SUNDAY, MARCH 5, 2017
Bach Festival Recital
Mayflower Congregational Church
2345 Robinson Rd SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506
Jonathan Tuuk, Coordinator
Co-sponsored by Mayflower Congregational Church and the Anne Heyboer Vander Heide Fund
Isabelle Demers is Organ Professor and Head of the Organ Program at Baylor University in Texas, where she teaches organ and courses in the organ curriculum. A native of Québec, she is rapidly becoming recognized as one of North America’s most virtuosic organists. Her concert at the 2010 national convention of the American Guild of Organists, in Washington, D.C., was received with great acclaim not only by critics, who deemed it “one of the most outstanding events of the convention.” (The American Organist), but also by the standing-room-only audience, which called her back five times. A review of her concert for the joint ISO-AIO convention in 2010 said that “she enchanted the entire audience with her virtuoso performance,” leaving the entire congress in an atmosphere of “Demers fever.”
She began piano and organ study at age eleven at the Montréal Conservatory of Music. After graduation in 2003 she studied on scholarship for a year in Paris at the École Normale de Paris-Alfred Cortot. She received her Master’s and Doctoral degrees from The Juilliard School in New York City, where she studied with Paul Jacobs. Her dissertation – an analysis of Bach’s St. John Passion – was awarded the Richard French Prize for best dissertation at commencement.
Isabelle Demers was a featured performer at the 2008 national convention of the American Guild of Organists in Minneapolis, and her performance was later broadcast to a national radio audience. She was a featured artist at the 2009 national convention of the Royal Canadian College of Organists in Toronto, at the 2010 national convention of the American Guild of Organists in Washington, DC, and at the 2010 joint convention of the American Institute of Organbuilders and International Society of Organbuilders in Montréal. She has been a prize-winner and finalist in several international performance competitions and performs widely in the United States, Canada, and Europe. Highlights of her 2012 season included her Davies Hall and Disney Hall debuts in March 2012 as well as a 14-concert tour of England and Germany in the summer.
Her debut recording on British label Acis was met with critical acclaim. On a recent broadcast of Pipedreams, presenter Michael Barone featured the Fugue from Reger’s Op. 73, describing it as “a masterful score, here masterfully played,” and Isabelle Demers as, “definitely a talent to watch, to hear….” The RSCM’s Church Music Quarterly awarded the “exciting, expressive and successful” recording its highest recommendation for its “profound and searching” performances. Fanfare Magazine proclaimed the “superbly produced” and “clear, tightly focused recording” with its “brilliantly played program.” Her second disc, featuring the organ works of Rachel Laurin, was released in June 2011, and her recording of Max Reger’s Seven Chorale-Fantasias this past November. Isabelle Demers is represented by Phillip Truckenbrod Concert Artists.