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Organ Recital Series – Susan Jane Matthews

February 11, 2018

4:00 pm

Our organ recital series features some of the finest organists playing one of America’s great organs. Our organist today is Dr. Susan Jane Matthews. Suggested donation of $10.

About the program

This program features organ music composed by American, French and German women performed by an American woman. Female composers as well as female organists dwell in small fringe worlds, and it is a delight to unite the two through the uniquely beautiful Aeolian-Skinner organ of the landmark sacred space of Grace Cathedral.  The performance today of the Preston Toccata by Minnesotan Ann Millikan marks the US West Coast Premiere of this work composed in honor of the 600th anniversary of the birth of Sir William Preston, a Scottish ancestor of the composer, and based on two bagpipe tunes. The year of 2018 marks the 50th anniversary of the death of the legendary French composer Jeanne Demessieux at the age of 47, the anniversary of her birth in two days from this recital.  These six works display the wide gamut of Demessieux’s oeuvre, from a soulfully sublime setting of the Advent chant Rorate caeli to the virtuosity of the infamous etudes, the latter a mirror of her own seemingly limitless technique.

About the recitalist

Susan Jane Matthews has performed throughout the United States and in Europe, including solo organ recitals at La Madeleine and St.-Sulpice, Paris; St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, and the Himmerod Abbey, Germany. Since October 2005, Dr. Matthews has been Director of Music at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Burlingame, California. In July 2017, she led the Choir of St. Paul’s (ages 10 to 80) in a weeklong residency at Gloucester Cathedral, England, including also performances at Oxford University Church and Blenheim Palace.  She previously served as Principal Organist here at Grace Cathedral, San Francisco, where she has recorded two solo organ CDs for the Gothic label:  Chosen Tunes in 2004 and More Chosen Tunes in 2016.

This event is part of Spacious Grace, the cathedral’s annual free-form arts festival when we remove the pews and fill the space with exciting events. Now in its fourth year, Spacious Grace runs from January 29 to February 11. Explore the full lineup.


Grace Cathedral


$10 donation suggested


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