LEWISTON – Ray Cornils will perform a half-hour concert on the Casavant organ at the Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul beginning at 12:15 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 6. He is municipal organist for the city of Portland, a post which he has held since 1990. He presides over America’s first municipal organ, (101 ranks and 5 manuals) built in 1912 and enlarged in 1927 and 2003 by the Austin Organ Co. The organ was donated to Portland by publishing magnate Cyrus H.K. Curtis in memory of his childhood music teacher, Hermann Kotzschmar.

Cornils also serves First Parish Church, UCC, in Brunswick, as minister of music, leading an extensive music program of five vocal and two handbell choirs. In addition, he is a member of the music faculties of Bowdoin College, the University of Southern Maine and the Portland Conservatory of Music, where he teaches organ, harpsichord and related classes.

Born in Sterling, Ill., Cornils received a bachelor’s and master’s degree in music from Oberlin College Conservatory of Music and the New England Conservatory of Music, respectively. He has studied organ with Robert Reeves, Fenner Douglas, William Porter, Yuko Hayashi and Dame Gillian Weir, and harpsichord with William Porter, Lenora McCroskey, Rhona Freeman and Lisa Goode Crawford.

Cornils has performed concerts throughout the United States as well as in Germany, France, Spain, Russia, New Zealand and Ecuador. He has been a featured recitalist for conventions of the American Guild of Organists and the Organ Historical Society. Besides his solo work, he performs regularly with the Portland Symphony Orchestra and Musica Tricinia, a group of two trumpets and organ. His CD recording, “The Mighty Kotzschmar,” has been released on the Pro Organo label.


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