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06/02/2016

July 3 Organ Recital By Murray Somerville Will Raise Money for Youth Music Lessons

Quick Facts

 This event is one of a series of summer recitals presented by the Charlotte Chapter of the American Guild of Organists to benefit the Stigall Scholarship program.
 The 7 p.m. recital will be held in Byrnes Auditorium and is free and open to the public. Donations will be taken at the door following the program.

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D.B. Johnson organ 

ROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA – An organ recital by Murray Forbes Somerville, former Harvard University organist and choirmaster, is set for July 3 at Winthrop University. The event will raise money for organ lessons for area high school students.

It is one of a series of summer recitals presented by the Charlotte Chapter of the American Guild of Organists to benefit the Stigall Scholarship program. The scholarships, named for Anne and Robert Stigall, longtime musicians at Myers Park Presbyterian Church, underwrite the cost of organ lessons for young musicians.

Somerville, who also is the artistic director emeritus of Nashville's Music City Baroque period instrument ensemble, will perform on Winthrop’s famed D.B Johnson Memorial Organ. The 7 p.m. recital will be held in Byrnes Auditorium and is free and open to the public.

Donations will be taken at the door following the program. 

Listen to Somerville talk about Winthrop's prized organ: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZoEWmZJQYUw

The July 3 recital will feature two patriotic pieces – “My country, tis of thee” and “The Star-Spangled Banner” – arranged by composer John Knowles Paine, who was appointed Harvard’s first university organist and choirmaster. Somerville’s wife, Hazel, a Winthrop alumna from the Class of 1969 who served on the faculty of Vanderbilt University as artistic director of the children's choruses at the Blair School of Music, will join him at the organ for Carson Cooman’s “York Concertato.” The program also includes four other selections, including works by composer Johann Sebastian Bach.

Born in London and raised in Africa, Somerville studied in Germany, at Oxford, and in New York City, where he met wife Hazel. Somerville’s doctorate is from New England Conservatory in Boston.

The Somervilles, who were awarded Winthrop’s Medal of Honor in the Arts in 2012, also have ensured that music and organ enthusiasts will have more opportunities to hear and appreciate Winthrop’s D.B. Johnson Memorial Organ, thanks to their generous contributions to establish two funds - TheHazel and Murray Somerville Organ Performance Endowment and The Friends of D.B. Johnson Memorial Organ Performance Fund. The funds will provide programming support for the organ and created the Friends of the D.B. Johnson Memorial Organ Performance Fund Recital Series.

Murray Somerville has presented organ recitals in concert halls, cathedrals and churches on three continents, and has recorded several critically acclaimed organ and choral CDs. He has conducted orchestras and choirs across the United States and in Europe; he founded the Harvard Baroque Chamber Orchestra and the Harvard Choral Fellows program; and has served on the boards of the Boston Camerata, Early Music America and the Charleston Bach Society.

The Somervilles now make their home in Charleston and in York, both in South Carolina.

The D.B. Johnson organ in Byrnes Auditorium is a four-manual instrument built in 1955 by the Aeolian-Skinner company of Boston and was the last instrument finished by famed organ designer G. Donald Harrison. It is unique in being preserved exactly as he left it, and is one of the most notable instruments of its kind in the Southeast.

For more information, contact Judy Longshaw, news and media services manager, at 803/323-2404 or e-mail her at longshawj@winthrop.edu.


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