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Wed, Oct 05


Epsilon Spires

Lunchtime Pipe Organ Series: Carson Cooman

Carson Cooman is an American composer and organist. He holds degrees in music from Harvard University and Carnegie Mellon and is currently the Composer in Residence at the Memorial Church, Harvard University. As an organ recitalist, Cooman specializes in the performance of contemporary music.

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Lunchtime Pipe Organ Series: Carson Cooman
Lunchtime Pipe Organ Series: Carson Cooman

Time & Location

Oct 05, 2022, 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM

Epsilon Spires, 190 Main St, Brattleboro, VT 05301, USA

About the event

Carson Cooman (b. 1982) is an American composer with a catalog of hundreds of works in many forms—from solo instrumental pieces to operas, and from orchestral works to hymn tunes. His music has been performed on all six inhabited continents in venues that range from the stage of Carnegie Hall to the basket of a hot air balloon. He holds degrees in music from Harvard University and Carnegie Mellon University and since 2006 has held the position of Composer in Residence at the Memorial Church, Harvard University. As an organ recitalist, Cooman specializes in the performance of contemporary music. Over 300 new compositions by more than 100 international composers have been written for him. Cooman has made many recordings as organist, including more than 10 complete CD releases of music by Thomas Åberg, Paula Diehl, Carlotta Ferrari, Lothar Graap, Eva‐Maria Houben, Marian Sawa, and Andreas Willscher, along with several multi‐composer albums. His recordings of more than 4,500 additional contemporary organ compositions can be heard freely from YouTube and his website. As a composer, Cooman has created a catalog of works in many forms—ranging from solo instrumental pieces to operas, and from orchestral works to hymn tunes. His work has been performed on all six inhabited continents and appears on over forty recordings, including more than twenty‐five complete CDs on the Naxos, Albany, Artek, Gothic, Divine Art, Métier, Diversions, Convivium, Altarus, MSR Classics,

Lunchtime Pipe Organ Series Concert Program for October 5, 2022, 12 pm

Toccata gotica (2017) Carlotta Ferrari (b. 1975)

Athena (2022) Michael Calabris (b. 1984)

Wondrous Love (2022) Burkhard Mohr (b. 1955)- World premiere

Affirmation (2020) Howard Skempton (b. 1947)

Variations No. 4 (2010) Yûitirô Katô (b. 1984)

Gotlandssvit (Gotland Suite) (2021) Villemo Daneling (b. 1977)

Vid Fårö fyr (At Fårö Lighthouse) World premiere

Hymn vid en ruin (Hymn to a Ruin)

Hoburgsdans (Hoburg Dance)

Toccata No. 2 (1982) Thomas Åberg (b. 1952)

Notes on the Composers and Pieces

Carlotta Ferrari (b. 1975) is an Italian composer. Educated at the Conservatory in Milan, she

has composed in many genres, developing a personal language that is concerned with the

blend of past and present. Her compositions have been performed frequently around the

world. Ferrari’s music appears on several CD recordings, including eight all‐Ferrari organ CDs:

four recorded by Carson Cooman (2014/16/18), three by Peter Clark (2015/16/18), and one by

Luca Massaglia (2021). She served as chair of music composition at Hebei Normal University in

Shijiazhuang, China and is currently professor of music composition at the European School of

Economics in Florence, Italy.

Toccata gotica (2017) takes its title from style allusions to music of the Gothic era

(medieval music). The vibrant outer sections surround an inner section inspired by

parallel organum.


Michael Calabris (b. 1984) is an American composer based in Northeast Ohio. He was

educated at Kent State University, the University of Akron, and Cleveland State University.

Calabris has composed music in many genres, ranging from avant‐garde electronic works and

concert music to heavy metal and from liturgical music to film scores.

The composer wrote: “Athena was inspired by a photo I recently saw of a statue of

Athena, the ancient Greek goddess of wisdom. This composition’s basic tonality is the

Phrygian mode. The Phrygian mode (known as the Dorian mode in ancient Greece) was

the most commonly employed mode in ancient Greek music. While I chose this mode

because of its ancient‐sounding quality, the basically unchanging tonality and long‐

sustained chords symbolize the antiquity of the statue—with its mysterious gaze and

expression, unchanged as it looked out at over two‐thousand years of history—Athena’s

characteristic wisdom, and the mysterious nature of the divine.”


German composer Burkhard Mohr (b. 1955) was born in Gambach/Oberhessen and was

educated in Frankfurt where he studied music and theology. He also attended the Darmstadt

new music courses with Stockhausen, Kagel, Ligeti, and Xenakis. He has worked as a church

musician in Frankfurt‐Höchst and Wiesbaden and also taught music for many years at the

technical university in Frankfurt. Mohr has composed numerous musical works in many

genres, including several operas and orchestral works along with much chamber music and

music for choir and organ. Mohr’s music usually concerns itself with the blurry boundaries and

connections between atonal (12‐tone) and tonal (triadic) materials and with the unexpected (or

traditionally extended) formal designs that can result from teasing out these connections.

Wondrous Love (2022) was written for Carson Cooman and is a set of variations on the

familiar American folk hymn. At the top of the score, the composer has written

“Summer 2022 — When mankind’s ability for loving is threatened so hard.”


English composer Howard Skempton (b. 1947) was born in Cheshire and began composing at

a young age. He was a protégé of Cornelius Cardew with whom he studied privately and at

Morley College. In 1969, Skempton was one of the co‐founders (with Cardew and Michael

Parsons) of the Scratch Orchestra, a landmark ensemble in the history of English experimental

music. In addition to his active compositional output, Skempton has worked as a music editor

and a performer (on accordion and piano). Known for his economy of means and essentialist

compositional style, Skempton’s language has come to encompass a variety of genres and

scopes: from miniatures to large‐scale ensemble works. His catalog began in 1967 with solo

piano pieces, which have remained a consistent backbone of his work. Commissions and

projects in the decades that followed led to explorations of other genres, including orchestral

works and a great deal of chamber and choral music. His orchestral work Lento (1990) won

wide acclaim and brought his music to significant mainstream attention. In 2005, Skempton

joined the composition faculty of the Birmingham Conservatoire.

Affirmation (2020) was written for Carson Cooman. The composer expressed a desire

to “achieve a strong form whilst also using a chromatic language.” Rather than a

traditionally goal‐directed, Germanic conception of chromaticism, the chromaticism in

this piece is articulated through consistently shifting perspectives on the harmonies.


Villemo Daneling (b. 1977) was born in Västerås, Sweden and was raised in Tomelilla. She was

educated in organ at the Malmö Academy of Music and has worked as an organist and church

music in Ystad, Hörby, Orsa, and Simrishamn. Daneling has also pursued active freelance

activities as a choir director, singer, and accompanist. As a composer, she has written a variety

of instrumental and vocal works.

Gotlandssvit (Gotland Suite) (2021) is inspired by scenes from Gotland, Sweden's

largest island.


Japanese composer and pianist Yûitirô Katô (b. 1984) began playing the piano in 1987 and gave

his first concerto performance (a Haydn concerto) in 1992. In 1996 he began composing and has

focused on what he has called “new counterpoint music,” based strongly on Medieval and

Renaissance influences. Katô has written pieces for orchestra, chamber ensembles, piano,

organ, and chorus.

Variations No. 4 (2010) consists of a theme followed by seven variations. The theme

itself is bipartite, where the second part is a slightly decorated version of the first. This

structure is retained throughout the first six variations. The final seventh variation is a



Thomas Åberg (b. 1952) was born in Stockholm, Sweden and works there as composer and

concert organist. Most of his works are written for the organ and are often characterized by

their rhythmic joy, simplicity, and humor. He has stated that “music must bring enjoyment,

without abandoning reverence,” and as such his style often uses the most basic of musical

materials to create a discourse that is both spiritual and visceral. Åberg’s music speaks with a

distinctly Swedish voice and emotional aesthetic, and since the early 1980s his works have

become an important part of the Scandinavian organ literature. His music has been performed

by organists at festivals throughout Europe, Asia, and the USA. He also tours regularly

worldwide as concert organist with his own works. In December 2012, Carson Cooman released

a CD (Legends in the Garden) devoted to Åberg’s organ compositions and also has recorded

more than 70 other Åberg works for YouTube.

Toccata No. 2 (1982) was the second piece in Åberg’s cycle of toccatas—currently

numbering 20 and dating from 1981 through 2019. The early toccatas in particular focus

on vibrant rhythms, free chromaticism, and quick juxtapositions.


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