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Cornell Baroque Organ

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Burning the rack to seal pipe from moisture

American Baroque in the 21st Century: Old Meets New at the King of Instruments

An exciting concert festival and symposium exploring music for the baroque organ in America comprise this year’s Atkinson Forum in American Studies. The Forum will be held Friday and Saturday, September 21 and 22, in Anabel Taylor Chapel, Sage Chapel, and Barnes Hall, and will include four concerts and two panel sessions.

The Forum will also feature Michael Barone, host of American Public Media’s Pipedreams.

Two of the most exciting organists on today’s international concert circuit are included in the festival: American artists Kimberly Marshall and Robert Bates, both renowned for their innovative programming, sensitive interpretation, and superb technical command. On Friday evening Kimberly Marshall will present a concert titled “A New World Emerges,” featuring a wide range of works, including selections by Margaret Sandresky, Libby Larsen, and J. S. Bach, performed on the new baroque organ housed in Anabel Taylor Chapel (ATC).

On Saturday at 5:00 PM, Robert Bates will begin his program in ATC, playing music of the French Renaissance and Bach; he will then move to Sage Chapel to present 20th-century works on the Aeolian-Skinner, with its 69 stops and 3,858 speaking pipes. A particular highlight will be Saturday’s midday recital, given by Randall Harlow and guests from the Eastman School of Music, of new music composed specially for the Anabel Taylor organ and its sister instrument in Rochester (NY).

The panel sessions will be held Saturday in Barnes Hall, with “The Historically-Informed Organ in America” at 9:30 AM. “New Music for the Old Organ” will begin at 2:00 PM. Both sessions will be moderated by Michael Barone, who is host and senior executive producer of Pipedreams, the weekly public radio program that explores the power and wonder of the king of instruments. Building upon a curiosity that began in his teens, Michael Barone has been involved with the pipe organ for more than fifty years. As host of Pipedreams, he is recognized nationally for his outstanding contributions to the world of organ music.  

Other guest panelists include Robert Bates (University of Houston), Kimberly Marshall (Arizona State University), Martin Herchenröder (University of Siegen, Germany), and David Higgs (Eastman School of Music).

Directors Annette Richards and David Yearsley will open the Atkinson Forum with a program of words and music to explore “Variations on America,” including works by G. F. Handel, Samuel Sebastian Wesley, Ned Rorem, and Charles Ives. This lecture-recital will also begin in Anabel Taylor Chapel and will move to Sage Chapel at intermission.

Generously sponsored by David R. and Patricia D. Atkinson, the Atkinson Forum in American Studies brings individuals and groups to campus that enrich the curriculum of the American Studies Program and the cultural life of the university. The annual forum was inspired by the couple’s friendship with Glenn Altschuler, the Litwin Professor of American Studies (also Dean of the School of Continuing Education, Vice President for University Relations), who invited Professors of Music Annette Richards and David Yearsley to plan this year’s Atkinson Forum

All events of the Atkinson Forum are free and open to the public. Event details can also be found at

3:30 p.m.
“Variations on America”: organists Annette Richards and David Yearsley open the forum with words and music, performing works by George Frideric Handel, Samuel Sebastian Wesley, Ned Rorem, and Charles Ives. [begins at Anabel Taylor Chapel and ends in Sage Chapel]
8:00 p.m., Anabel Taylor Chapel
Guest organist Kimberly Marshall presents “A New World Emerges,” featuring works by Margaret Sandresky, Libby Larsen, Arnolt Schlick, J. S. Bach, and Dan Locklair.
9:30 a.m., Barnes Hall
Symposium: “The Historically-Informed Organ in America,” with moderator Michael Barone (American Public Media) and panelists Kimberly Marshall (Arizona State University), Robert Bates (University of Houston), David Higgs (Eastman School of Music), Philip Cooper (organ historian), and Jonathan Ambrosino (organ historian, consultant). [9:30-11:30 a.m.]

12:30 p.m., Anabel Taylor Chapel
“21st-Century Baroque” features new works for the baroque organ by American composers from Cornell (Taylan Cihan, Charles Cacioppo) and the Eastman School of Music (Steven Rice, John Liberatore) performed by Randall Harlow, as well as a presentation by the Cornell Avant-Garde Ensemble (CAGE).

2:00 p.m., Barnes Hall
Symposium: “New Music for the Old Organ,” with moderator Michael Barone (American Public Media) and panelists Randall Harlow (University of Northern Iowa), Martin Herchenröder (University of Siegen, Germany), Kevin Ernste (Cornell University), and Zachary Wadsworth (composer). [2-4 p.m.]

5:00 p.m.
Guest organist Robert Bates presents “Old Meets New at the American Organ,” featuring music of the French Renaissance and J. S. Bach, to works by Paul Hindemith, Joan Tower, and Michael Horvit. [begins at Anabel Taylor Chapel and ends in Sage Chapel]