Organist Christopher Houlihan – This Sunday at Grace Cathedral, 1/22

by Sean Martinfield | See: By Sean, Sean's Reviews and Interviews, The Pink Section

“When you are lucky enough to sit in a space like Grace Cathedral and can hear a great instrument and take the time to appreciate it – I don’t know of anyone who hasn’t taken something away from that experience and have been moved in some way. It’s incredible. There’s nothing like it. Christopher Houlihan for FFSBut it takes an opportunity and a bit of aloneness on the part of the listener to engage with what they’re hearing. That’s really what I try to do – to engage the listener to feel something, to go on this musical journey with me, to listen to what these composers wrote down and felt that people needed to hear. I try to focus on the music I love. And to communicate it the best way possible to anyone who will listen. Great music keeps me going – the music of Bach and Franck. That has to be my motivation. Absolutely, my best motivation.”

Christopher Houlihan
Photo, Aleks Karjaka

Click here to see my full interview with Christopher Houlihan on

Acclaimed organist Christopher Houlihan returns to San Francisco for an all-French program at Grace Cathedral this coming Sunday at 4pm. Christopher’s selections include Louis Vierne’s Carillon de Westminster and “Scherzo, Cantabile, and Allegro” from Symphony No. 2; César Franck’s Choral II in B minor; and Olivier Messiaen’s “Serene Alleluias and Outbursts of Joy”, from L’ascension. The loftiness of Grace Cathedral and the carriage of its sound reflects the environment in which the writers created these works. The compositions abound in imagery, emotional spirals, complex architecture, and – as I suggested to Christopher – a few squirrelly moments here and there. The 7,466 pipes of the cathedral’s magnificent Aeolian-Skinner are in for a full-range work-out.

For more information: Grace Cathedral

See my recent interviews with:

Brian Jagde, Tenor
Edward Nelson, Baritone
Jay Armstrong Johnson, Tenor
Karina Gauvin, Coloratura soprano
Leah Crocetto, Soprano
Lianna Haroutounian, Soprano
Malin Byström, Soprano
Mariusz Kwiecień, Baritone
Ruthie Anne Miles, Mezzo-soprano

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