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2022–23 ASU Organ Series celebrates female organists, composers of color

Large, ornate organ.

ASU's Fritts Organ

October 27, 2022

The Arizona State University School of Music, Dance and Theatre’s 2022–23 Organ Series is a celebration of the margins of the organ repertoire.

“We have a vast body of music composed for the instrument dating back to the 14th century, so it’s been fun to explore the many works written for organ by underrepresented composers,” said Kimberly Marshall, Patricia and Leonard Goldman Endowed Professor of Organ in the School of Music, Dance and Theatre.

Marshall said the American Guild of Organists has made a renewed commitment to promote female organists, whose support she has personally benefited from throughout her career.

“With the recent emphasis on exploring music by women and BIPOCBlack, Indigenous and people of color composers, I was inspired to create a new program called ‘Musical Roads to Freedom,’” said Marshall.

The program will include music by Black composers Florence Price, Sharon Willis and William Grant Still, as well as the first organ work by Navajo (Diné) composer Connor Chee. Also included are works by Johann Sebastian Bach.

Guest artists Ilona Kubiaczyk-Adler, ASU alumna and director of music at Pinnacle Presbyterian in Scottsdale, Arizona, and Jillian Gardner, an award-winning performer who spearheaded the creation of a special branch of the American Guild of Organists for young organists, will round out this year’s series.

Marshall said she is excited for audiences to witness Gardner’s artistry and passion for the instrument firsthand as she represents the bright future for the organ in America.

“Kubiaczyk-Adler and Gardner have a wealth of knowledge and experience, and I know that listeners will come away from their concerts with a whole new appreciation of what the organ can do,” said Marshall.

Polish organist Kubiaczyk-Adler will explore the cultural history of Eastern Europe through organ music by composers from Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia, Russia and the Czech Republic in a program titled “Discovering Eastern Europe.”

Gardner, an American organist, will celebrate the diverse sources of organ music from her own country in a program called “The Joyful Color of America.” She will perform works by William Grant Still and Diane Bish and an arrangement of Bach by the legendary Virgil Fox.

To conclude the series, Marshall’s organ studio will present a concert to celebrate organ music by female composers. The concert will be a culmination of the Women in the West: Arizona Musforum Conference, which is part of the 2023 national Conference of Musforum, an organization that advocates for female organists as concert artists, teachers and liturgical musicians.

Marshall said conference attendees from around the United States will be in attendance to hear ASU students perform music on ASU’s Fritts and Traeri organs in Organ Hall.

2022–23 ASU Organ Concert Series:

"Musical Roads to Freedom" with Kimberly Marshall
2:30 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 30
Organ Hall

"Discovering Eastern Europe" with Ilona Kubiaczyk-Adler, organ
2:30 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 22
Organ Hall

"Joyful Color of America" with Jillian Gardner
2:30 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 5
Organ Hall

"ASU Organ Studio: Celebrating Women’s Organ Music!"
2:30 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 19
Organ Hall
Free admission

All Herberger Institute students, faculty and staff and Mirabella residents are eligible for complimentary tickets to most events ticketed through the Herberger Institute box office. Click buy tickets to obtain your complimentary tickets using your 10-digit ASU ID as the promo code.

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