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Published: Sunday, 3/16/2008

Concert celebrates Bach's 323rd birthday

BY SALLY VALLONGO
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Ms. Lippincott Ms. Lippincott
HANDOUT NOT BLADE PHOTO Enlarge

The Toledo Symphony will go back to Bach Johann Sebastian Bach with a special tribute concert at 8 p.m. Thursday in the Peristyle, which is one day before the famous composer s birthday in 1685.

So, happy 323rd birthday, Johnny!

Instead of candles on a cake, guest performer Joan Lippincott will be seated at the Toledo Museum of Art s historic Skinner organ console.

Built to handle big romantic works, this 1926 instrument (Opus 603) has 3,201 pipes of wood and metal. Each pipe sounds when air from an electric blower is forced over a protruding lip think of a pennywhistle and begins to vibrate in a set pitch.

At the console keyboard, the organist controls not only which pipes sound at any time but how they sound. A variety of stops the museum s Skinner has 59 allow changes to the color and quality of sound, so the organ can and will come across like many instruments: flute, brass, string, and, yes, organ.

Organs were much simpler in the 18th century, when Bach was known more as a church organist and choirmaster than a composer. But since his death, his huge body of work has gained status as one of the premiere challenges for organists, especially Lippincott, who has gained an international reputation as an interpreter

of the Baroque composer.

In Toledo, she is to perform some of Bach s best and most beloved works. Two of the most famous Toccatas and Fugues will begin and end the concert: the F Major and the D Minor, BWV 565.

Bach Bach
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In between, Lippincott will fill the hall with Bach s Sinfonia from Cantata No. 29, BWV 29; a Pastorale in F, BWV 590, and Three Chorale settings, among other works.

For nearly two decades Lippincott was principal organist for Princeton University and chair of the organ department at nearby Westminster Choir College, which boasts the largest organ department in the world.

Today, she has a full-time career as soloist, recording artist (Gothic), clinician, teacher, and promoter of the King of Instruments.

A graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, as well as Westminster Choir College, she also studied at Union Theological Seminary and Princeton Theological Seminary. Lippincott also performs and records works by Durufle, Mozart, Mendelssohn, Widor, Alain, and Pinkham.

Tickets for the recital at 8 p.m. Thursday in the Toledo Museum of Art Peristyle, part of the symphony s Visiting Artist series, are $22 to $45 at 419-246-8000 or www.toledosymphony.com.

Contact Sally Vallongo at: svallongo@theblade.com.



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