Arcadia Players - New England's Period Instrument Ensemble
Arcadia Players embraces
practice to illuminate
and invigorate the
great Western heritage
of vocal and
The organ at South Church
Organ Concert by Ian Watson
A Benefit Recital for Arcadia Players
featuring works of Bach, Franck, Elgar and Herbert Howells
Sunday, May 14, at 4:00 p.m.
South Congregational Church, Amherst, MA
Admission at the door (cash or check):
Suggested donation : Adults $40
Students with ID $10
About this event.
Organist Ian Watson, Artistic Director of Arcadia Players, presents a solo recital at South Congregational Church, Amherst, on Sunday, May 14, 2017, at 4:00 p.m. His program features music of J.S. Bach, César Franck, Sir Edward Elgar and Herbert Howells, played on the Casavant organ restored and installed in the sanctuary several years ago. The church is located at 1066 South East Street on the South Amherst Common, with parking behind the building and nearby.
Ian Watson is highly regarded as a keyboard performer of “virtuosic panache and brilliantly articulated playing” (The Times of London) who infuses a wide musical repertory with sweeping vitality. He is currently Artistic Director of Connecticut Early Music Festival and of Arcadia Players, Associate Conductor and Principal Keyboard Player of Boston’s Handel and Haydn Society, and Music Director/Organist at First Parish in Lincoln. Recognized in his teens at the Royal Academy of Music in London as an outstanding organist, Watson spent the first decade of his career as organist of St. Margaret’s, Westminster Abbey. He continued as organist or music director at other major London churches while expanding his conducting activities. Today, having performed and conducted throughout Europe and in the United States, he is admired as a commanding and versatile musician who infuses a wide repertory with sweeping vitality.
The organ on which Watson will perform at South Church is the oldest extant instrument in the United States from the illustrious organ builders Casavant Frères. Built in 1896, the organ known as the “Saint-Hyacinthe” was installed in a Rhode Island church where it remained until the church was closed in a merger. A buyer from Boston purchased the instrument, with an agreement that the Northampton firm of Messrs. Czelusniak et Dugal, Inc., would rebuild and install it when a new home was found. In 2011, with the Berkshire organ at South Church demanding costly repairs, the congregation voted to purchase the Casavant organ. Its wind chests and pipes were restored, a new case built, and the installation of this historic instrument completed the following year. Those who heard a demonstration recital shortly afterward spoke of the organ’s tonal beauty and “amazing color,” noting that hearing it was “like being in a Parisian organ loft.” Arcadia Players is pleased to present Ian Watson in this benefit concert, which promises to take the hearer to that Parisian organ loft as well as to Bach’s and to the grand organ lofts of London.
Arcadia Players embraces historical performance practice to illuminate and invigorate the great Western heritage of vocal and instrumental music. The ensemble, founded in 1988 by Margaret Irwin-Brandon, has been led by Ian Watson for the past twelve years in revelatory performances of masterpieces from the Renaissance to Beethoven throughout southern New England.