Ouachita Baptist University, in conjunction with the Central Arkansas Chapter of the American Guild of Organists, will host world-renowned organist James David Christie in concert Tuesday, Oct. 15. The concert will honor former Ouachita faculty member Russell Hodges and the 25th anniversary of the installation of the Reuter Organ featured in McBeth Recital Hall. The concert will be held in McBeth, located in Ouachita’s Mabee Fine Arts Center, at 7:30 p.m., and it is free and open to the public.
Christie has preformed throughout the world in solo concerts and with symphonies and is known as one of the most talented organists of his generation. He has performed throughout Europe, Australia and North America and has served as organist for the Boston Symphony Orchestra since 1978. He also has performed and recorded with major orchestras of Koblentz, London, Paris, Stuttgart and Vienna as well as Baltimore, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, San Diego, San Francisco and Seattle.
“We are so fortunate to be able to have an artist of his caliber on our campus,” said Dr. Ouida Keck, Addie Mae Maddox Professor of Music and coordinator of OBU’s keyboard studies program. “While he has played concerts all over the world, this is his first time to play in Arkansas. It will be a rare opportunity to hear our OBU organ played by the organist for the Boston Symphony Orchestra.”
Christie will begin the concert with “La Béatitude” from Charles Piroye’s Pièces choisies, followed by “Ciaccona in C” from Bernardo Storace’s Selva di Varie Compositioni d’Intavolatura and three variations of the Dutch tune “Daphne.” He will then perform his own transcription of Antonio Vivaldi’s “Concerto in D Major, RV 93,” followed by “Contrapunctus XI à 4 (triple fugue)” from Johann Sebastian Bach’s Art of Fugue (BWV 1080). Next, Christie will present his own composition “Élégie,” the fifth movement (“Acclamations”) from Jean Langlais’ Suite Médiévale and “Sicilienne” by Erland von Koch. He will conclude the concert with “Final,” the third movement from Alexandre Guilmant’s “Sonata I in D Minor, Op. 42.”
In addition to the concert, Christie will host a workshop Monday, Oct. 14, at 3 p.m. in McBeth Recital Hall for OBU keyboard students that is open and free to the general public. Christie will demonstrate how the organ works and also discuss the pieces he will play in his concert the following evening. Keck notes that the lecture will “help the listener appreciate his recital even more.”
One of Christie’s most significant achievements was in 1979 when he became the first American to win first place in the International Organ Competition in Bruges, Belgium. At the same competition he won the Prize of the Audience. It was the first time in the competition’s history that one organist won both awards. Christie has also been awarded an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree from the New England School of Law, the Outstanding Alumni Award from the New England Conservatory and numerous prizes for his recordings.
He is the founder and music director of Ensemble Abendmusik, a period instrument orchestra and chorus. He holds positions as distinguished artist in residence at the College of the Holy Cross, professor of organ at the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music and college organist at Wellesley College.
The concert will honor former Ouachita faculty member Russell Hodges, who recently retired as associate professor of music after 35 years at Ouachita. In addition to his duties teaching organ, piano, church music, music theory and general education courses, Hodges served as music librarian and was instrumental in the installation of Ouachita’s Reuter Organ.
“He was responsible for working with the Reuter Company to design the organ, and he supervised the installation of it 25 years ago,” Keck said.
For more information about the organ concert and workshop, contact Dr. Ouida Keck at email@example.com or (870) 245-5352.
By Kaitie Scott