Great Experience

This Friday, Take a Musical Journey Through Time

by Pavia Rosati
St. The stage is set at the Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral​ in New York City. Photo courtesy of Friends of the Erben Organ.

Of all the Zoom activities you've done to alleviate pandemic boredom, it's a safe bet that attending a global concert of music played on instruments built before the Spanish Flu of 1918 isn't on the list. 

Time to change that. This Friday at 7 pm EST (February 5, 2021), you can travel through time and hear the world premiere of a piece composed in the 21st century played by musicians born in the 20th century on instruments from the 19th century. (And you won't even need a space suit! Stay on the sofa in your jammies.) 

The RSVP page might have you consulting Wikipedia to learn the difference between a reed organ, a pipe organ, and and a harmonium — but a better idea would be to let the music wash over your senses and hear the difference for yourself. 

The performers are Artis Wodehouse on reed organ and harmonium and Jared Lamenzo on the Erben Organ, the 1868 pipe organ built in New York's Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral, where the concert will be held. The music will include pieces by such composers as Georges Bizet, Dudley Buck, and Zoltan Kodaly, who composed his Missa Brevis in the winter of 1945 while hiding from the Nazis in the basement of  the Budapest Opera House. The debut work by Harvard's Composer In Residence, Carson Cooman, was co-commissioned by Artis Wodehouse and Friends of the Erben Organ, the non-profit dedicated to preserving the historic organ. The additional remarkable instruments you'll hear played alone and in harmony are a 1903 Mustel Art Harmonium from France, a 1887 Mason & Hamlin Lizst Harmonium from the USA, and a 1925 Billhorn folding preacher’s pump organ, also from the USA.


Sign up early to watch videos about the instruments before the performance. Regular tickets cost $25, but for $95 VIP tickets you will also get access to the artists' Zoom Room, so you can ask them how they play that thing anyway. The concert and videos will be available until February 15 for repeat playing.

Erben Organ concerts at Old St. Pat's are always mesmerizing, soothing, and elevating. (And not necessarily religious, unless you want them to be.) An altogether lovely way to go into the weekend — and the rest of the year.

Get your tickets here. Fathom readers can take $10 off with the code fathom10.