June 12th, 2012
10:25 AM ET

Bringing the organ into the 21st century

Editor's note: Cameron Carpenter is the subject of CNN's "The Next List" on Sunday at 2 p.m. ET.

By The Next List Staff, CNN

(CNN) - Cameron Carpenter is a fiercely talented musician whose passion is to play the organ in an unprecedented way. Decked out in Swarovski crystals and leather, he doesn’t look like what you’d expect an organist to look like.

And he surely doesn’t sound like one.

“The organ is in a kind of crisis,” he says. “I think it needs radically outsider approaches to reestablish its connection with the world at large. And that’s what I’m doing.”

Carpenter has a love-hate relationship with the instrument he’s dedicated himself to playing. He thinks the traditional pipe organ we see attached to churches and concert halls is outdated.  But he sees the digital organ, which is often seen as the ugly stepchild of organs by many musicians, as the future of the instrument.

He’s embracing that technology by designing his own digital touring organ.

“The instrument that I want is an organ that will answer my every need and which will give me something for every musical genre and will hybridize all the organs that I love,” he says.

Most organists don’t ever have the opportunity to build a relationship with their own instrument. Often they travel from place to place and play in churches and concert halls around the world, none of which are standardized.

Cameron’s touring organ will allow him to play one organ no matter where he is in the world, decked out with all the bells and whistles and with his own brand of theatrical flair.

He thinks the organ should be less about the awe-inspiring instrument you see in churches, and more about the actual person performing something of  meaning, connecting with audiences around the world.

Carpenter is reinventing an instrument many of us haven’t really ever thought about. Watch one of his extraordinary performances, and you too might get hooked.

Tune into CNN on Sunday, June 17, at 2 p.m.  ET, to see our full 30-minute profile of this musical maverick.

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Filed under: Music • The Next List • Video
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    November 3, 2013 at 5:49 pm | Reply
  2. Hendry

    We will be slaves in the NWO with a few msaetrs who will have consolidated their money and power. What these pea-brained individuals do not realize is that they cannot control all cir***stances and outcomes. These small-minded men think they're God?! HA Somewhere God is laughing at this futility. NWO my *ss!! These are PAGANS worshiping at the alter of self. There is only one God. YHWH. King of the Jews. The Alpha and Omega. Look to HIM for life's answers and you will find them.

    July 21, 2012 at 2:12 am | Reply
  3. Loretta

    Absolutely fabulous – it's so good to see the continuing major coverage of this genius. It's so inspiring to see someone who sticks by their convictions no matter how seemingly strange or unusual. Congratulations to CNN for this piece.

    June 12, 2012 at 8:25 pm | Reply

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