The pipe organ was a common instrument from 1600 to 1750 (when it was known as the “king of machines”), but it is still widely used today, especially in religious services in churches, especially the Latin rite churches. It has a very wide area because of the strength of the sound and dynamics and the color that characterizes it. It has several keyboards with control valves, blowing air through holes in the pipes.
The Terra Sancta Organ Festival, organized by the Custody of the Holy Land in all the countries where it is active, is a way of showing the presence of the Christian communities in the Middle East and in the Levant in the field of music and culture. Organ music here represents an exceptional artistic repertoire, perceived as specifically Christian, as the pipe organ is present almost only in churches. Although the concerts take place in churches, the audience is made up of music lovers of all religions: The Terra Sancta Organ Festival is one of the rare occasions in the Middle East and in the Levant when the sound of a pipe organ can be heard outside the normal liturgical context.
The Organ has been brought back to its previous glory on Sunday, November 26th, after a silence that lasted for many years; that unique organ decorating the church of St. Francis of Assisi in Aleppo. It was re-inaugurated by the international organist Eugenio Maria Fagiani who played some of the most exquisite musical pieces and took us to another world… We felt like we were in the heavens.
Here’s a piece about the life of the famous organist Eugenio Maria Fagiani:
Eugenio Maria Fagiani is not only a virtuoso organist, but also a very talented composer
Eugenio Maria Fagiani n’est pas seulement un organiste virtuose, mais aussi un
compositeur de grand talent – Marcel Bitsch
He is a brilliant, virtuoso organist, but his great mastery is entirely subservient to the realization of a larger musical experience – John Scott
As an affirmed international concert organist he performs in whole Europe, Belarus,
Cyprus, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Russia, Syria, United Kingdom, Canada and the USA on the most important instruments.
He is invited to hold masterclasses (both in Interpretation and Improvisation) and lectures for several top-class music institutions around Europe and North America as the Cambridge University Organ Scolar’s Forum (UK) and the RCCO, Toronto (CDN). He is also invited to serve as a juror in international competitions.
From 2008 he is the Organist of the Franciscan Shrine of La Verna, Arezzo. In 2010 he started the collaboration as the organist with the Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano LaVerdi (with which he recorded several times for the Italian’s state broadcasting company Radio Tre Rai). He also performed, both as a soloist as well as with the orchestra, in the recording project of the symphonic music of Nino Rota, published by Decca (8 CD’s, up to now, under the conduction of maestro Giuseppe Grazioli) that started in 2013.
With LaVerdi he performed at the BBC-Proms in London (broadcasted worldwide live by the BBC), on the magnificent instrument of the Royal Albert Hall, under the baton of Xian Zhang. He was also the organist in the highly praised performances of the Mahler’s 8th Symphony that the LaVerdi gave with maestro Riccardo Chailly in Milano.
During February 2017 he has been the first Western musician since 2011 invited to perform in Syria. Two historical concerts were given in the Damascus Opera House, with the Syrian National Symphony Orchestra conducted by maestro Missak Baghboudarian (the program includes Jongen’s “Symphonie Concertante” and Saint-Saëns “Third Symphony”, recorded live by the Syrian National TV) and then in the Saint Anthony’s Church, in the First Syrian Pipe Organ Week.
His works as a composer (as well of a successful series of organ transcriptions) are now part of the repertoire of some of the most prestigious artists of our time as Stephen Tharp and David Briggs.
With the CD “Crucis Christi Mons Alvernae”, recorded with the choir of La Verna’s friars, obtained the “Recording of the year 2009”acknowledgment from Alias, cultural review of the Italian National newspaper Il Manifesto.
Eugenio is the Artistic Director of the Festival Internazionale di Musica d’Organo de La Verna from November 2014. In April 2015 he received by the Archbishop of Arezzo the title as the Artistic Director of the new Festival Organistico “S.Donato” in the Arezzo’s Dome on the astonishing Luca da Cortona organ (1534-36). From 2016 he has also been appointed as the Artistic Advisor of the Terra Sancta Organ Festival, organized by the Custody of the
Holy Land (a Festival that includes many Countries in the Middle East region in a unique season of organ concerts).
He records with: VDE-Gallo (Switzerland), Spektral Records (Germany) and Decca (UK).