Concert, symposium highlight French composer Guilmant

The Department of Music in Arts & Sciences and the St. Louis chapter of the American Guild of Organists will present a concert and symposium highlighting the works of French composer Alexandre Guilmant (1837-1911) March 19-20.

The concert will commemorate the immense organ of 10,000 pipes built for Festival Hall, the primary concert venue of the 1904 World’s Fair. Guilmant, an esteemed performer and composer, presented more than 40 recitals on that organ.

Renowned concert organist Thomas Murray will present the commemorative recital at 8 p.m. today in Graham Chapel. The program includes several works by Guilmant, which he performed during the World’s Fair, as well as music of Nadia Boulanger.

The Guilmant Symposium will be from 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. March 20 in the Music Classroom Building. Lecture topics will include a history of the Festival Hall organ as well as discussions of Guilmant and his activities in America.

The Festival Hall organ was played twice daily during the World’s Fair to average crowds of 2,000. Afterward, the organ was purchased by the Wananaker Department Store in Philadelphia (now Lord & Taylor), where it remains the world’s largest pipe organ and continues to be played six days a week.

Guilmant served as organist of several Parisian churches, including La Trinité, and was renowned as a recitalist across Europe and in America. His compositions have been mainstays of the organ repertoire for 150 years.

His students at the Paris Conservatory included Marcel Dupré and Nadia Boulanger, the esteemed teacher of composition.

Murray is university organist and professor of music at Yale University. A specialist in the performance of 19th-century Romantic organ music, he has given recitals worldwide in addition to his concerts on Yale’s Newberry Memorial Organ in Woolsey Hall.

Murray is an honorary fellow of the Royal College of Organists in England. In 1986, he was named International Artist of the Year by the American Guild of Organists.

Tickets for today’s concert are $10 and will be available at the door. Cost for the symposium is $45 for adults and $35 for seniors and students.

For more information, call Kathleen Bolduan in the Depart-ment of Music at 935-5517 or go online to

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