Kotzschmar Season On Sale!

The Friends of the Kotzschmar Organ are pleased to announce their 2022-23 season! 

The Romantics | Saturday , July 16th, 2022 at 7:00PM | Merrill Auditorium

Municipal Organist James Kennerley launches the 2022-23 season with a concert of music from the Romantic era. The nineteenth century saw a marked departure from the rationalism of the Enlightenment; music moved towards expressing intense drama, transcendent virtuosity, and extremes of emotion. Musical instruments, perhaps none more so than the pipe organ, were adapted to enable these new musical ideas to sound forth. César Franck, who’s 200th anniversary we celebrate this year, was the foremost nineteenth-century French composer, represented in this program by two major symphonic organ works including the beloved Troisième Chorale. The program will include the monumental organ sonata by Julius Reubke, who died at age 24 and was one of Franz Liszt’s favorite pupils. James has created two new organ transcriptions of orchestral works – the Hungarian March, and Mendelssohn’s Hebrides overture. The music will be a perfect match for the Mighty Kotzschmar.

John Weaver Memorial Concert: played by Guest Artist Richard Elliott | Friday, August 19th, 2022 at 7:00PM | Merrill Auditorium

Join renowned organ virtuoso, Richard Elliott, for our first annual John Weaver Memorial Concert, celebrating the late John Weaver (1937-2021), who concertized annually on the Kotzschmar for half a century and whose performances and personality were treasured by all. One of John’s finest students at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia, Richard Elliott is now Principal Organist at the Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City and has thrilled audiences across the globe with his ingenious programming and fiery technique. Richard is no stranger to Portland audiences, and his program will be sure to pay homage to his teacher and take advantage of the many sounds the Kotzschmar has to offer.


Orff’s Carmina Burana | With James Kennerley, ChoralArt, and Local Choirs | Sunday October 2nd, 2022 at 3:30PM | Merrill Auditorium

Join us for a performance of Carl Orff’s masterpiece, Carmina Burana, in a new arrangement for organ and percussion accompaniment by Municipal Organist, James Kennerley. FIrst performed in 1937, Carmina Burana takes its title from the 800-year-old manuscript containing poems and other dramatic texts that are distinctly irreverent, bawdy, and satirical. They were mostly written in Latin, composed by clergy and students while traveling around Europe. The texts focus on themes that resonate as loudly today as they did in the 13th century: the fickleness of wealth and fortune, the ephemeral nature of life, the joy of the return of Spring, and the pleasures and perils of drinking, gambling, lust, and gluttony. Orff composed music for 24 of these–of which the first, O Fortuna, has become iconic through its use in movies and other popular culture. The voices of ChoralArt, local choirs, stunning soloists, percussion and the 7101 pipes of the Kotzschmar Organ join forces with Municipal Organist James Kennerley for this world premiere transcription performance. James will perform a solo organ work to begin the performance.


The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari with Accompaniment by James Kennerley
Friday, October 21st, 2022 at 6:30pm | Saco Drive In
Saturday, October 29th, 2022 at 7:00PM | Merrill Auditorium

Hailed by critics as the first true horror film, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari was released worldwide in 1920. Directed by Robert Wiene, it is now considered the quintessential example of German Expressionist cinema. The fantasy-like graphic style, with high-contract images, twisted landscapes, harsh shadows, and sharp-pointed shapes forms the backdrop for the story of the insane hypnotist, Dr Caligari, who manipulates one of his patients to commit murders while sleepwalking. Like all films from this time, there is no sound recorded with the movie itself. Municipal Organist James Kennerley, hailed for his imaginative movie accompaniments, will improvise a live musical score to this most Halloweeny of silent films.


Christmas With Kennerley | Monday December 19th, 2022 at 7:00PM | Merrill Auditorium

We are returning, with our audience, to Merrill Auditorium for our beloved annual Christmas concert. James Kennerley will be joined by singers, bell ringers and brass. More details on these special guests to come. For those who have joined us before, it will be a welcome return to normalcy. For those who have not joined us before, we think it is the perfect event to slide you into the holiday spirit of love and good cheer.


Bach Birthday Bash | Saturday, March 25th, 2023 at 7:00PM | Merrill Auditorium

Join James Kennerley, Portland’s Eleventh Municipal Organist, for a performance of music composed by the High Priest of the organ: Johann Sebastian Bach. Born on March 21, 1685, Bach was renowned during his lifetime as a “world-class organist” – more famous for his virtuosic organ playing than for his compositions. Bach’s organ music has captured the minds of performers and audiences for generations ever since. Come to this concert to hear why! Kennerley also plans to play works influenced by Bach. Details to come.