June 15th, 2012
01:55 PM ET

An unreasonable man (or organist)

Editors Note: Cameron Carpenter is a world-renowned, Grammy nominated organist who plans to build his own touring organ. Watch CNN’s “The Next List” this Sunday at 2 p.m. ET to hear his full story.

By Cameron Carpenter, Special to CNN

(CNN) - I'm unreasonable - as most organists will tell you. (My agent would agree).

If you play the guitar or the violin, or if you're a singer - or if you play any reasonable musical instrument that can be moved from place to place without a five-figure tab and a debate-ridden crew of experts; if you play any reasonable instrument that you can mention to your friends without invoking images of "The Abominable Dr. Phibes," "Phantom of the Opera" (and "Dr. Phibes Rises Again") – if you play any instrument that doesn't cost millions of dollars to build - then you are LUCKY. Because you sure don't play the pipe organ.

Even the Brobdingnagian double bass is Gucci-bag fashionable and portable in comparison to the pipe organ. There's something ominously metaphorical about an instrument that literally isn't going anywhere. One has to wonder: does this earthbound immobility extend to the attitudes that surround the instrument? Does it influence the mentalities, the expectations, the ambitions of the people who play it? Does it shape our expectations as listeners?


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