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Critic's Pick: Organist Cameron Carpenter at Disney Hall

April 18, 2013|By Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times Music Critic
  • Cameron Carpenter, shown here at First Congregational Church in Los Angeles, will perform this weekend at Walt Disney Concert Hall.
Cameron Carpenter, shown here at First Congregational Church in Los Angeles,… (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles…)

Cameron Carpenter is like no other organist. And that is not just in the way he dresses, which is audacious but hardly shocking anymore. Moreover, he easily wins over an audience with the friendly irreverence of his running commentary and his intelligence.

What is shocking is his command of his instrument, which is mind-boggling. What may also seem shocking in this age where glitter so often implies superficiality is his musical depth and his questing nature. He pushes his physical limits and he pushes musical limits.

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Carpenter's appearances at Walt Disney Concert Hall will have two different characters. He is soloist in Aaron Copland’s Organ Symphony as part of the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Brooklyn Festival this weekend, which otherwise focuses on today’s young composers who now occupy the borough in droves.

Then Sunday night, Carpenter will give a recital on the great Disney organ. No one knows what he will play, be it Brooklynite or otherwise. He likes to keep his options open.


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