Cameron Carpenter pulls out all the stops

Time was that “bad boy of the organ” meant something different than it does today – but we’re not going to get into that. We’re still bummed out that the domain has been taken.

So what makes Cameron Carpenter such a big deal – beyond the fact that he looks like he ought to be playing in a punk rock band? Maybe it’s because he says things like this: “The organ is the elder statesman of all the instruments, just like Bill Clinton before the Lewinsky affair. And now it’s being pulled into this scandal. The organ’s entire existence is called into question.”

That line is in the blurb for his show with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra at the Winspear Centre tonight, playing the big-ass Davis Pipe Organ that lurks at the the back wall of the hall like a giant, sleeping Kraken. Cameron is referring to an original piece he’s going to perform called The Scandal, Opus 3. No word on the whereabouts of Opuses 1 and 2, but the Pennsylvania organist’s concerto is expected to turn local listeners’ expectations of the frumpy pipe organ on its ear, so to speak. It is, as he describes, “a pseudo symphonic tone poem with organ” that is a musical expression of a modern celebrity scandal complete with the media feeding frenzy. The rest of the show? No, definitely NOT Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor – the first few bars of which will automatically pop into the brains of anyone who even gets near a pipe organ. God forbid.

Cameron is the bad boy of the organ, remember? Instead, for the rest of the show, we will get songs that represent one of the most rebellious forms of music known to man – by Cole Porter. And George Gershwin. Later will come solo organ music “of his own choosing.” We simply can’t wait.

Buy tickets here, or call 780.428.1414 for information.