Inaugural Commission for the Christ Church Organ (working title)

Christ Church Preservation Trust

2017
$295,000

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Opus 150, 1:16 model. Photo courtesy of C.B. Fisk, Inc.

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Christ Church. Photo by JJ Tiziou.

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Phyllis Chen. Photo courtesy of the artist.

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International Contemporary Ensemble. Photo by Carrie Schneider.

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Nathan Davis. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Christ Church Preservation Trust will mark the installation of a new, custom-built pipe organ in historic Christ Church with the commission of a new work by composers Nathan Davis and Phyllis Chen, who are members of the New York-based, highly acclaimed International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE). Working in collaboration with the church’s director of music and organist Parker Kitterman, the composers will draw on the nearly 300-year history of Christ Church’s buildings, grounds, and instruments to create a composition in four movements. The performance by Kitterman and 12 members of ICE will guide audiences across the entire church campus, including a section of Independence National Historical Park. The work will employ a variety of instruments and technology, such as the church’s mechanically controlled bell carillon, the Benjamin Franklin-designed glass armonica, piano, wind and string instruments, and digitally manipulated sounds played through audience members’ cell phones. The piece will culminate in the church sanctuary with a movement that places the new pipe organ at its center. Documentation of the composers’ site visits and experimentations with the church bells and organ will be presented as a multimedia exhibition at Christ Church Neighborhood House and online.