When the Kennedy Center opened in 1971, the Concert Hall boasted a fine pipe organ given by the great philanthropist Catherine Filene Shouise. It gradually wore out over the decades and became essentially unusable.
Last fall, an impressive new instrument constructed by Casavant Freres was installed, with 85 ranks and nearly 5,000 pipes, and the center has big plans for it during the 2013-14 season.
There will be three organ recitals featuring leading organists -- Cameron Carpenter, a brilliant player and showman (suggesting a sci-fi combination of Virgil Fox and Liberace) on Oct. 16; Paul Jacobs, chair of the organ department at Juilliard, on Feb. 5; and the prize-winning Iveta Apkalna on May 21. Tickets for the recitals are only $15.
Carpenter will also be the soloist in the finale of Saint-Saens' "Organ" Symphony with the NSO at the orchestra's annual gala Sept. 29; the complete symphony will be played, with William Neil as organ soloist, atsubscription concerts in October.
Throughout the season, the instrument will be get more attention during Organ Postludes following select NSO concerts and free Millennium Stage programs.