Talented organist performs on historic instrument

Dr. William Tortolano, Professor Emeritus of Fine Arts and Music at Saint Michaels College, will give a recital of organ music at the United Church of Christ in Northfield on Thursday, July 24, at 7:30pm.

The historic William Stevens Organ dates from 1858. It has been modified and altered over the years, but through its many renovations it has retained its incredible sound. At one point it was completely renovated, and even received new hand crafted pipes by Robert Waters, President of the Watersmith Pipe Organ Company. The organ has two keyboards, pedals, and 11 stops, or rows of pipes. It retains its original 18 note pedal keyboard and 8’ Open Diapason row of 61 pipes. Additional parts came from the Tenth Avenue Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, North Carolina and the United Methodist Church in Rockland, Maine.

The many dynamic and moving tonalities of the Stevens Organ will be exemplified through the music of Froberger, Bustehude, Pachelbel, J.S. Back, Franck, Clarke, and Peeters, and the astounding closing Litanies by Alain. The program also includes two Vermont composed hymns: God of Our Fathers and I Sing A Song of the Saints of God.

Dr. William Tortolano is College Organist Emeritus and Professor Emeritus of Fine Arts at Saint Michael’s College. He taught at Saint Michael’s for 50 years. A graduate of Boston University, the New England Conservatory of Music, and l’Universite de Montreal, Tortolano was also a Conducting Fellow at the Berkshire Music Center. He has given organ recitals at l’Oratoire St. Joseph in Montreal and Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, authored books on choral music, Gregorian chant, and Samuel Coleridge-Taylor. He has a Yale University Fellowship in Medieval Music through the National Endowment for the Humanities and is a Visiting Fellow at the King’s and Trinity Colleges at Cambridge University. His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, conferred upon him the Medal of Honor: Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice for his work as an authority on Gregorian chant.

The concert is free and open to the public, however offerings will be accepted.