OrganCameron Carpenter
© Thomas GrubeArtist

"...everything he touches turns fantastical and memorable"

The New York Times
5 / 28

Biography

For the extraordinary organist Cameron Carpenter a long-anticipated dream came true in 2014: the completion of his own instrument. The International Touring Organ (ITO) has since embarked on extensive tours to important venues throughout the world. This tailor-made instrument based on Carpenter’s own plans allows him to perform at almost any location worldwide. Taken for granted by most instrumentalists, this is a revolution for Cameron Carpenter being an organist. Accompanying the presentation of the ITO Carpenters latest recording If You Could Read My Mind appeared on Sony Classical.

Highlights in the 2015/16 season include a world premiere of his first organ concerto with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and Manfred Honneck, concerts with the Orchestre National du Capitol de Toulouse and Tughan Sokhiev, the Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg and Alexander Shelly as well as on tour with the ORF Radio-Symphonieorchester Wien and Cornelius Meister. In the summer of 2015 Cameron will give important debuts with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Stéphane Denève as well as Shanghai Symphony Orchestra. In recital he will present the ITO for the first time on tour to Australia. Further recital appearances include Austria, Italy, Switzerland and the Czech Republic.

Cameron Carpenter’s special relationship to the Philharmonie in Berlin is marked by the opening recital of the organ series which Cameron plays for the 4th time in a row.


 

2014 Cameron Carpenter successfully premiered At the Royal Majestic, Terry Riley’s new organ concerto written for Cameron Carpenter and performed with LA Philharmonic and John Adams.

Working regularly with important artists of other genres he collaborated with Peter Sellars transcribing and playing Shostakovich’s Michaelangelo Sonnets for a project at the Manchester International Festival 2013.

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.

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! (2010). Carpenter’s compositions are published exclusively by Edition Peters.

SEASON 2015/2016

Quotes

“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

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Discography

If You Could Read My MindFirst CD with the International Touring Organ - Cameron Carpenter plays Bach, Bernstein, Dupré, Leonard Cohen, Scriabin etc., also available as Special Edition with DVDApr. 2014, Sony Classical, CD, Available on: Amazon
Cameron Live!Cameron plays works by Bach, Schubert, Schostakowitsch and his own compositionsJun. 2010, Telarc International, CD, Available on: iTunes Amazon
RevolutionaryAs first organist ever Cameron Carpenter has been nominated for a Grammy for this albumSep. 2008, Telarc International, CD, Available on: iTunes Amazon