A New Kind of Organ Concert: Audience Outreach through Multimedia Presentations

Aaron Sunstein

Thursday, June 23, 9 AM

Digital presentation technology has created many teaching opportunities for musicians, including organists. This workshop introduces a new type of organ event that combines a multimedia presentation designed for a general audience with a shortened concert.

A step beyond written or verbal program notes, multimedia presentations allow for musicians to display and highlight specific aspects of works being performed. Well-executed presentations make it possible for all sorts of audiences to quickly experience the connection between written score and sounding result that is at the heart of performance. Multimedia presentations are ideal for exploring the connections between organ music and other disciplines such as history, theology, language, and mathematics. Organ music specifically is ideally suited for multimedia presentations due to the aesthetic and architectural qualities of the instrument itself.

While many classical musicians have embraced the possibilities of integrating multimedia presentations into performances, this has been less common in organ recitals to this point. This workshop will include several examples of successful multimedia presentations related to both organ music and other classical music genres including two concert/multimedia presentations of my own design: By the Waters of Babylon: Text and Music Relationships in Two Chorale Fantasias for Lent and Bachs Clavierübung III: A Sacred Design. Using these models, the workshop will identify criteria for successful multimedia presentations about organ music for 21st century audiences.

Aaron Sunstein serves as Minister of Music at First Lutheran Church in Carlisle, PA where he directs four choirs and plays the Aeolian-Skinner organ (Opus 1155/1951). He is a doctoral candidate at Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. While in residence at Indiana, he served as Associate Instructor for the organ department, teaching lessons, undergraduate sacred music and undergraduate organ literature. His teachers are Delbert Disselhorst, Chris Young, Gary Verkade and Michael Kleinschmidt. A prize winner in several national organ competitions, Aaron is involved in a long-term project performing, writing about, and recording Gunther Schuller’s organ music.