Third Thursdays at the MAG: Cosmopolitan Connections

The Third Thursdays with Eastman’s Italian Baroque Organ at the Memorial Art Gallery concert series returns this November with a performance by Kola Owolabi, Professor of Organ at the University of Notre Dame. His program features works by Georg Muffat, Girolamo Frescobaldi, Francisco Correa de Arauxo, and Franz Xaver Murschhauser. In a unique collaboration between the Memorial Art Gallery and the Eastman School of Music, two rare volumes from Eastman’s Sibley Music Library will be on display to accompany the concert – the first edition of Muffat’s Apparatus musico-organisticus, and a copy of Frescobaldi’s Toccate d’intavolatura (1637). The concert will take place on November 18, 2021 at 7:30PM in the Memorial Art Gallery Fountain Court. 

Kola Owolabi is Professor of Organ at the University of Notre Dame. He previously held faculty appointments at the University of Michigan from 2014 to 2020, and at Syracuse University from 2006 to 2014. Dr. Owolabi has had an active career as a solo recitalist, including performances at St. Thomas Church Fifth Avenue in New York, St. James Episcopal Church in Los Angeles, The Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester, NY, St. Paul’s Anglican Church in Toronto, Cornell University, Pacific Lutheran University and Yale University. International venues include Klosterneuburg Abbey, Austria, Église du Bouclier in Strasbourg, France and the University of the West Indies in Mona, Jamaica. He has performed numerous concerts as organist and harpsichordist with the Grammy-nominated vocal ensemble Seraphic Fire and Firebird Chamber Orchestra, based in Miami, FL. He has released two solo CD recordings on the Raven label: “Sacred Expressions: Twentieth-Century Music for Organ” featuring works by Olivier Messiaen, Petr Eben and Calvin Hampton performed on the historic Holtkamp organ at Syracuse University; and Jacques Boyvin: Four Suites from the Second Livre d’Orgue (1700), performed on the 1732 Andreas Silbermann organ in Saint-Maurice Abbey, Ebersmunster, France.

Dr. Owolabi is a published composer and has received commissions from the Royal Canadian College of Organists and the Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto. His solo organ composition Dance was selected for the Royal Canadian College of Organists National Competition in August 2013, where all of the finalists performed this composition. His choral works have been performed internationally by ensembles such as the Santa Cruz Chorale, CA, Nashville Chamber Singers, Illinois Wesleyan University Choir and the Elmer Isler Singers in Toronto.

Eastman’s Italian Baroque Organ was built around 1770 in central Italy. Restored and installed in 2005 at the Memorial Art Gallery, the instrument is the only one of its kind in North America. The organ’s beautiful, authentic sounds have been heard by thousands of visitors who attend weekly Sunday mini-recitals and special “Third Thursday” concerts by internationally celebrated guest artists and Eastman musicians.

Admission to the concert is included with Gallery admission, which is half-price on Thursday evenings after 5pm and free to University of Rochester student ID holders. This concert is made possible by the Rippey Endowed Trust.

The next Third Thursday concert is titled “O Blessed Night,” and will take place on December 17, 2021. Works by Handel, Vivaldi, Poglietti, Buxtehude, and Scarlatti. Edoardo Bellotti, organist.

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