The Royal Canadian College of Organists Winnipeg Centre welcomes Toronto’s Aaron James for a solo recital at the First Presbyterian Church.
The accomplished, award-winning player – who sports a double doctorate (PhD. Musicology and DMA organ performance) from the Eastman School of Music – has performed in both Canada and the US, and currently serves as Music Director at the Toronto Oratory of St. Philip Neri and as a sessional lecturer at the U of T.
Like most organists, James arrived at the organ after piano studies.
“In high school I was asked if I would help out and play some organ at my church” he recounts. “I just fell in love with the power of the instrument but also the different sounds you could create.”
Utilizing various manuals (keyboards) for the hands, as well as pedals for the feet, the sounds can be shaped and coloured via different stops which, one selected, is known as the act of registration.
“You could have a sound more like an oboe or a sound that is more like a string instrument and you can combine those in different ways,” explains James. “It’s almost like having an orchestra.”
With a program consisting of 17th and 18th-Century composers, James aims to highlight the individual voice of the Beckerath organ at First Presbyterian Church.
Designed by Rudolf von Beckerath, an important organ builder of the mid-20th-Century, the instrument is inspired by the German Baroque, says James.
“A great instrument for playing the music of Bach and the pre-Bach composers,” he notes.
In addition to music of J.S. Bach, composers such as Müthel, Muffat, Böhm, Bruhns and others feature on the program, which begins at 7:30 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church (61 Picardy Place) – just off Portage Ave. across from Vimy Ridge Park.
Admission is by donation.