Epsilon Spires presents free organ concert in its Lunchtime Pipe Organ Series
Courtesy photo
Justin Murphy-Mancini

Epsilon Spires presents free organ concert in its Lunchtime Pipe Organ Series

BRATTLEBORO — At noon on Wednesday, Feb. 1, Dr. Justin Murphy-Mancini will perform a recital that ranges in time from the 17th-century composer Dieterich Buxtehude to contemporary pieces by the Franco-Lebanese organist Naji Hakim and the 95-year-old American composer Emma Lou Diemer. The program also includes a sonata by Felix Mendelssohn and J.S. Bach’s Passacaglia in C.

“Every piece on the program is a set of variations of one kind or another, allowing for the instrument’s great variety to be communicated by composers throughout history,” Murphy-Mancini said in a news release. “The concert will show off the many different colors and sound combinations possible only on the organ.”

Murphy-Mancini is a graduate of Oberlin College and Conservatory of Music, where he earned degrees in historical performance, organ, composition, and philosophy before going on to receive a doctorate in composition at the University of California, San Diego. He is coming to Brattleboro from the North Shore of Massachusetts, where he serves as the director of Church music at a Unitarian Universalist congregation that is home to the last surviving organ by Newburyport organ builder Joseph Alley, built in 1834.

As a composer, Murphy-Mancini’s work explores medieval poetic forms, with “an emphasis on timbre as the meaning-generating dimension of the music.” His performance repertoire consists primarily of music from the Middle Ages, Renaissance, and Baroque periods, but he also maintains a strong interest in contemporary composers.

In addition to his other musical activities, Murphy-Mancini frequently records works by women, people of color, and unknown Renaissance composers on the organ, which he then makes available to listeners online through various platforms.

Now in its third year, the Lunchtime Pipe Organ Series has brought dozens of performers from throughout the northeast to play programs of their favorite pieces on the 1906 Estey pipe organ installed in the sanctuary of Epsilon Spires. Previously used only during church services, this instrument is now regularly featured in a variety of musical events that have attracted thousands of listeners of all ages, backgrounds, and interests.

The free Lunchtime Pipe Organ Series is supported in part by a grant from the Windham Foundation. Note that Epsilon Spires heats its historic space with an environmentally friendly system that keeps the sanctuary at a cooler temperature than the rest of the building during the winter months, so audience members are encouraged to dress warmly. For more information on this program, visit epsilonspires.org.

Subscribe to the newsletter for weekly updates