Organist Christa Rakich
Time & Location
About the Event
POST-CONCERT Q&A WITH THE ARTIST
Q: Given that every pipe organ is different, what informs your registration choices and changes?
A: Every organ IS different, and it takes me quite a while to discover each one's secrets, what repertoire it likes played, what its most magical colors are. I visited Holy Trinity twice before finalizing a program. That was a real luxury for me, as often all I get is a stoplist, and then I need to take my best guesses.
Q: Who or what inspired you to take up the organ and the art of composition?
A: I was raised Catholic, in a very church-going family. My mom sang in the choir, so I got to visit the organ loft frequently. I took piano lessons as a kid, so in eighth grade, I was the kid who could play. I got yanked out of class and dropped on the organ bench at age 12, and I've never left!
Q: Why have you pursued a career in music?
A: I love it like nothing else. To me, music expresses what words cannot. I think it's the truest thing there is.
Q: How has the pandemic changed the ways in which you teach, practice and concertize?
A: Oh, in a bazillion different ways. It's been difficult, teaching via video/zoom, and sending folks videos instead of going places and playing concerts. There have been some advantages. Listening acutely with a student to a video she has made is very useful, and I wouldn't have thought to try that. But oh what a joy it was on Sunday to play in the moment for real live people!
Q: How many hours a day do you spend alone studying, composing, arranging and/or practicing?
A: I aim for 3. Sometimes, right before a concert or recording session it's more, and I confess that I do tend to take a couple days off after a major gig or project is completed.
Q: What do your most devoted audience members bring to your concerts/recitals?
A: Their attention! I can feel it, and it inspires me.
Q: How have the best pieces you’ve been performing revealed themselves and the minds of the composers and arrangers after performing them for all these years?
A: The best pieces seem to reveal their depth in ever-new ways. Objectively, I know the piece, on paper, has stayed the same, so it must be I who have changed. But it always delights me to find new causes to marvel at a piece like Bach's Canonic Variations.
Q: Is there a living performer with whom you would like to perform a concert or a recording who has yet to accept your invitation to collaborate?
A: I have wanted to play with baroque cellist Shirley Hunt for a couple of years now. I think the world of her, and we've both expressed a willingness to collaborate. But alas, our schedules and locations have not permitted it, and now with Covid, it seems even further off. One thing the current plague has done, though, is allow me to think about commissioning new works from composers I admire. I've just commissioned a piece for organ and cello from my Oberlin buddy David Hurd, so stay tuned for that!
Doors open at 3:30pm. Space is limited to 150 persons due to CDC guidelines.
Printed programs will not be provided. Bring your own, or view on your favorite device.
Concert and recording artist Christa Rakich has performed widely throughout North America, Europe, and Japan. From now through June of 2021 she is Visiting Professor of Organ at Oberlin Conservatory in Ohio. Near her home in Connecticut, she maintains two Artist-in-Residencies: St. John’s Episcopal Church in West Hartford and the Congregational Church of Somers. Past Artist-in-Residencies have included the University of Pennsylvania and First Lutheran Church in Boston.
As a Fulbright Scholar, Christa Rakich studied with renowned Bach interpreter Anton Heiller at the Hochschule für Musik in Vienna, Austria. She holds Bachelor’s degrees in Organ and German from Oberlin College (Phi Beta Kappa). After receipt of her Master’s degree with honors from New England Conservatory, she joined the faculty there, where she taught for many years, serving ultimately as department co-chair. She has also served on the faculties at Westminster Choir College, Brandeis University, and the University of Connecticut, and as Assistant University Organist at Harvard.
An eager collaborator, Christa Rakich, with her colleague Susan Ferré, is a frequent performer at the Big Moose Bach Festival in New Hampshire. With flutist Wendy Rolfe and gambist Alice Robbins, she is a founding member of the Marion Baroque Ensemble, based in Massachusetts, and was for many years keyboardist for the Fanfare Consort, a Connecticut-based ensemble that included baroque trumpet, strings, lute, organ, and harpsichord.
Rakich also serves as Vice-President of the Boston Clavichord Society. One of her recent concerts for that organization included a performance of Mozart’s Jupiter Symphony on 2 clavichords, with clavichordist Erica Johnson. With cellist Kathleen Schiano, Rakich commissioned and premiered Sonatas for Organ and Cello by Dutch composer Margaretha Christina de Jong and American James Woodman.
A prizewinner at international organ competitions, Rakich has received particular acclaim for her interpretations of the music of J.S. Bach. She has recorded his Clavierübung III, Leipzig Chorales, and Trio Sonatas. Other organ recordings include Deferred Voices: Organ Music by Women Composers, Transcriptions from St. Justin’s, Live from St. Mark’s Cathedral, From the Ashes: Richards-Fowkes Opus 21 in Somers, and A Tribute to Yuko Hayashi: Richards-Fowkes Opus 14 at Duke University (released in 2020).
For more information, please visit www.christarakich.com.
On the program:
Variations on Besançon (2003) - David Arcus (b. 1959)
Canonic Variations on the Christmas song Vom Himmel hoch, da komm’ ich her - J.S. Bach (1685-1750)
Three Chorale Preludes - Johanna Senfter (1879-1961)
Vom Himmel hoch, da komm’ ich her
In dulci jubilo
Puer natus in Bethlehem
Trois Pièces (1911) Nadia Boulanger (1887-1979)
Hommage à Gershwin
Quodlibet on Slane (2020) - Christa Rakich (b. 1952)
Fantasia on Salve Regina (2016) - Margaretha Christina de Jong (b. 1961)
Sonata in Sea: Cape Cod (2003) - James Woodman (b. 1957)