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Cathedral Music celebrates milestone

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Calling all Muggles and Wizards and Bernstein fans! The Friends of Cathedral Music will open its 25th anniversary season with the “Harry Potter Symphonic Suite,” Leonard Bernstein’s “Chichester Psalms” and a slate of artists from the U.S. and abroad.

All concerts will take place at the Cathedral of St. John, 318 Silver SW.

The series encompasses renowned organist Isabelle Demers, the popular children’s “Messiah,” virtuoso Chimayó-born guitarist Genevieve Leitner and a premiere penned for the Cathedral Choir by acclaimed British composer Simon Lole.

“I’ve invited artists from across the country,” Cathedral Music director Maxine Thévenot said. “Every concert really highlights the talents of the organists in this country and abroad and our wonderful choir.”

The Texas-based organist Demers will open the series on Sunday, Sept. 9, with her own transcription of the “Harry Potter” music of John Williams.

“She is an organ virtuoso like no other in the world,” Thévenot said. “She gets invited to all the big organ series in London, France and Germany.”

The cathedral musicians will present their third annual “Concert of Psalms & Remembrance” on Nov. 10. The concert commemorates the armistice that ended World War I. The singers also will perform Bernstein’s Hebrew psalms in honor of the composer’s 100th anniversary.

Dec. 15 will bring the popular children’s “Messiah,” pairing choirs from Albuquerque Academy, the Rio Rancho Youth Chorus, Roosevelt Middle School, Lincoln Middle School and the Sandia Youth Choir with the professional choir Polyphony: Voices of New Mexico.

To break the winter blues, guitarist Genevieve Leitner will make her cathedral debut Jan. 27. Leitner has performed in Chile, Germany, Austria and Argentina.

On Feb. 22, New York Polyphony will make its third visit to the cathedral, focusing on rare and rediscovered Renaissance and medieval works.

The music of Bach will transform the church into a coffeehouse on March 22-24 with the composer’s “Coffee Cantata.” The Breve coffee shop will offer the beverage served with crepes. The singers are Arwen Myers, soprano; Edmund Connolly, baritone; and Tjett Gerdom, tenor.

On April 12, New Mexico soprano Kathlene Ritch will join British countertenor Charles Humphries on Pergolesi’s “Stabat Mater.”

May 19 will bring the cathedral premiere of a new anthem by English composer Simon Lole, one of the most sought-after composers and arrangers on the island.

From May 31 to June 9, the Reuter Organ Festival will draw musicians from across the U.S. and the British Isles to the largest pipe organ in the state, at the Cathedral of St. John. The musicians will include Tom Winpenny of St. Albans Cathedral in England and Richard Elliot, principal organist at Salt Lake City’s Mormon Tabernacle.

The festival will end with a concert of music by Arvo Pärt and Michael Tippett by the cathedral choirs with Michael Shu on violin and Patrick Scott on organ.

Tickets range from $10-$35 at

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