World-class organist will give concert at basilica
LEWISTON — On Friday, June 19, organist Kevin Birch will perform works of Alain, Bach, Franck, Gigout, Mendelssohn and Vierne on the Casavant organ at the Basilica of Saints  Peter and Paul, the largest church organ in the state.
Birch holds a doctor of musical arts degree from the University of Iowa with previous studies at New England Conservatory in Boston and the Sweelinck Conservatory in Amsterdam.
Since 1992, he has served as director of music at St. John’s Catholic Church in Bangor, where, in addition to choir training and service playing, he directs the St. John’s Organ Society, an organization dedicated to the preservation and stewardship of the historic E. & G. G. Hook organ built for St. John’s Church in 1860. He is on the faculty at the University of Maine’s school of the performing arts in Orono, where he teaches organ and harpsichord.
Birch has performed throughout the United States, in Europe and South America and for several national conventions of the Organ Historical Society. Recent performances in Europe include the opening concerts of the 2007 International Organ Festival in Berlin; the 2007 Meisterkonzert Series at the Kaiser Wilhelm Gedachtnis Kirche in Berlin; and the dedication concert for the new Metzler organ in Auenstein, Switzerland in June 2008. Later this summer, he will perform works of Felix Mendelssohn and Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel in Switzerland and Germany. He frequently lectures on the topic of hook organs in the state of Maine and has served as an organ adviser to several churches in Maine.  
Birch has been broadcast in Luxembourg, on National Public Radio programs “Pipedreams” and “With Heart and Voice” and frequently on Maine Public Radio.
The 7:30 p.m. concert is free and open to the public, although a donation to the organ restoration fund would be appreciated.


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