The E. J. Lownes Memorial Recital is an annual event made possible by the generosity of Mrs. Therese K. Lownes and hosted by the Office of the Chaplains and Religious Life. This year, we are indebted to the Office of the President, the Department of Music, Department of French Studies, and The Rhode Island Chapter of the American Guild of Organists, for helping to make this recital possible.
On Sunday, March 10 at 4:00 p.m. in Sayles Hall, Olivier Latry, titular organist of the Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris, will perform works by Back, Franck, Vierne, Guilmant, Widor, and an improvisation on the 1903 Hutchings-Votey pipe organ. This recital is free and open to the public.
One of the world's most distinguished organists, Olivier Latry was born in 1962 in Boulogne-sur-Mer, France and began his study of piano at age seven and his study of the organ at age 12. He later attended the Academy of Music at St. Maur-des-Fossés, studying organ with Gaston Litaize. From 1981 until 1984, Latry was titular organist of Meaux Cathedral and, at age 23, he won a competition to become one of the three titular organists of the Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris. From 1990 until 1995, he taught organ at the Academy of Music at St. Maur-des-Fossés, where he succeeded his teacher, Gaston Litaize. Since 1995, he has taught at the Paris Conservatory, where he has succeeded Michel Chapuis.
A recipient of numerous awards and honors, Latry received the Prix Del Duca (Institut de France-Académie des Beaux-Arts) in 2000, the 2006 Honorary Fellowship from the North and Midlands School of Music (UK), and the 2007 Honorary Fellowship from the Royal College of Organists (UK). In April of 2009, he was named International Performer of the Year by the New York City Chapter of the American Guild of Organists and, in June 2010, he received an honorary Doctor of Misic degree from McGill University in Montreal, Canada.
Not wishing to specialize in a particular repertoire, Latry would like to be an ambassador of 17th to 21st century French organ music, hence his equal devotion to the art of improvisation. Today he is counted among the most noted "improvisateurs" in the exceptional French tradition from Charles Tournemire to Pierre Cochereau. He has performed in more than 40 countries on five continents, appearing most often in the United States.
Mr. Latry has a particular interest in contemporary music and has premiered works of Xavier Darasse, Claude Ballif, Thierry Pecout, Vincent Paulet, Thierry Eschaich, and Jean-Louis Florentz. He has also co-authored a book on Olivier Messiaen: L'ouevre d'orgue d'Olivier Messiaen, Olivier Latry and
Loïc Mallié (Carus-Verlag 2008).