Welcome to this week’s Northrop MOVES Online. One component of live performances that makes them so extraordinary is the uniqueness of every presentation, each made up of a set of variables entirely its own—the way the audience and artists interact, the health and wellbeing of the performers and crew that night, the cooperation of technical elements, an extra moment of brilliance, a small “mistake.” All of these elements (and more!) come together to form an experience that can never be fully duplicated.
This past weekend I was overcome by a bout of sadness, feeling deeply the loss of live, in-person performances. It was in this moment that University of Minnesota organist Dean Billmeyer shared a 1983 recording of Wagner's Prelude to Die Meistersinger, played during his first organ recital on Northrop’s Aeolian-Skinner Opus 892 pipe organ. Dean Billmeyer was to perform his annual faculty recital at Northrop tonight, and so it gives me great joy to be able to share with you a piece of this 1983 recital, along with curtain speeches from Kristen Brogdon, Northrop’s director of programming, and Dean Billmeyer himself. As a bonus, you can also hear Dean play Toccata by Paul Fetler and Fantasy in E, Op. 39 by Harold Darke from the first broadcast of the restored Northrop organ, courtesy of Michael Barone of American Public Radio’s Pipedreams. I hope you find these recordings as uplifting as I did. You can also learn more about the history, renovation, and triumphant return of one of the largest and last remaining concert-hall pipe organs in the United States.
While we cannot gather in person to share in the experience of live performances, I am constantly amazed by the innovative, creative ways that artists are connecting with audiences during this unusual time. I hope you are following Northrop’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram social media channels for Daily Inspiration posts to keep you inspired, connected and moving!
I look forward with great anticipation to the day when we can throw open our doors and welcome you back in person. In the meantime, please stay safe, healthy, connected, and inspired.
Director of Northrop