Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Dr. Carol Williams San Diego’s Civic Organist

San Diego has the distinct honor of being the only major West Coast city in the United States with an internationally acclaimed female Civic organist. Dr. Carol Williams, originally from Britain, is a respected award winning, concertizing, recording artist. She is also the artistic director for the Spreckels Organ Society.

                                          Concert organist Carol Williams & Composer,
                                                       Robert Jones at  Glocester Cathedral, UK
Organ concert audiences in the open air Balboa Park Pavilion are usually music lovers from all over the world. A few attendees from time to time have had the pleasure of hearing Dr. Williams perform in one of her magnificent live cathedral organ concerts in Europe. For those of us who cannot attend such a sumptuous musical feast, the Spreckels’ outdoor pipe organ with its restored sonic resonance is more than enough. During the Panama-California Exposition in 1915, sugar magnate John D. Spreckels presented San Diego with this magnificent instrument. And now, after 94 years, concerts on the Spreckels organ currently attract record crowds, numbering over 100,000 per year.(1)

If you are here in San Diego attending the Comic-con, or any other convention, treat yourself to a free Sunday afternoon concert. (A favorite: If you catch a Toccata/Fugue performance, or similar organ work with pedal, her florid solo pedal technique is amazing!-For a live performance of “Flight of the Bumblebee”--see: http://www.carolwilliamsnow.com )

Here is a reworked short article based on my first Carpe Noctum 2005 archives.
In brief, Dr. Williams, plays musical selections from Baroque to Jazz. Her repertoire includes American as well as European music.

A noted classical music scholar, transcriber, and arranger, Dr. Williams, from time to time, transcribes works in genres that are unavailable as solo organ pieces. Her transcriptions mediate compositional subtleties of complex orchestrations into sonic organ tapestries that honor the original work. She chooses quality transcriptions when suitable ones are available; her choices are intelligently accessible and yet challenging.

Although a stellar classical organist, Dr. Williams’ includes modern, avant-garde, and pop selections in her repertoire. They usually lean towards symmetrical forms replete with lush chordal voicings. Yet, she plays asymmetrical highly rhythmic discordant works with ease. Her stylings reflect discrete musical sensitivity.

Dr. Carol Williams adds a dash of quirky humor and genuine humility to her musicality that makes the most profoundly challenging works accessible to all.
Tourists and we locals are blessed with the presence of such a world class and truly gifted artist.

For more information: http://www.sosorgan.com/
Spreckels Organ Pavilion (619) 702-8138
2211 Pan American Rd E, San Diego, CA 92101
Balboa Park San Diego, CA

Peace Out,
Delores Fisher

1. For a brief historical synopsis, see: Edward S. Barr, Historian, “Big Music and A Big Man: John Dietrich Spreckels.” A Short History of the Spreckels Organ: Spreckels Organ Society.
Web. 20 July, 2010.

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