A royal tour on the ‘king of instruments’

This summer, John Nothaft, a parishioner of Our Lady of Good Counsel Church in Vienna, will realize his dream to perform cathedral recitals on some of the world's finest instruments in England.

Nothaft graduated from the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University in May with a degree in organ performance. Through Indiana's Hutton Honors College, Nothaft received a grant to attend the Oundle Music Festival, held each year near Cambridge University. After his performance at Oundle, he was awarded concerts at Chester Cathedral and Truro Cathedrals in Great Britain.

On June 24, Nothaft's first stop in England will be Truro Cathedral in Cornwall, an area especially popular in summer because of its beautiful beaches and famous gardens. He will play the Willis Organ, which was built in 1887 in London and shipped to Cornwall by boat. The Truro organ is still special, even 100 years later.

Nothaft will perform at Chester Cathedral June 30. Chester is a walled city in the north and is considered one of the best-preserved medieval towns in England. The local firm of Charles Whiteley built the Chester Cathedral Grand Organ in 1876, and it still enjoys a reputation as one of the finest in the country, attracting musicians from all over the world. The choral tradition at Chester dates back 900 years to its foundation as a Benedictine monastery.

There also are many fine pipe organs in the Washington area, and May 27 Nothaft will give the noon recital at National City Christian Church at Thomas Circle in Washington. The present Möller pipe organ is one of the many magnificent features of the sanctuary, built in 1930.

Nothaft's programs this summer will feature works by Bach, Widor, Messiaen and Reger, rounding out a repertoire of Baroque, classical, Romantic and contemporary selections.

This August, he will begin his master's degree at Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y., where he will study organ repertoire and continue individual instruction in piano, harpsichord and clavichord.

If you go

John Nothaft will give an organ recital May 27 at National City Christian Church, 5 Thomas Circle N.W., Washington, at noon. For more information, call 202/232-0323 or go to nationalcitycc.org.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2016