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Concert marks UNM organ’s 50th anniversary

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The University of New Mexico will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 2,471-pipe Holtkamp organ in Keller Hall on Sunday.

Cathedral of St. John music director Maxine Thévenot will perform pieces from the 1500s to contemporary music, including works by Bach, Denis Bédard, Noel Goemanne, Hermann Schroeder, Nicholas Bruhns, Antonio Cabezón and Louis Vierne.

“The program highlights the strengths of the instrument,” Thévenot said. “The organ was built in Keller Hall at a time that was trying to emulate 17th century baroque instruments.”

The concert will open with Catholic Church musician Schroeder’s fanfare Kleine Praeludien und Intermezzi, opus 9, then moves to Danish-German composer Bruhns’ 17th century Praeludium in E minor.

Cabezón’s Diferencias sobre ‘El Canto del Cabellero’ will follow. Cabezón was a blind Renaissance composer.

“Here we are in New Mexico,” Thévenot said. “I thought it would be fun to have some music from 16th century Spain.”

Bach’s Pièce d’orgue BWV 572 is a French-inspired work, complete with French notations. Thévenot will follow the piece with contemporary composer Vierne’s romantic Symphonie I.

“People will have the opportunity to hear the organ’s solo stops on the organ emulating the flute and the oboe,” Thévenot said.

The aging organ needs work, and organizers hope the concert functions as a kickoff to some fundraising.

Thévenot won the Candadian Bach competition in 2000, and her recital career has taken her to London’s Westminster Abbey, Notre Dame de Paris and Germany’s Magdeburger Dom.