Monthly Archives October 2014

Kotzschmar’s return to glory signals a grand fall arts season

Merrill Auditorium was empty as Ray Cornils sat at the console of the Kotzschmar Organ. He pushed his glasses to the bridge of his nose, stretched his arms over the keys and paused ever so briefly. With an understated flourish, he flexed his muscular fingers, and the pipe organ sprang to life, filling the hall with soaring, brassy sounds. Head cocked, ears alert and eyes wide open, Cornils listened intently as he played. He has performed on this organ countless times since becoming the city’s municipal organist in 1990, but never until that moment on a lazy summer afternoon in
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Society Notebook: Resounding success for a Portland treasure

Ray Cornils, one of only two municipal organists in the nation, had a memorable birthday at the Friends of Kotzschmar Organ (FOKO) reception celebrating the historic organ’s return after reconstruction. Mike Foley, whose firm Foley-Baker Inc., took the 102-year-old, 50-ton instrument apart and rebuilt it over the past two years, took the liberty of playing “Happy Birthday” in Cornils’ honor. Cocktail party guests then enjoyed the world premiere performance of “Concertino FOKO,” composed by Carson Cooman – a preview of the following night’s sold-out concert. “We’re at our best as a city when we all come together to recognize that
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Kotzschmar Organ back at Merrill after $2.5M renovation

Portland’s Merrill Auditorium has hosted several great performers with a variety of talents. Perhaps none are as diverse as it’s Kotzschmar Organ that has called Merrill home for over 100 years and that recently received a major face lift. The organ was disassembled and sent away to Washington two years ago to be renovated. The project cost $2.5 million to restore the organ’s console as well as it’s complicated 7,100 piece piping system. Ray Cornils has been the municipal organist at Merrill Auditorium since 1990 and according to him the Kotzschmar’s air system didn’t hold up as well as the
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