Internationally acclaimed organ virtuoso Hector Olivera makes his Northrop debut in a program that features works by Meyerbeer, Elmore, Franck, Vierne, and more. Beginning years ago as a child prodigy in Buenos Aires, the Juilliard-trained organist now commands the finest organs on the world stage. Acclaimed for his prodigious technical proficiency and the uncanny effect he has on his audience, Maestro Olivera is a passionate, gifted, and unique musician, whose personal interpretations of both classical and popular music have amazed and delighted audiences around the world.
The event will begin with the premiere of a 45-minute documentary, The Northrop Organ: Past, Present and Future. The film tells the story of Northrop’s Aeolian-Skinner pipe organ, Opus 892, from its beginning in 1932 to the present day. The documentary is produced by the Twin Cities Chapter of the American Guild of Organists in anticipation of the regional convention in the Twin Cities coming July, 2023.
This event will be captioned, with other accessibility services available upon request.
An evening with Mr. Olivera has been described as, “an event, a happening, a joyful celebration of the sheer power and pressure that a true virtuoso like Hector Olivera can unleash in a concert hall.” —The Times
A Celebratory Reception
Sun, Jun 5, 2:00 pm CT
In-person and Livestream
Available on-demand through Jun 12
A Celebratory Reception at the Campus Club immediately following the concert. Registration required.
The content below derives from the Northrop Across Campus Program that supports Northrop's mission towards intersections between performing arts and education for the benefit of all participants now and for generations to come.
Explore These Themes
Find ways to make thematic connections to these suggested courses.
Music: Classical, Contemporary Classical, Improvisation
Cinema & Film
Take a deeper dive into these resources that provide more information about the company of performers, the history of the artform, and where you can learn more about the artistic process!
Start a conversation about the performance, or reflect on the performance, using these questions as inspiration.
The Twin Cities American Guild of Organists was established in 1910 as a branch of the original American Guild of Organists headquartered in New York City in 1896. Today, the Twin Cities chapter is made up of 345 organ connoisseurs from around the metro area and across Minnesota. The organization produced the film documentary included within the kickoff event which features Northrop’s newly renovated Aeolian-Skinner Pipe Organ.
- How can music, specifically classical music, be used to connect local communities across a national and global level who share similar interests in an individual instrument?
- Why is it important to see music live and how does attending an in-person performance shift how you experience the sound?
- How does the documentary presented by the Twin Cities American Guild of Organists chapter affect your understanding of the organ? Did your mindset shift after learning more about the history and context of the instrument?
Hector Olivera has been deemed by organ aficionados as one of the greatest organists of our time and an extraordinary improviser. He has performed as a soloist in countless prestigious venues and orchestras all over the world, including the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, and recently close to home with the Minnesota Orchestra. He has even performed for numerous notable figures throughout his decades-long career, including the legendary Eva Perón.
- Why is it important to celebrate and support classical music, especially in the twenty-first century?
- How does one distinguish a good musician from a great musician? Is it technique, charisma, artistry, or something else?
- How has the role of improvisation in Western music evolved over time? Consider the continuo in Baroque music, the cadenza in Concerto form, and the jazz solo, among others.
Coronation March | Giacomo Meyerbeer, Arr Olivera
Concerto No. 1 in E major, Op. 8 No. 1, La Primavera (“Spring”) | Antonio Vivaldi, Arr Olivera
I Allegro - II Largo - III Allegro (pastorale).
Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op. 8 No. 2, L’Estate (“Summer”) | Antonio Vivaldi, Arr Olivera
1 Allegro non molto - II Adagio - III. Presto e forte
Night Song | Robert Elmore
Carillon of Westminster | Louis Vierne
Giga | Marco Enrico Bossi / Trans Olivera
Three tangos | Astor Piazzolla / Trans Olivera
Improvisation on a submitted theme | Hector Olivera
Program subject to change
Maestro Hector Olivera is a passionate, gifted, and unique musician, whose personal interpretations of both classical and popular music have amazed and delighted audiences around the world.
The Times Reporter describes an evening with Hector Olivera as: “An event, a happening, a joyful celebration of the sheer power and pressure that a true virtuoso like Hector Olivera can unleash in a concert hall.”
Born in Buenos Aires, Mr. Olivera’s first teacher (who was his father) encouraged him to begin playing the pipe organ when he was three. Two years later, he was appointed organist of the Church of the Immaculate Conception. At age 5, he played for the legendary Eva Perón. At six, he entered the Buenos Aires Conservatory to study harmony, counterpoint and fugue. By age nine, he had composed a suite for oboe and string orchestra, performed by the Buenos Aires Symphony Orchestra.
At age twelve, Mr. Olivera entered the University of Buenos Aires where he studied with Hector Zeoli and Juan Francisco Giacobbe. By eighteen, he had performed more than three hundred concerts throughout Latin America, appearing frequently on Argentinean radio and television. During this time, he also served as the senior improvisational accompanist for the Collegium Musicum in Buenos Aires, vastly increasing his prodigious improvisational talent.
In 1965, New York’s prestigious Juilliard School of Music offered him a scholarship. He immediately moved to the United States to study with Vernon de Tar and Bronson Reagan. Three years later, Mr. Olivera won the National Improvisation Contest sponsored by the American Guild of Organists, thereby launching his outstanding professional concert career.
In 1988, after years of performing in the United States, Maestro Olivera was invited to play once again in Argentina. Upon arriving, he was welcomed as a national hero with “Standing Room Only” concerts attended by celebrities and heads of state, as well as being featured on national radio and television shows.
Throughout his concert career, Mr. Olivera has performed in prestigious venues including the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris, Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, Carnegie Hall in New York, Royal Albert Hall in London, Spivey Hall in Atlanta, Constitution Hall in Washington D.C, the Fox Theatre in Atlanta, Myerson Concert Hall in Dallas, Verizon Hall in Philadelphia, Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa, Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, Sydney Town Hall, Melbourne Town Hall, and Brisbane City Hall in Australia.
In addition to his solo concerts, Mr. Olivera has performed as guest soloist with orchestras worldwide including the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Fort Wayne Symphony, the Dover-New Philadelphia Orchestra, the Dallas Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Amsterdam Baroque Ensemble, the Minnesota Orchestra, and the Pasadena Symphony. Composer Robert Vandall described Mr. Olivera’s performance with the Tuscarawas Philharmonic as “an opportunity to hear and see greatness.”
His collaboration with the Pasadena Symphony produced a “Limited Edition Gold CD” featuring Mr. Olivera in the Saint-Saëns Symphony No. 3.
In 1992, Mr. Olivera was guest artist at the American Guild of Organists’ convention at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta performing the world premiere of a commissioned work written by William Albright. Later, from this same stage, Olivera performed on Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion, and according to Keillor, he “literally stopped the show!”
In 1996, in celebration of the Olympic games, Mr. Olivera was given the honor to perform a solo concert at Spivey Hall, Atlanta for which he received multiple standing ovations. The Atlanta Journal Constitution wrote: “Olivera swept the audience with absolute Olympic virtuosity, and that still doesn’t say it … Hector Olivera is in a class by himself.”
In 2000, Mr. Olivera performed a solo memorial concert in New York City’s St. Paul the Apostle as a tribute to his hero, the legendary organist Virgil Fox. He played a subsequent Virgil Fox Memorial Concert at Grace Cathedral, San Francisco in 2004.
In 2002, Mr. Olivera was invited again to perform for the American Guild of Organists’ National Convention, where his transcription of Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite spontaneously brought the large audience of peers to their feet. Again, in 2004, his appearance before the Guild’s National Convention in Los Angeles was considered an historic triumph by 2,200 cheering organists, who gave him four standing ovations in 45 minutes.
By popular demand, Hector Olivera performed regularly at the celebrated Newport Classical Music Festival. The Providence Journal claimed, “Organist Hector Olivera brought the Newport Music Festival to a spectacular close”
By invitation, Mr. Olivera performed a solo concert that was attended by an audience of 5000 at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris on August 12, 2007. “Mr. Olivera … sublime improvisations indeed. “ (Olivier Latry, organist Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris)
In 2010, Mr. Olivera’s magnificent recital at the renowned Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles moved an enthusiastic audience to its feet. The Pasadena Star quoted: “Olivera began winsomely but gradually morphed into a gigantic mass of sound with elements of Messiaen, Vierne and others folded in, including a reprise of the Bach Passacaglia and Fugue from the first half. The audience was on its collective feet at the end, deservedly … No encores were played … or needed.”
In 2014, Mr. Olivera received an invitation to perform at the grand Hong Kong Cultural Center Concert Hall, and the magnificent Shenzhen Concert Hall in China.
In 2016, Maestro Olivera toured Australia where he brought the house down at the glorious Sydney Town Hall, the resplendent Melbourne Town Hall, and the stunning Brisbane City Hall, receiving multiple standing ovations, and rave reviews.
Mr. Olivera performed an unprecedented third recital at the prestigious Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles in 2018.
Mr. Olivera continues to thrill audiences with both solo classical and orchestral compositions, now released on DVD and more than 20 classical, contemporary, and film score recordings.
Most famous for his prodigious technical proficiency and charismatic stage presence, Mr. Olivera’s amazing effect on audiences has made many of the most sophisticated and demanding organ aficionados claim that Maestro Hector Olivera is “one of the greatest organists in the world today."
Visit the Twin Cities Chapter of the American Guild of Organists at tcago.org for information on local organ events, performances, and educational opportunities about the organ. Membership is open to all those interested in the organ. The mission of the American Guild of Organists is to enrich lives through organ and choral music.
We hope you enjoy today’s program and remind you that organ music in its infinite variety is featured every week on American Public Media’s PIPEDREAMS as broadcast throughout the upper Midwest on Sunday mornings from 6 am to 8 am on the network stations of YourClassicalMPR (KSJN-99.5FM in the Twin Cities*) and available globally 24/7 online at pipedreams.org. PIPEDREAMS is celebrating its 40th anniversary in national syndication, a record in broadcast history.