PORTLAND – The Friends of the Kotzschmar Organ have three events planned this spring in Merrill Auditorium.

The annual Bach Birthday Bash will be at noon and 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 16. Naturally, it will be a program devoted entirely to works by Bach. Portland Municipal Organist Ray Cornils will perform Bach’s monumental “Passacaglia” and Fugue in C minor and will be joined by soprano Christina Astrachan and members of the DaPonte String Quartet in Bach’s joyous Cantata No. 51.

This is the 14th year for this popular event. Admission is by a suggested donation of $10 at the door.

Direct from Paris

Music from the World’s Great Cathedrals will be offered for the second year on Tuesday, April 20. The guest organist will be Pierre Pincemaille from the Cathedral of St. Denis in Paris. Pincemaille has been titular organist of the Cathedral/Basilica of St. Denis since 1987 following a competition for the post.

After gaining five first prizes from the National Music Conservatory in Paris, he went on to win the top prizes in improvisation at the Chartres International Organ Competition, as well as at competitions in Lyon, Beauvais, Strasbourg and Montbrison. He has toured widely both as a recitalist and orchestral soloist in Europe, North America, Russia, China and South Africa.

Admission to this 7:30 p.m. concert is by a suggested donation of $15. Pincemaille will conclude the evening’s program by improvising a piece based on a theme that will be given to him just before he begins the improvisation.

‘Meet the King’

Meet the King of Instruments is a new program open only for fourth- to eighth-grade age students. It will give them an opportunity to hear a 45-minute program, receive a demonstration of how a pipe organ works and learn a little about the history of the Kotzschmar. The cost is $2 per person for the program at 10:30 a.m. on May 17.

In 1981, the Friends of the Kotzschmar Organ was founded as a nonprofit to relieve the city of the task of raising funds for the organ’s care and repairs. They present a wide range of concerts from classics to pops and silent films with organ accompaniment. For further information, people can contact the Friends’ executive director, Russ Burleigh at Brown Fox Printing, 883-9525, or visit the Web at www.foko.org.

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