Vierne's six symphonies performed by 'dazzling' acclaimed young organist Christopher Houlihan

Christopher Houlihan

Nationally celebrated organist Christopher Houlihan will make a special appearance in Sarasota at the Church of the Redeemer on Sun., Jan. 20, with a performance of six organ symphonies by Louis Vierne, the blind composer who was the organist at the Cathedral of Notre-Dame from 1900 to 1937. Houlihan performed these same symphonies in six major cities across the U.S. and Canada throughout 2012. His performances have been hailed as "dazzling" (The Wall Street Journal) and as giving a "glamorous sheen" to Vierne's music (The New York Times).

Over the past year, Houlihan performed Vierne's symphonies to enthusiastic acclaim in prominent venues in New York, Denver, Chicago, Los Angeles, Dallas and Montreal. The tour marked the 75th anniversary of the death of Vierne, who collapsed and died while performing at the organ in Notre-Dame in 1937. Houlihan's appearance in Sarasota is a major coup for the area and is the result of impassioned lobbying by Redeemer's Choirmaster/Organist Ann Stephenson-Moe, who approached his agent last year.

"Sarasota has always had and continues to attract some of the most sophisticated concert-goers in the country — in the world, actually," said Stephenson-Moe. "I simply explained [to Houlihan's agent] that Sarasota is the brightest jewel of Florida's cultural coast, with audiences who would deeply appreciate Vierne's music and Houlihan's playing. With Sarasota's growing reputation, it didn't take much to convince him to add this seventh concert to the North American tour of this very special six symphony performance. Sarasota is in for an outstanding, world-class concert."

Vierne's six symphonies to be performed include: Symphony No. 1 in D minor, opus 14 (composed 1895); Symphony No. 2 in E minor, opus 20 (composed 1901); Symphony No. 3 in F-sharp minor, opus 28 (composed 1911); Symphony No. 4 in G minor, opus 32 (composed 1914); Symphony No. 5 in A minor, opus 47 (composed 1923-24); and Symphony No. 5 in B minor, opus 59 (composed 1930). Houlihan will play on Redeemer's massive 50-stop Nichols & Simpson pipe organ.

The concert, which begins at 3:30 p.m., will be presented in two parts with an intermission at approximately 5:15 p.m., allowing the audience to enjoy an early dinner at any number of nearby downtown restaurants. The concert will resume at 7:30 p.m., and conclude at approximately 9 p.m. Tickets are $20; students, $10. Advance purchase may be made online at or by calling the parish office at 941-955-4263.

The Church of the Redeemer is located in the heart of downtown Sarasota at 222 S. Palm Ave. Complimentary parking for this concert will be available from 2:45 to 9:30 p.m., at BMO Harris Bank Parking Garage on McAnsh Square. For more information, visit or call 941-955-4263.


The Church of the Redeemer
222 S. Palm Ave.
Sarasota, FL 34236
United States
4202 East Fowler Avenue, TVB100, Tampa, FL 33620-6902 • © 2009 WUSF. All rights reserved.

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