VARNUS HALL’S SUMMER CONCERT: XAVER VARNUS (ORGAN) & AIDAN HAWKINS (PIANO)

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VARNUS HALL’S SUMMER CONCERT: XAVER VARNUS (ORGAN) & AIDAN HAWKINS (PIANO)

September 17, 2023 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Works by Bach, Mozart & Beethoven performed by the legendary organist Xaver Varnus with the participation of Aidan Hawkins & Norman Dunai.

The biggest summer event at Varnus Hall in the summer of 2023 will be a concert of works by Bach, Mozart and Beethoven, featuring legendary organist Xaver Varnus with two young talents, Canadian pianist Aidan Hawkins and baritone Norman Dunai.

According to ticket offices and newspapers, Xaver Varnus is among the three most popular organists in the world – it is nearly impossible to get tickets to his sell out concerts. Born in Budapest in 1964, he was the first child of a mathematician mother and a jazz pianist father. By the age of six, Varnus knew exactly what he would become. His first piano teacher was Emma Németh, one of the last pupils of Claude Debussy. He lit up the musical firmament of the world like a shooting star. He has played virtually every important organ in the world, including those in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., Notre Dame, Saint­-Sulpice and Saint­-Eustache in Paris, Berliner Dom, Canterbury Cathedral, as well as the largest existing instrument in the world, the Wanamaker Grand Court Organ in Philadelphia. However, fate reserved the most moving invitation for Varnus until 2014, when, near to his fiftieth birthday, Ullrich Böhme, organist at the Thomaskirche in Leipzig, suggested he play the famous Sauer Organ over the grave of the mighty Johann Sebastian Bach. There was a slight altercation in the crowd gathered in front of the church when the doors opened an hour before the start. A younger woman indignantly told an elder American gentleman not to push as she had stood in line over an hour to get in. “Madam,” he replied, “I have been stood in line for 30 years to hear Xaver play in the Thomaskirche.” Organist, impro­viser, author, lecturer and media personality, Varnus has had a dramatic impact on audiences’ acceptance and appreciation of organ music. Over the course of his career, Varnus has played live to more than six million people worldwide, recor­ded fifty-­three albums, made sixty concert films, and written five books. His videos have sur­passed 35 million views on YouTube. Varnus’ Bach concert film, recorded at his recital in the Berliner Dom in 2013, has become the most ­watched organ concert movie in music history, with 15 million views. His “Quadruple Platinum Disc Award” winning album “From Ravel to Vangelis”, released by SONY in 2007, is the best­selling collection of organ recordings ever. “Varnus is a monster talent, every bit as stimulating and individual as the late Glenn Gould.” These lines are by the distinguished North American critic Robert Everett­Green, which appeared in Canada’s national newspaper, The Globe & Mail on 8 May 1986. A few years later, the Toronto Star music critic Ronald Hambleton wrote: “Varnus has been called the Horowitz of the organ (The New York Times), or contrariwise the Paganini of the organ (Le Figaro). And even the Glenn Gould of the organ. But he is none of the above. Instead, he is plainly the Varnus of the organ, a self­-assured prodigy with a mind of his own”. As a Canadian citizen, Varnus spends much of his time at his official residence Villa Varnus, his family’s beautiful historical country estate near Lake Balaton, as well as at his 12th century house in Todi (Italy) and his home in Berlin (Germany). During the summer months Xaver Varnus resides in Nova Scotia (Canada) where he is the artistic director of his international music festival hosted in his own concert hall, within a 19th century church building. In 2023, Xaver Varnus also bought another abandoned 19th-century church in the Transdanubia region, which he named Adam Varnus Memorial Hall in memory of his brother, who died young. Varnus has received many honours, including the highest decoration for civilians in the land of his birth, the Commander’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary.

Aidan Hawkins is a 19 year old pianist studying in the Don Wright Faculty of Music at the University of Western Ontario. From a young age, Aidan developed his passion for music and has since taken part in several music competitions, such as the Kiwanis Music Festival of London, Toronto, and the Junior Steinway National Piano Competition. Aidan has held a number of recitals around Canada and has been noticed by several world-renowned musicians. Aidan has also earned a spot on the Dean’s Honour List and has won many awards and scholarships for his proficiency.

The young European singer Norman Dunai was discovered by the legendary diva Veronika Kincses, Pavarotti’s former stage partner. Norman, who has had many major European performances in the past year, is a student of the Budapest Conservatory of Music. At only 17, he has already sung the role of Sarastro in Mozart’s Magic Flute.

Venue

Varnus Hall
75 Brooklyn Shore Road
Brooklyn, NS B0J 1H0 Canada

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