This past summer Gail Archer (Director, Music Program, Barnard College) toured Poland, Ukraine, and Russia in addition to stops in Western Europe, to give twenty organ recitals. What follows here is a short summary of the summer 2019 tour:
Each summer, I play twenty organ recitals at the music festivals in Europe. The 2019 tour took me to Poland, Ukraine and Russia in Eastern Europe, and the British Isles, Spain and Italy in Western Europe. Every organ is unique, so I traveled with seven different musical programs to match the possibilities of the instruments and the artistic goals of the presenters. At the Lutheran Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul in the center of Moscow, I played the Russian music from my 2017 CD, A Russian Journey composed by Glazunov, Cui, Mussorgsky, Slonimsky, Lijapunov and Shaversashvili. In Rivne, Chernivtsi, and Lviv, Ukraine, the program featured contemporary Ukrainian and American composers. My new CD, Chernivtsi, recorded there in summer, 2017 on grants from the Harriman Institute and Barnard College, will be released in January, 2020. The Polish concerts took me to Cracow, Lublin and Gdansk with visits to churches in nearby towns. St. Mary’s Cathedral, Cracow on the main square is one of the most beautiful cathedrals in Poland. I played an early music program on the choir organ at the front of the cathedral, as the principle organ and the church are undergoing restoration. Two of the most beautiful churches and organs were in Pasym and Zarnowiec, Poland, in the countryside near Gdansk. The Pasym church dates from the 15th century with a 17th-century organ (shown below), fully restored and updated, and the Zarnowiec parish dates from the 13th century with an organ from the mid-19th century that sounds like silver bells.