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Vassar organist Gail Archer tours Manhattan's churches in a celebration of composer Olivier Messiaen. February 3 - May 29, 2008

If you missed College Organist Gail Archer kick off "Modfest" at Vassar with a Centennial Concert dedicated to French composer and organist Olivier Messiaen, you can still catch her perform his work in the Big Apple.

Archer, a Grammy Award nominee, is devoting a season-long concert series to the 100th birthday of Messiaen (1908-1992). In honor of one of the greatest organist composers of all time, Archer will provide a Messiaen musical journey exploring all six of his complete organ works, while showcasing six of Manhattan's superior church organs starting January 13th with Nativite'du Seigneur at Church of the Heavenly Rest and ending May 29th with Livre du Saint Sacrement at St. Patrick's Cathedral. Known for complementing Messiaen works with technical prowess, Archer continues her dedication by serving as the only organist to perform his works on six different instruments throughout New York City. (See tour schedule below.)

Messiaen's exotic and complex musical landscape coupled with his unshakeable Roman Catholic influences make his music unlike any other of Western classical composers. Paying homage to Messiaen, Archer hand-selected the performance venues based on architecture, space, and acoustics, "in an effort to recreate the sounds and registrations that Messiaen's music calls for," she explains. This concert series follows Archer's most recent exploration of Messiaen – the release of her second album A Mystic in the Making (2007). Described as playing his works with "authority, assertiveness, and rhythmic exactitude," the American Organist Magazine continues to say that her "nearly technically faultless performances result in clarity of complex passagework and exciting moments of virtuosity." In 2002, Archer received much applause for her performance of Les Corps Glorieux (which Messiaen subtitled "seven short visions of the life everlasting"). According to The New York Times, Archer "offered a carefully considered tour of the [these] painterly movements ... she played with an agility that met the music's coloristic and rhythmic demands without calling attention to itself."

About Gail Archer

Gail Archer has quickly risen to become one of America's most successfully renowned organists. Known as an international concert organist, lecturer, and recording artist, Archer recently released her Grammy nominated album A Mystic in the Making (2007) following her 2005 debut CD The Orpheus of Amsterdam, Seelinck, and his Pupils. An active recitalist in both Europe and the United States, she was featured on organ series in Budapest, Turin, Hamburg, Poland, Germany, Italy and the Hague. She performs regularly at festivals worldwide including the Spoleto Festival in South Carolina and the Bach Festival in Florida. She has been hailed as "an organist of exemplary taste," (American Record Guide). Archer currently serves as College Organist at Vassar College, Chair of the Music Department at Barnard College, Columbia University; Director of the Young Artist Series at Central Synagogue; Artistic Director of the Lunchtime Organ Recitals at historic Central Synagogue; and Organ Faculty at the Manhattan School of Music. For more information on Archer, please visit

General Tour & Ticket Information

Sunday, February 3, 4:00pm
First Presbyterian Church, 12 West 12th Street (Fifth Avenue)
Train to L/N/Q/R/W/4/5/6 Union Square Station
Tickets: FREE. First come, first serve. For more info, call 212-675-6150 or visit

Sunday, February 24, 4:00pm
Location: Rutgers Presbyterian Church, 236 West 73rd Street (Broadway)
Train to 1/2/3/9 72nd Street Station
Tickets: FREE. First come, first serve. For more info, call 212-877-8227 or visit

Saturday, March 8, 8:00pm
Location: St. Paul's Chapel, Columbia University, 117th Street and Amsterdam Avenue Train 1 to Columbia University/Broadway Station
Tickets: FREE. First come, first serve. For more info, call 212-854-0480 or visit

Sunday, April 20, 3:00pm
Location: Church of St. Vincent Ferrer, 869 Lexington Ave (66th Street)
Train 6 to 68th St./Hunter College Station
Tickets: FREE. First come, first serve. For more info, call 212-744-2080 or visit

Thursday, May 29, 8:00pm
Location: St. Patrick's Cathedral, 5th Avenue (50th and 51st Streets)
Train E/V/6 to 51st Street Station
Tickets: FREE. First come, first serve. For more info, call 212-753-2261 or visit

Posted by Office of Communications Tuesday, January 1, 2008