Christopher Houlihan

concert organist

New CD: Christopher Houlihan plays Bach

Cover art: Sam Kalda

Cover art: Sam Kalda

This winter the acclaimed organist Christopher Houlihan releases an all-Bach CD. The recording features five of J.S. Bach's most substantial organ masterpieces - as well as Houlihan's own arrangement of the ever-popular keyboard work, the Italian Concerto BWV 971. Christopher Houlihan plays Bach (Azica ACD-71314) is released on February 17, 2017.

The young American musician Christopher Houlihan is widely acknowledged as one of the brightest stars in the new generation of organists, praised by the media as "dazzling" (Wall Street Journal), "eloquent" (Los Angeles Times) and "gifted" (New York Times). Houlihan has established an international reputation for his artistry with performances in celebrated venues in major cities across North America and Europe, as well as at numerous conventions of the American Guild of Organists and the Organ Historical Society.

The organ works of J.S. Bach stand at the pinnacle of serious organ repertoire. Himself a virtuoso organist, Bach astounded audiences in his performances across Europe. While Bach's organ works are timeless, the organ as an instrument has changed a great deal since the 18th century. This led the distinguished concert organist Christopher Houlihan to pose a question: how might an organ virtuoso's playing make an even greater impression on listeners when performed on instruments that are distinctly different from those of Bach's time? Houlihan answers that question in this, his first CD devoted entirely to Bach masterpieces.

Houlihan says, "The past sixty or so years have seen numerous, groundbreaking recordings of Bach's music on historic and historically informed instruments; this recording is a decidedly modern take on this repertoire. You'll hear crescendos and diminuendos as well as registration changes that are only possible on a modern organ. I do not believe this distorts Bach's genius, but rather highlights different aspects of it. It's a little like playing Bach on a piano: perhaps one doesn't play it like Liszt would have, but how much does one pretend the piano is a harpsichord?"

Christopher Houlihan plays Bach (Azica ACD-71314) is his first release on the Azica label, and is the latest addition to his discography, which also includes recordings on the Towerhill label. The performances were recorded at the Trinity College Chapel in Hartford, CT on the Austin Organ op. 2536. The recording is available on CD and in digital format and is distributed by Naxos USA.

Organist Christopher Houlihan
Johann Sebastian Bach
Azica ACD-71314


Fantasia and Fugue in G minor, BWV 542 11:12
Italian Concerto, BWV 971 (arr. Houlihan) 13:50
Prelude and Fugue in B minor, BWV 544 13:30
Trio Sonata in G major, BWV 530 12:43
Toccata, Adagio, and Fugue in C major, BWV 564 15:17
Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor, BWV 582 13:22

© 2017 Christopher Houlihan