"...everything he touches turns fantastical and memorable"The New York Times
With his exceptional musicality, sheer endless technical ability and pioneering spirit, the extraordinary organist Cameron Carpenter is already leaving his mark on recent music history. Ever since the completion of his own instrument, the International Touring Organ (ITO) in 2014, Cameron defies initial scepticism towards this digital instrument and established the ITO on the world’s most prestigious stages. By now, he almost exclusively performs on the ITO, be it in recital or concerto appearances. This tailor-made instrument, based on Carpenter’s own plans, allows him to perform at almost any location worldwide. Thus far, he has taken it on tour to Australia, New Zealand and Asia in addition to numerous appearances around Europe and the US.
In spring 2016, following the ECHO winning release of If You Could Read My Mind (2014), his second album for Sony Classical, All You Need is Bach appeared, ‘unconventional’ and ‘supremely agile’ (Rolling Stone). Additionally, Carpenter was the first organist ever to receive a Grammy nomination for his album Revolutionary (2008) which he recorded for Telarc who have also released his Bach recording Cameron Live!
Selected highlights in the 2016/17 season in Europe include recitals with the ITO at the Lucerne Festival, the Palau de la Música Catalana in Barcelona, Konzerthaus Berlin, Festspielhaus Baden-Baden, the Philharmonie Köln, following an invitation from the Théâtre de Châtelet at the Paris Cité musicale de l’île Seguin, as well as in Zagreb, Ljubljana and Vienna. Furthermore Carpenter will appear as soloist with Orquesta Nacional de España unter the baton of Jakub Hrůša in Madrid, Chamber Orchestra of the Bavarian Radio, Orchestre National de Lyon with Leonard Slatkin and in the context of Salzburg’s Easter Festival with Staatskapelle Dresden under the baton of Myung-Whun Chung.
Following a successful tour with the ORF Radio-Symphonieorchester Wien featuring Carpenter’s own arrangement of Rachmaninov’s Paganini Variations, Cameron Carpenter and his ITO will embark on another tour with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields in May 2017.
Born in 1981 in Pennsylvania, USA, Carpenter performed J.S. Bach Well Tempered-Clavier for the first time when he was eleven and became a member of the American Boy choir School in 1992. Besides his mentor Beth Etter, John Bertalot and James Litton taught him. At the North Carolina School of Arts he studied composition and organ with John E. Mitchener. Carpenter transcribed more than 100 works for organ, amongst others Mahler’s Symphony No 5. He composed his first own works during his studies at Juilliard School in New York, 2000-2006 where, at the same time he also had piano lessons with Miles Fusco. In 2011 his concerto for organ and orchestra The Scandal was premiered by the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen at the Philharmonie Cologne. In 2012 he received the Leonard Bernstein Award of the Schleswig-Holstein-Musik Festival.
“It's certainly no exaggeration to call his command of six keyboards (five for hands, one for feet) 'genius'. Purely in cognitive and physical terms, his ability is mind-boggling. He is also a fierce evangeliser, not just for his chosen instrument, but for questing intellectual engagement with what music can be and do”.”Sydney Morning Herald, Harriet Cunningham, 15. November 2015
“Wenn er delikat den ersten Satz von Bachs sechster Triosonate für Orgel interpretiert, tut sich der Himmel auf. [...] Zu diesem Bach jubelte übrigens ein bunt gemischtes Publikum aller Altersschichten: Mit Künstlern wie Cameron Carpenter muss man sich um die Zukunft der Konzertmusik keine Sorgen machen.”Spiegel Online, Werner Theurich, 16.5.2014
“[...] it's rare for Carpenter's excesses in taste and technique to actually stop enjoyment. [...] The transcriptions of popular Songs are imaginative and effective. [...] Conservative organists could learn much from his dancing rhythms in Bach's Sonata, BWV 530.”The Times, Geoff Brown, 2.5.2014
“Cameron Carpenter might be the closest we have to the virtuoso musical showmen of the 19th century, like Liszt or Paganini. Beneath the sparkling veneer is a deeply serious musician who composes, transcribes and presides over his instrument with uncommon mastery.”Washington Post, Tom Huizenga, 15.4.2013
“Cameron Carpenter’s flamboyant style is certainly unusual in the field of classical music, but as it comes along with an impressive stage presence and genuine charm, it is beyond reproach. But there is more to him than simply a theatrical quality. His light-fingered approach and speed are intriguing […] and the constant changing of the registers give the effect of opening up the piece of music to the smallest structural details...”Süddeutsche Zeitung, Helmut Mauró, 18.2.13
“... the audience’s response was raucous... everything he touches turns fantastical and memorable...”The New York Times, Zachary Woolfe, 30.10.2012
“On Monday Carpenter played in the Philharmonie and what he did there was so disconcerting that it could probably only be compared to what Liszt must have evoked 170 years ago.”Berliner Zeitung, Peter Uehling, 26.09.12
“His playing, with its use of stops to create vast spectrums of colour, is extraordinary. It's hard not to be seduced.”The Guardian, Tim Ashley, 2.09.12
“A fallen angel who gives the organ back its sin.”Die Zeit, Wolfram Görtz, 24.06.12