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Ken Cowan putting him on the spot with video rolling

Ken Cowan is one of the top concert organists in the world today. His keyboard technique and musical skills are shared by a small number of elite organists. Ken Cowan is also a easygoing and humble guy – people love his down to earth personality.

Ken Cowan made his first recording with JAV Recordings while he was a graduate student at Yale back in 1998. The recording was made on the Skinner Organ at Jefferson Avenue Presbyterian Church in downtown Detroit. Since then Ken Cowan has gone on to teach organ at Westminster Choir School (AKA Ryder College) and now is Associate Professor and Head of the Organ Program at Rice University. He is represented for his concert engagements by Karen McFarlane Artists.

When Ken learned that the pipe organ in the childhood church of the owner of JAV Recordings was beautifully restored he said he would come to record some stuff on it. In May of 2014 he recorded Bach’s Gigue Fugue, Wagner’s Meistersinger Overture, Elgar’s Nimrod from Enigma Variations and The Allegro from Widor’s Symphonie No. 6. In May of 2015 he recorded Liszt’s Variations on Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen; Seth Bingham’s Roulade; George Thalben-Ball’s Variations on a theme of Paganini and Reger’s Hallelujah Gott zu Loben.

The best video he made in 2015 was a totally unplanned one. It was late at night at Our Lady of Refuge, we (he) needed a break,  there is really nothing open at that hour around the church, we considered raiding the refrigerator in the parish’s rectory, but instead of a late night snack Ken Cowan played some totally unplanned for music. Ken didn’t even have the music to what I asked him to play. He just, sat and effortlessly played Liszt’s Mephisto Waltz and Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries. Enjoy this unplanned video and if you enjoy it please click here and buy a CD with Ken playing the Liszt’s Mephisto Waltz and the Ride of the Valkyries on two different pipe organs.

The Reeds on this pipe organ were beautifully restored by David Schopp of A.R. Schopp’s Sons. The same firm clean the flues, releathered the windchests. The pipe organ was re-installed by Quimby Pipe Organs, who also oversaw the console work.


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