Isabelle Demers at the organ is a force of nature—a “fearless and extraordinary” (Amarillo-Globe News) musician to whom La Presse, Montreal attributed “vehement virtuosity.” Enrapturing critics, presenters, and audiences around the globe with her entrancing performances and engaging wit—Demers has been known to leave listeners with “Demers fever” (The American Organist). Her must-hear performance on Northop’s historic Aeolian-Skinner Opus 892 pipe organ will feature transcriptions centered on themes of dance including works by Rachel Laurin, Michael Praetorius, and Igor Stravinsky.
“There is no shortage of organists who make their instruments roar; and while her power was never in question, Demers made the instrument sing.” —ClassicalSource.com
“In the Stravinsky [Firebird Suite], there were almost as many registrations and manual changes as notes. All executed from memory. Breathtaking” —Dallas Morning News
“The phenomenal French-Canadian organist Isabelle … Demers’ playing amounted to unalloyed musical joy.” —CleavelandClassical.com
“All played with bracing virtuosity” —Chicago Classical Review
Learn More - Explore These Themes
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.
Find ways to make thematic connections to these suggested courses:
- Organ Studies
- Music Theory
- Music History
- Music: Classical, Contemporary Classical
- European History
Take a deeper dive with these resources that provide additional information about the performers, the history of the artform, and the artistic process.
Start a conversation about the performance, or encourage reflection, using these questions as inspiration.
Isabelle Demers, also known as the “diminutive dynamo” makes her Northrop debut on Feb 7, 2022. In the American Guild of Organists’ Complete Survey Report from 2014, it was reported that only 41% of guild members were women. The 2019 report, which is yet to be published, shows 39% of membership were women.
- Why do you think there has been a decline in female representation? Why does representation of women in the arts matter?
- What challenges do you think women may face in male-dominated artistic fields, and what can be done to combat those challenges?
- How can women across all artistic fields continue to support each other’s work?
From an interview with Demers from the McGill Schulich School of Music, where Demers recently became the Associate Professor for organ, she mentions, “In my opinion, the greatest asset of an organist is flexibility.”
- What does it mean to be a flexible artist? How can this skill serve those outside of the arts?
- What ways have you had to adapt to your environment in the last year? How did you overcome challenges?
Demers’ performance coincides with Pipe Organ Discovery Day at Northrop—a program that allows young artists with previous piano or organ experience to learn more about the organ, and expand their knowledge, offering hands-on experience with a variety of instruments.
- Why is it important to teach younger generations about artistic practices? Did you benefit from artistic classes as a child? If so, how did they inform your perception and place in the world?
- How can we continue to share the importance of arts education at the University of Minnesota?
- Have you spent time engaging with younger generations through creative programs? What unexpected outcomes did you experience?
This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.