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French organist Thierry Escaich will give an organ master course at the Focus-Abengoa Foundation on "Contemporary music and its future at the dawn of the 21st century"

February 5, 2009

The Focus-Abengoa Foundation is launching a new edition of the organ master course on Saturday 7 February, which will run until Monday 9 February, in the church of the Hospital de los Venerables given by French organist Thierry Escaich.

Professional organists that attend the course will be able to submerge themselves in the fascinating world of improvisation through Contemporary music and its future at the dawn of the 21st century. Masters of this musical discipline require an extensive knowledge of other areas, such as harmony, analysis, musical forms, etc. and need to practice constantly to avoid certain clichés that detract from the originality and spontaneity.

The professional organists will enjoy the master classes given by Thierry Escaich, who is known for his outstanding musical improvisation abilities, an area that he also teaches to the students of the Paris Conservatoire, where he is professor of this discipline. This course is the result of the educational and cultural commitment that the Focus-Abengoa Foundation has had with society for many years.

The participating organists will also have the opportunity to delve into contemporary music, playing works by Olivier Messiaen and Maurice Duruflé, among others.

Focus-Abengoa Foundation

Master organ course, Contemporary music and its future at the dawn of the 21st century given by French organist Thierry Escaich.

Saturday 7, Sunday 8 and Monday 9 February. Church of the Hospital de los Venerables. C/ Jamerdana s/n.

Professional organists only. Registration ends on 6 February.

Thierry Escaich

Famous organist and improviser, Thierry Escaich plays a prominent role in the creation of contemporary music. Since 1990, when he completed his studies at the Paris Conservatoire having obtained eight first prizes, his initial works have been recognised with the Franco-American Florence Blumenthal Foundation prize, awarded unanimously by a jury made up of Elliott Carter, Henri Dutilleux and Maurice Ohana, among others. More prizes have followed awarded by the French Institute and French Society of Authors, Composers and Music Publishers (including the Grand Prix de la musique symphonique in 2004) after he was awarded the Grand Prix des Lycéens in 2002 en route to receiving the Victoires de la Musique Composer of the Year award in 2003 and again in 2006.

His orchestral works feature in the repertoires of various French and foreign orchestras such as the Bonn Orchestra, the Monte-Carlo Orchestra, l'Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio-France and l'Orchestre National de Lille where Thierry Escaich was in residence between 2003 and 2005. His vocal and chamber music is performed all over the world by ensembles such as the BBC Singers, A Sei Voci, Le Concert Spirituel, the Ludwig Quartet, Olivier Latry and the Wanderer Trio. His CD of orchestral works (Accord/Universal) was awarded the Diapason d'Or de l'année in 2002. Titular organist at St-Etienne-du-Mont in Paris since 1997 (where he succeeded Maurice Duruflé), Thierry Escaich leads a parallel career as an international organist which has led to him to become an ambassador of the great French organ school of improvisation, demonstrated by his recordings on the Chamade and Calliope labels which have been awarded numerous musical distinctions such as the Grand Prix de la Nouvelle Académie du Disque (1996) and the Choc du Monde de la musique (1998) for his interpretations of works by Brahms.

Thierry Escaich has been professor of composition and improvisation at the Paris Conservatoire since 1992.

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