wun·der·kind (vndr-knd, wn-) n. pl. wun·der·kin·der (-kndr)
1. A child prodigy.
2. A person of remarkable talent or ability who achieves great success or acclaim at an early age.
[German : Wunder, wonder, prodigy (from Middle High German, from Old High German wuntar)
A wunderkind is coming to Honolulu in the person of Nathan Laube, concert organist, who happens to be our next houseguest. From his website: “A star among young classical musicians, concert organist Nathan J. Laube has quickly earned a place among the organ world’s elite performers. His brilliant playing and gracious demeanor have thrilled audiences and presenters across the United States and in Europe, and his creative programming of repertoire spanning five centuries, including his own virtuoso transcriptions of orchestral works, have earned high praise from critics and peers alike.”
Ever since the 2010 national convention of the American Guild of Organists in Washington D.C., I have heard nothing but raves from my fellow AGO Executive Board members on Nathan’s “wow” performance there. “We’ve just got to bring Nathan to Hawaii,” said Karl Bachman, dean of the local AGO chapter. The Hawaii AGO will be sponsoring the free recital.
Nathan Laube has performed in all the major concert venues in the United States including Walt Disney Concert Hall, Washington National Cathedral, Verizon Hall in Philadelphia, Overture Hall in Madison, WI, Trinity Cathedral in Portland, First Congregational Church in Los Angeles, and many more. He has made five concert tours of the United Kingdom, including York Minster, Canterbury Cathedral, Southwark Cathedral, Exeter Cathedral, and Truro Cathedral. He’s been the featured performer for five national organists conventions — and he’s twenty-four years old?
He has been studying in Europe where he will receive his Master’s Degree in Organ Performance from the Musikhochschule in Stuttgart, Germany where he has been pursuing his studies with Ludger Lohmann under the auspices of a German DAAD Fellowship Study Scholarship. While in Stuttgart, he is also studying improvisation with Jürgen Essl, and harpsichord with Jörg Halubek.
As a church musician, Nathan currently serves as Artist-in-Residence at the American Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in Paris, France. He will join the faculty of The Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York as Assistant Professor of Organ in the fall.
From The Boston Musical Intelligencer: “If Nathan Laube is any indication, the organ has a much brighter future than some would believe in this age of broadening definitions of church music. This young man is an unpretentious, attitude-free, and brilliant artist who, it would seem, has to be one of Malcolm Gladwell’s “Outliers:” if he hasn’t practiced for 10,000 hours yet, he certainly sounds as though he’s on his way to Gladwell’s benchmark. His playing speaks for itself with lucid phrasing, uncanny use of solo and ensemble color, and perception and depth unusual in someone his age. He also spoke about the music with great maturity, and half of Sunday evening’s program was music he had arranged for the organ. No Virgil Fox or Cameron Carpenter flamboyance for this young artist: the music comes first.”
Last November, my former organ student, Joey Fala, heard Nathan’s recital in Schenectady, NY and was privileged to have dinner with him afterwards. From all accounts, it was “almost three hours of great celebration and discussion.” Apparently Joey raved about the hospitality at Chez Crosier, including the great food! Joey wrote, “I think you’ll find that he is by far the most fun, gracious and hilarious individual you will ever come across! You’ll have so much fun!”
Nathan’s concert in Honolulu will be Sunday, March 10th at 4 pm at Central Union Church, 1660 South Beretania Street. The concert is free, but donations will be gladly accepted . . . ahem, strongly encouraged!
You can view Nathan Laube’s video clips and audio by clicking here.