Chicago Gargoyle Brass And Organ Ensemble To Celebrate French Music

Chicago Gargoyle Brass And Organ Ensemble To Celebrate French Music

The Chicago Gargoyle Brass and Organ Ensemble will celebrate French music of the late-19th and early 20th centuries at 3 p.m. on Sunday, June 24, 2018, at St. John Cantius Church, 825 N. Carpenter St., Chicago, featuring, as guest artists, the church's resident organists on a historic instrument ideally suited to the repertoire.

The Gargoyle ensemble's "French Reverence" concert will include two of its own commissioned arrangements: Alexandre Guilmant's colorful, power-packed Symphony No. 1, Op. 42; and Maurice Ravel's "Pavane for a Dead Princess," both arranged for brass and organ by Craig Garner.

They'll also perform Marcel Dupré's audience-pleasing, late-Romantic "Poème héroïque" for brass, organ, and field drum; Dupré's "Symphony-Passion" for solo organ, a religiously inspired work that utilizes the instrument's full resources; and British-born Canadian composer Healey Willan's motet "How They So Softly Rest," arranged by Garner for brass and organ.

Stephen Squires, resident conductor of the Elgin Symphony Orchestra, will conduct the brass and organ works.

Organists Corrado Cavalli and Jonathan Rudy will take turns on the church's Casavant Frères Organ Opus 1130, nicknamed "Tina Mae." The Romantic-style four-manual organ comprises 3,800 wood and metal pipes, the largest 16-feet tall, the smallest a few inches high. The unaltered 85-year-old instrument, relocated from an abandoned Chicago church where it had fallen into disuse, was restored and installed at St. John Cantius in 2013.

Cavalli, a native of Turin, Italy, joined St. John Cantius as organist in 2015. He received master's degrees in organ, choral conducting, and choral composition from National Conservatory "Giuseppe Verdi" in Turin. Prior to taking the post at the Chicago church, he served as a church organist, music theory professor, and member of the Commission for Sacred Music for the Archdiocese in Turin. His awards include the 12th National Organ Competition's Pinchi Prize and the Brownson Fellowship for his doctoral studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He has recorded for Sony Classical, among other labels.

Rudy, director of musical arts and administration at St. John Cantius, has performed across the U.S., including an appearance at the 2016 American Guild of Organists National Convention in Houston, Tex. Among his other credits, Rudy won First Prize and Audience Prize at the National Young Artists Competition in Organ Performance. He holds degrees from Indiana and Valparaiso Universities and is currently pursuing a doctorate in organ and sacred music at Indiana.

Single tickets for French Reverence are $15 adult general admission, $10 seniors and students, and $5 for ages 6-18. Tickets are available at, by phone at (800) 838-3006, and at the door. For additional information, call the Chicago Gargoyle ensemble's Rodney Holmes at (708) 975-0055.

"The Chicago Gargoyle Brass and Organ Ensemble plays with warmth, elegance, and panache," said U.S. music magazine Fanfare in a review of the ensemble's debut CD. "[They] are perfect companions for the music lover in need of calming nourishment."

Ensemble members for this concert are Lev Garber and Joe Loeffler, trumpets; Abby Black, horn; Ian Fitzwater, trombone; and Rodney Holmes, tuba, plus guest organists.

The group takes its whimsical name from the stone figures atop Gothic buildings at the University of the Chicago, where the now-professional ensemble got its start in 1992 as a brass quintet of faculty and students. Under its founder and artistic director Rodney Holmes, it has evolved over the decades into an independent organization of classically trained musicians that focuses on commissioning and performing groundbreaking new works and arrangements for brass and pipe organ. More information at

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