’s Voice (MM14027) features music by women composers, Jennifer Higdon, Judith Bingham, Nadia Boulanger and Jeanne Demessieux. During the 2012-2013 season, Ms. Archer released her recording of masterworks and transcriptions by the great Romantic keyboard artist and composer, Franz Liszt, Franz Liszt, A Hungarian Rhapsody. Bach, the Transcendent Genius, celebrates the brilliant improvisations on Lutheran hymn tunes of the “Great 18” chorale preludes (MM1013). The release on Meyer-Media, is the first recording on the Paul Fritts tracker organ at Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York. An American Idyll, released by Meyer Media in August, 2008 (MM08011), and recorded on the E. M. Skinner/Randall Dyer organ at Rollins College, Winter Park, Florida, features American organ music from 1900 to the present, including music by Joan Tower and a work commissioned by Ms. Archer, Praeludium super Pange Lingua by David Noon. Her centennial concerts in honor of Olivier Messiaen also produced A Mystic In the Making (MM07007), recorded on the Aeolian-Skinner organ at Columbia University, which includes two complete cycles, L’Ascension, and Les Corps Glorieux. Her solo debut CD The Orpheus of Amsterdam: Sweelinck and his Pupils (CACD 88043), recorded on the Fisk organ at Wellesley College, was released in 2006 by London’s CALA Records.
The Christ Church Concert Series is supported in part by the Talbot County Arts Council and the Maryland State Arts Council. For more information about the concert, call 410-822-2677. A freewill offering will be received to offset costs associated with the concert. Christ Church is located at 111 S. Harrison Street in downtown Easton.