With artistic ease, he lets his toes and heels dance over the pedals (sometimes simultaneously), while his hands move over the manuals at lightning speed: Cameron Carpenter pushes the limits of what the organ can do in terms of forces of sound and colour. In order to do so, the young American keyboard virtuoso uses every free moment his hands and feet have to change stops or to adjust the sound intensity with the swell pedals. A physical challenge, which this exceptional musician, born in Pennsylvania in 1981, meets with hard training: “It is incredibly important to keep in shape.”
Cameron Carpenter has been spoken about since a complete performance he gave of Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier when he was only eleven years old. He went on to study organ and composition at the North Carolina School of the Arts, then at the Julliard School in New York. Due to his flamboyant appearance, he is often described today as a “bird of paradise in his field”, he wants to revolutionise the rather dusty image of ‘his’ instrument. “The musical traditions I deal with,” he says, have “nothing to do with the organ. They belong more to Karajan, Horowitz and Argerich.”
For his second appearance in the Philharmonie’s organ series, the adopted Berliner will perform his own arrangements for the organ in addition to original compositions. An opening concert in this form, given by Cameron Carpenter, will also start the Philharmonie’s organ concert series in the coming years.
Highlights from the concert can be seen in our trailer.