Unless you play the organ or you closely follow classical music, you are probably not familiar with Cameron Carpenter. He’s one of those musicians who deserves widespread recognition (he was nominated for a Grammy®, after all), but he doesn’t get it. Yet.
He’ll play on the Orpheum Theater’s Wurlitzer (which was originally installed in the building in 1927) on Nov. 7 at 7:30 p.m. Cameron is one of the only performing artists to make a practice of meeting his audience in person before his performances – often spending over an hour before each concert shaking hands and signing autographs on the floor of a concert venue.
Here’s a primer on Cameron so you can be in the know now:
1. He was a keyboard prodigy. By the time he was 11, he could play Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier; while in high school, he transcribed for the organ more than 100 major works, including Gustav Mahler's complete Symphony No. 5. Now, he’s no longer referred to as a prodigy; you’ll hear him referred to as a “Maverick Organist,” “an exorbitant virtuoso, the Vladimir Horowitz of the organ” and a “madly original organist.”
2. He’s not what you’d expect as an organist. A reviewer who attended a show in Texas wrote: “Mr. Carpenter’s appearance was by definition newsworthy... the sheer virtuosity was staggering. Not yet 30, he is the most controversial organist alive. His concert attire, demeanor, repertory and style are all unconventional.”
3. This won’t be a boring, dusty old show. Showmanship is his game, and he’s king of this game. “Carpenter’s keyboard and pedal gifts inhabit jaw-dropping terrain. His fingers are so fluent and acrobatic that he darts easily from manual to manual. His feet… would give Fred Astaire a run for his tap-dancing money.” (That was written in the Cleveland Plain Dealer) The New Yorker wrote that Cameron’s “flamboyant presentation goes hand in hand with unquestioned virtuosity.”
Tickets are available at TicketOmaha.com and start as low as $25.