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Vassar opens Fritts Organ dedicatory recital series, February 8

The Fritts Organ was installed in the Vassar College Music Department's recital hall in the Belle Skinner Music Building. Built by internationally known organ builder Paul Fritts of Tacoma, Washington, this instrument — with two manuals and pedal, 34 stops, and including features of north and middle German baroque styles — has already attracted the attention of organists throughout the country.

Three recitalists will offer the formal inaugural of this instrument.

The opening concert on Saturday, February 8, at 8 p.m., features Vassar organist Merellyn Gallagher performing works by Bach, Scheidt, Couperin, Kauffmann, and Mendelssohn. Gallagher, college organist and lecturer, was organist and choir director at Grace Church in Millbrook, New York, for many years. Her teachers have included Vernon Gotwals, Helmut Walcha, and Heinrich Fleischer. A graduate of Smith College, with a master's degree from the University of Minnesota, Gallagher was on the faculty for Pipe Organ Encounters 1990 at Duquesnes University.

On Saturday, February 22, at 8 p.m., James David Christie will perform works by Sweelinck, Scheidt, Scheidemann, Buxtehude, B�hm, and Bach. Christie received his degrees from Oberlin and New England conservatories, winning the latter's Distinguished Alumni Award. His teachers have included David Boe, Yuko Hayahsi, Marie-Claire Alain, Bernard Lagac�, and Harold Vogel. In 1979, he was the first American to win the first prize in the International Organ Competition in Bruges, Belgium. He has served as organist for the Boston Symphony since 1978. In 2000, he was visiting professor at the Paris conservatory and the Academy of Music, Krakow, Poland. He was recently been appointed to the faculty of Oberlin College.

On Saturday, March 29, at 8 p.m. Joan Lippincott will perform works by Bach, Mozart, and Mendelssohn. A graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music and Westminster Choir College, Lippincott was recently principal university organist at Princeton University, and for many years served as professor of organ at Westminster Choir College. Her many recordings on the Gothic label include music by Bach, Mozart, Mendelssohn, Widor, Alain, and Pinkham. In 2001-2002, she played eight all-Bach programs on different organs in New York City under the rubric "Bach in the Big Apple."

At the final celebratory event, on Saturday, May 10, at 8 p.m., the hall will be renamed the Mary Anna Fox Martel Recital Hall in memory of Martel who graduated in 1890 with a diploma from Vassar's School of Music. This program will include organ music among other performances by students and faculty.

A Martel Foundation grant acquired by Vassar College President Frances Fergusson funded the renovation of the stage area and the air-conditioning of the recital hall.

For more information, call the Vassar College Department of Music at (845) 437-7294. Individuals with disabilities requiring accommodations should contact Cathy Jennings, Office of Campus Activities, (845) 437-5370, as far in advance as possible to request reasonable and appropriate accommodations for the event. Specifications for this organ can be reviewed on the Internet at http://www.frittsorgan.com/organs/vassar/.

Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential liberal arts college founded in 1861.

Posted by Office of Communications Saturday, February 8, 2003