With his extraordinary musicality, near- limitless technical skill, and pioneering spirit, Carpenter is one of “the most strident and provocative phenomena on the classical music scene” (Süddeutsche Zeitung) and is considered the “decathlete of manuals, pedals, and stop knobs” (Die Zeit). Since the completion of the International Touring Organ (ITO) in 2014, Carpenter now plays almost exclusively on his own instrument. The ITO, built according to his plans, allows him to perform at almost any venue imaginable.
Born in Pennsylvania, USA, in 1981, Cameron Carpenter first performed J. S. Bach’s “Well-Tempered Clavier” at the age of 11. While studying composition and organ at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, he transcribed over 100 works for organ, including Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 5. Carpenter’s first compositions were written during his time at the Juilliard School in New York.
In 2019, Carpenter’s recording of his arrangement of Sergei Rachmaninoff’s “Paganini Variations” was released, and of Francois Poulenc’s Organ Concerto with the Konzerthausorchester Berlin under Christoph Eschenbach. Cameron Carpenter was the first organist ever to be nominated for a Grammy for his album “Revolutionary” (2008, Telarc).
Carpenter has received numerous awards for his work and in 2017/18 was an “Artist in Residence” with the Konzerthausorchester in Berlin, his current home. It was there that Carpenter discovered his penchant for silent film classics, which he accompanies with great passion, as a change of pace and an extension of his repertoire. In 2014, for example, he gave three live concerts at Berlin’s Babylon cinema, accompanying the Berlinale version – lavishly restored with Bertelsmann’s support – of Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari. Later, he improvised a score to accompany Ruttmann’s Berlin – Die Sinfonie der Großstadt and Fritz Lang’s Metropolis. The revolutionary organist has previously accompanied Murnau’s Nosferatu as well.