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Carpenter Bringing International Touring Organ to Granada

Cameron Carpenter Click to view larger
Cameron Carpenter (Courtesy photo)

UCSB Arts & Lectures will present Cameron Carpenter, a superstar organist with technical prowess and a flamboyant persona to match, featuring the International Touring Organ on Mon., Feb. 12, at 7 p.m. at The Granada Theatre.

Carpenter has a gift for connecting with his audience, Arts & Lectures said. He made his Santa Barbara debut in 2016, performing an explosive program on his International Touring Organ, Arts & Lectures said.

Returning to Santa Barbara with his self-designed electric instrument, the Juilliard-trained Carpenter combines his “ambition, visual flair, technological savvy, inclusive tastes and bold, boundary-breaking musicianship,” reports The Wall Street Journal.

Carpenter smashes stereotypes of organists and organ music, while generating international acclaim and controversy unprecedented in his field, Arts & Lectures said.

Carpenter’s repertoire — from the complete works of J.S. Bach to film scores, his original compositions and hundreds of transcriptions and arrangements — may be the largest and most diverse of any organist, Arts & Lectures said.

He is the first concert organist in history to prefer the digital organ to the pipe organ and to champion it as the future of the instrument.
In 2014, Carpenter launched his International Touring Organ, a monumental cross-genre digital organ built by Marshall & Ogletree to his own design, in extensive tours in Europe and the U.S.

His Sony Music debut album If You Could Read My Mind entered Billboard’s Traditional Classical chart at No. 1 on its U.S. release.

A former child prodigy, Carpenter trained at the American Boychoir School and the North Carolina School of the Arts and has two degrees from The Juilliard School.

He holds the 2012 Leonard Bernstein Award, is the first solo organist ever nominated for a Grammy Award for a solo album, and has appeared with many of the world's great orchestras.

He has spoken and debated at think tanks and conferences including TED, IdeaCity and The Entertainment Gathering.

True to its name, Carpenter’s International Touring Organ isn’t stationary. Since its debut, it has become Carpenter’s instrument of choice, quickly eclipsing the pipe organ. “It’s where my heart lies,” he said.

The International Touring Organ is the eighth organ by Marshall & Ogletree, the Needham, Mass., organ builders redefining the digital organ as an instrument of artistic significance.

Its concept is to innovate the relationship between organ and organist. Marshall & Ogletree sampled sounds from many traditional pipe organs, including many of Carpenter’s favorite instruments, from the cathedral to the Wurlitzer.

These come together in an organ designed not for size, limitless variety or to model any particular pipe organ, but rather to make a great organ internationally mobile — an idea impractical or impossible by other means, Arts & Lectures reports.

“One of the things that is so important about this touring organ, and one of its great trump cards — one of the things that the pipe organ can never provide — is a sense of psychological home,” Carpenter said.

“I can call up sounds from the organ that in some sense first made me want to do what I’m doing,” he said.

The entire organ assembles in less than three hours and travels in a single large truck; identical European and American sound systems (housed in Berlin, Germany and Needham, Mass.) make it internationally mobile.

Its sound system is a massive complex of specially sourced sound support and amplification equipment housed in mobile, location-adaptable touring cases, Arts & Lectures said.

The organ console is assembled manually and hydraulically from six modular parts and, like the sound system, travels in purpose-built robust touring cases.

There also will be a meet-the-artist event — A conversation with Cameron Carpenter, creator of the International Touring Organ — at 2 p.m. Tuesday, Feb 13, in UCSB's Elings Hall, Room 1605. Visit for details.

Tickets are $35-$45 for the general public, $19 for all students with student ID. A Granada facility fee will be added to each ticket price.

For tickets and more information, call UCSB Arts & Lectures, 893-3535, visit, or contact The Granada Theatre, 899-2222 or

Carpenter is presented by UCSB Arts & Lectures. Part of the Thematic Learning Initiative: Our Changing World.

— Caitlin O'Hara for UCSB Arts & Lectures.

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