Hometown: New York, New York
Web site: http://cameroncarpenter.com
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Cameron Carpenter has been called "the ultimate maverick of the US organ community… a brilliant improvisor who goes light-years forward" (1). Smashing the organ's stereotypes with his “Astaire-like footwork” (2) and “organist/runway model” (3) image, the “rock star organist… is pulling out all the stops with his forward-thinking approach to the instrument.” (4) A "madly original organist whose programs careen across centuries of music history and sashay deep into popular culture” (5), he “clearly leaves any religious reverence for the organ on another planet." (6)
He holds Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees from The Juilliard School, where he studied with Gerre Hancock, John Weaver and Paul Jacobs. He has performed widely in the USA and abroad, and arranges prolifically for the organ (from Chopin’s Études and piano masterworks of Liszt, Scriabin, Rachmaninoff, Medtner, etc., to contemporary pop music and scores from Japanese animé). As a composer, his works are notable for neo-romantic tonality and intense chromaticism, as well as for their incorporation of folk or popular melody: his New York City Sessions makes use of thematic material by Annie Lennox, Klaus Nomi, The Blue Nile, Laura Nyro, George Gershwin and others, while other organ works are more notable for their virtuosic character (The New York Times described his Homage to Klaus Kinski as a “churning potboiler”). As a child prodigy, he transcribed Gustav Mahler’s complete Symphony No. 5 at age 15, gave his European debut for an audience of 3,000 in Riga, Latvia at 13 and performed Bach’s complete Well-Tempered Clavier at 11.
Cameron’s convention performance will include the world premiere of his latest work for solo organ, Nautical Rondo (2008). His “retrospective” concert edition of J. S. Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor (BWV 565) will also receive its first hearing, and free copies will be made available to convention attendees. Cameron is represented by Slaymaker Special Projects (Susan Slaymaker, director).
1. The Philadelphia Inquirer
2. The New York Times
3. Women's Wear Daily
4. MUSO Magazine
5. Alex Ross, on TheRestIsNoise.com
6. American Record Guide