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Arts and Theater 1
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Black Tie International:
 Olivier Latry


 Olivier Latry


Voices of Ascension

Dennis Keene, Artistic Director & Conductor


 Olivier Latry

Titular Organist, Cathedral of Notre Dame, Paris 


Wednesday, October 24, 2012, 8:00pm

Church of the Ascension

Fifth Avenue at Tenth Street, NYC


Marchand: Grand Dialogue, Grigny: Tierce en taille, Dupré: Le monde dans l’attente du sauveur (from Symphonie-Passion), Cochereau: Berceuse à la mémoire de Louis Vierne, Escaich: Evocation II



Widor: Symphonie V (complete)


Olivier Latry, titular organist of the Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris, is one of the world’s most distinguished organists.  He was born in 1962 in Boulogne-sur-Mer, France, and began his study of piano at age 7 and his study of the organ at age 12; he later attended the Academy of Music at St. Maur-des-Fossés, studying organ with Gaston Litaize.  From 1981 until 1985 Olivier Latry was titular organist of Meaux Cathedral, and at age 23 he won a competition to become one of the three titular organists of the Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris.  From 1990 until 1995 he taught organ at the Academy of Music at St. Maur-des-Fossés, where he succeeded his teacher, Gaston Litaize.  Since 1995 he has taught at the Paris Conservatory, where he has succeeded Michel Chapuis.  

In addition to concerts and teaching, Mr. Latry has made his mark through recordings on the BNL label in France, which include music of Bach, the complete organ works of Maurice Duruflé, Louis Vierne’s Symphonies 2 and 3, Widor’s Symphonies 5 and 6, and a recording of  works by Litaize.  With Deutsche Grammophon he has recorded “In Spiritum,” a recording devoted to the organ works of César Franck, “Midnight at Notre-Dame,” a recording of transcriptions for the organ, and the complete organ works of Olivier Messiaen.  Recent releases include a recording of works by Alkan, Boëly, Brahms, Liszt, and Schumann played on the pedal piano, and a recording with the Philadelphia Orchestra and conductor Christoph Eschenbach on the  Ondine label featuring the Saint-Saëns Symphony No. 3 “Organ”, the Toccata Festiva by Samuel  Barber, and the Concerto for Organ and Orchestra by Francis Poulenc.  He is also featured on a recording of the Jongen Symphonie Concertante and the Saint-Saëns  Symphony No. 3 “Organ”  with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Liège released on the Cypres label. 


Tickets: $35, $25, $15, $10 and information available at, at 212-358-7060 or at the door.  FREE for students with ID

The Manton Memorial Organ

The Manton Memorial Organ at the Church of the Ascension was made possible by a grant from The Manton Foundation to honor the memory of Sir Edwin and Lady Manton, who were active members of this church for over fifty years. The Mantons were avid lovers of music, particularly the music of Olivier Messiaen and other French composers. 

To meet the needs of the parish’s rich music program, an eclectic organ of the highest artistic level was sought. A world-wide search finally led to Pascal Quoirin of Saint Didier, France. M. Quoirin has spent half his career building new instruments, the other half restoring many of the great historical instruments of France, including the Dom Bedos masterpiece at Sainte-Croix in Bordeaux and the Cavaillé-Coll in Saint-Cloud. He feels that it is through the knowledge he acquired during the renovations of these historical monuments that he has been successful at building new eclectic organs, which comprise elements of many different styles. 

The Ascension organ was designed to play as large a part of the solo organ repertoire as possible, as well as to provide accompaniments for the important choral program of the church. At its core is a three-manual and pedal organ, modeled after Dom Bedos, one of the greatest organ builders of the French Baroque. Thus, on the left side of the altar are the Grand- Orgue, Positif, and Récit-Echo divisions, as well as the bulk of the Pédale, all controlled by a three-manual mechanical-action (“tracker-action”) console. The direct, mechanical connection between the keys of this console and the pallets that let the air into the pipes allows the player exceptional control over the speech of the pipes – an essential part of serious interpretation of Early organ music. A second, movable four-manual electric-action console controls that Baroque core as well as all the other stops on the right side of the altar: some Pédale pipes, some large-scale foundation stops (Montres) in the North aisle façade, and the Grand-Récit Expressif division. The pipes of the Grand-Récit and the Montres were modeled after those of the great 19th Century organ builder Cavaillé-Coll. Quoirin’s great gift is his ability to mix all these various sounds from different periods into an organic unity. In that way, the Manton Memorial Organ can be seen not just as a synthesis of historical styles, but in its own terms, as a 21st Century instrument. 

In designing the four elaborate organ cases, the intent was to create an important work of art from our time of history that: 1) would be a visual representation of the musical personality or soul of the instrument, and 2) would harmonize with the church’s magnificent mural and reredos from the 1880‘s. Design elements were inspired by objects from more than a century ago: mosaic peacocks on the reredos and mosaic friezes on the high altar led to the beautiful carved peacocks and birds of paradise and to the swirled bands of polychrome and gold leaf on the organ façades. The sculptures and polychrome work were done by Babou Vauquois-Quoirin, wife of the builder. The cases and all the veneer work were done by master menuisier Alain Poupinet, using French walnut and ash woods. Laurent Mesme was the head engineer of the entire project. 

The organ was built at the Quoirin Atelier in Saint Didier, France, between May 2008 and June 2010. It was then shipped to Ascension where it was re-assembled in October- November 2010, and tuned and voiced from December 2010 through February 2011. The instrument was dedicated on May 1, 2011. It is the first French-built organ ever installed in New York City, and the largest new French organ built in almost a half-century.


joyce brooks.  photo by:  rose billings

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