Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-09-01
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Musician Cameron Carpenter plays to the tune of his organ
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2012-04-12

This article shared 11003 times since Thu Apr 12, 2012
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Five minutes into talking with concert-hall organist Cameron Carpenter, and one discovers he is like few others.

With Carpenter, a question on practically any subject can launch what amounts to a doctoral discourse—something this interviewer found fascinating. Talking with him, of course, revealed more than a few things, including the fact that the Juilliard-trained Carpenter shuns ( and defies ) labels.

Windy City Times talked with the thoughtful and thought-provoking musician before a recent area performance about music, sexuality and drinking ( not what one might think ) .

Windy City Times: You've been called the "bad boy of the organ" and a "maverick organist." Do you think you're increasing the accessibility and visibility of classical music because people are intrigued by these labels?

Cameron Capenter: I don't really know that people actually are intrigued by the labels, to answer an unasked prior question. I have always found "bad boy of the organ" to be a pathetic moniker. I try to discourage whenever I can. To be the "bad boy of the organ" would be easy, indeed, in a field in which people toe such a narrow line.

I do think there is one thing—and probably one thing, only, aside from actual musical issues—that I do that is incredibly important: I take great pride and enormous satisfaction in being myself. I don't think there's any great progress in which you call the accessibility of classical music. I don't know you would quantify that, because classical music ranges from Gregorian chants to the relatively unintelligible bulk of most new music [ that ] is composed for things like synthesizers.

"Classical music" is this vast lexicon that includes opera, and a tiny bit of it is organ music. I don't know if it's accessible, or if it makes any great effort to be or not to be, sort of like literature. So I don't consider it my job to make music accessible; I consider it my job to play great works. I think the thing I do is to do it exactly the way I see fit, wearing exactly what I like—and I think that attracts people.

WCT: It's not that I think it's your job, necessarily, to make classical music more accessible. However, you and I both know there are certain marketing terms, whether they're true or not—like "bad boy of classical music"—that will draw people in.

CC: Perhaps, although I do find the term "maverick organist" a little more poetic. The only one I appreciated was when the New York Times compared me to Fred Astaire, who was a staggering artist.

I mean, I didn't think you were implying that it was my job. I was just saying that my job is not education. I find it pathetic and sad that those who otherwise would be called classical musicians would have this massive guilt trip about making their music understandable—the idea that everything has to be pointed out with a little Post-It note. You just can't do that to people, and I also find it a little insulting to the audience. I assume that my audience is staggeringly knowledgeable and, even if they're not, that they're celebratorily open to new things.

I also take what I do with the greatest level of seriousness, in terms of delivering value for money and being unbelievably well-prepared, and being unabashed and unafraid about it. Of course, people respect that intuitively, most of the time.

WCT: To me, there's something inherently beautiful about classical music. What is it that intrigues you about it?

CC: There's a great depth of beauty, vulgarity, shallowness, profundity, simplicity and showmanship in almost every kind of human experience. For me, the last thing I would do is identify as a classical musician.

At this point, it's like the whole total banal discussion of bullying. It's sort of a very tired cliche to say you don't want to be labelled; at the end of the day, I don't [ like ] labels because they're woefully inadequate. With your own publication in mind, it's a little like why I object to people calling me "gay." It's not that I don't have sex with men, but it stops short of describing the satisfaction I have from relationships with women, which would render "gay" factually inaccurate.

The music that most intrigues me is from all over the map. To answer your original question, there is beauty in classical music, sometimes. I am attracted to a panoply of experiences, especially in the act of going to a concert. I'm not just interested in beauty; I'm also interested ( but necessariy equally ) in vulgarity and violence.

Also, it's more about the organ than it is about any one type of classical music. The musical instrument is in sync with my mentality, somehow; that's why I play it. There's something satisfactory—although that's a weak word—about playing it, but it's like finding the other half of your personality. It completes me, and that's why I play. It goes way beyond having any attraction to this music or that music.

That's why I'm a little sensitive, I think, to the idea of "classical music." For me, there's an unabashed act of ego about it, and I'm quite proud of that.

WCT: Actually, I want to go back to sexuality. I read in an interview that you consider yourself to be "radically inclusive," sexually.

CC: [ Laughs ] This is one of those experiences where I learned to be careful talking to journalists. Unfortunately, I meant that as a joke, and they were too thick to understand. However, it's only a joke because it's true, like most jokes. I thought "radically inclusive" might be a tongue-in-cheek way of pruning the queer-studies way of talking about sexuality.

WCT: On a different note, there was something I noticed in the CBS Sunday Morning profile of you, among other things—that you drank a gallon of whole milk a day to keep on weight. I don't know anyone who comes close to drinking that amount. Do you still do that?

CC: Well, I drink a lot of milk. I don't drink a gallon of milk, although I drink a gallon of fluid. That piece was about two years ago and, at the time, I was struggling intensely with my metabolism. I have a bizarre problem—which I guess is a problem most of the world should be so lucky to have—but I have a radically fast metabolism. So it's extremely difficult for me to build muscle mass to keep weight on, so I was shocking my system with caloric input. It turned out to be incredibly effective, actually.

However, exercise is my other great passion. I'm kind of a lightweight weightlifter, of sorts, but anything that's regular and imposes discipline is extremely attractive to me. Something about lifting embodies the struggle we all face.

WCT: Is there anything you want your audiences to come away with, or are you fine with them interpreting what they will?

CC: Actually, I'm somewhat agenda-free, in a sense, but the main agenda is to always be myself—and I stand by that pretty strongly because it would be fairly presumptive to have any specific goal in mind. I think it would be like trying to make people laugh; one never hits the target by aiming at it. I let people form their own judgments about [ my performances ] , partly because playing the organ has become such a stratified activity, especially for young organists. It's so deeply loaded with the expectations of other people and I've noticed, at times, that it has such a profound on other people's behaviors and how they relate to society.

I don't play to expectations; I go about do what I'm doing. I think that allows people to have a much better chance at forming opinions of their own.

I also come from a non-musical family and, so, it makes sense for me to not take academic considerations into mind.


This article shared 11003 times since Thu Apr 12, 2012
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

MOVIES 24-hour horror marathon at Music Box on Oct. 23-24 2021-09-24
- "The Music Box of Horrors," sponsored by CreepyCo., will return to the Music Box Theatre, 3733 N. Southport Ave., from noon on Saturday, Oct. 23 through noon on Sunday, Oct. 24. The event will include special ...


Gay News

'Firebird' opens Reeling Chicago LGBTQ+ Internat'l Film Fest tonight 2021-09-23
--From a press release - CHICAGO, Illinois — Tonight, the 39th annual Reeling: The Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Festival invites audiences to enjoy an in-person pre-party and theater screening of 'Firebird' for Opening Night at the Music Box Theater. Director P ...


Gay News

MUSIC ROUNDUP: Riot Fest rocks and rolls with the punches 2021-09-22
- Riot Fest is a massive music festival held annually at Chicago's Douglas Park, held this year on Sept. 16-19 Usually a three-day celebration, Riot held a preview party Sept.16 that began at 2:30 p.m. for the ...


Gay News

LGBTQ+ lullaby album to be released Oct. 28 2021-09-22
- Broadway Records announced the impending release of The Rainbow Lullaby—which the label said is "the world's first LGBTQ lullaby album." The album will be available Thursday, Oct. 28, wherever digital music is sold and on BroadwayRecords.com. ...


Gay News

Pitchfork Music Festival returns and turns 15 in 2021 2021-09-17
- Pitchfork Music Festival turned 15 years old in Chicago this year after being cancelled last year because of the pandemic. This lively celebration of eclectic music continued in the same spot (Union Park) with the usual ...


Gay News

'Andersonville Homecoming' Sept. 24-26; line-up, vendors, safety protocols announced 2021-09-15
--From a press release - CHICAGO (Sept. 15, 2021) — The Andersonville Chamber of Commerce (ACC) is pleased to announce the full entertainment line-up and vendors for Andersonville Homecoming--a three-night, two-day outdoor festival featuring ...


Gay News

Students urged to apply for Musical Theatre Awards 2021-09-14
- Broadway in Chicago is inviting high schools across Illinois to participate in the 11th Annual Illinois High School Musical Theatre Awards. These awards celebrate excellence in high school theater throughout the state. Beginning Thursday, Sept. 16, ...


Gay News

CAIC announces 2021 Collaborative Works Festival, immigration, migration in song 2021-09-13
--From a press release - CHICAGO— Collaborative Arts Institute of Chicago (CAIC) begins its eleventh anniversary season with its annual Collaborative Works Festival, held in venues around Chicago from October 6—9, 2021. The 2021 Collaborative ...


Gay News

MUSIC Lil Nas X wins top award at MTV VMAs 2021-09-13
- The MTV VMA Awards took place Sept. 12—and an LGBTQ+ artist took home one of the night's top awards. Lil Nas X won Video of the Year for "Montero (Call Me By Your Name)," besting Cardi ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'Boy Meets Boy,' Jennifer Hudson, 'SVU,' tennis honor, ABBA 2021-09-12
- Ariztical Entertainment is releasing the German movie Boy Meets Boy on DVD and VOD on Oct. 26. According to a press release, the plot of the 70-minute movie is as follows: "Harry has been partying for ...


Gay News

Pride Fest will extend to Oct. 3; headliners include Kristine W and Mya 2021-09-12
- Mya, Shangela, VINCINT, Crystal Waters, Kristine W, Brooke Eden and St. Panther are among the headliners for Chicago Pride Fest now taking place over three days, Oct. 1-3, in Chicago's LGBTQ+ landmark Northalsted/Lake View district. The ...


Gay News

THEATER 'Dear Mom, I'm Gay!' on Oct. 1-2 2021-09-11
- Dear Mom, I'm Gay!—a workshop of a new musical by David Dilsizian—is running at The Jarvis Square Theater, 1439 W. Jarvis Ave. It will take place at 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 1; and 2 and ...


Gay News

ARC Music Festival debuts in Chicago over Labor Day Weekend 2021-09-11
- Replacing North Coast Music Festival's usual spot in Union Park, ARC Music Festival launched Sept. 4-5. North Coast was forced to move to SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview, Illinois, that same weekend to a stadium that was ...


Gay News

MUSIC 'Global Citizen Live' to run Sept. 25-26 2021-09-09
- International advocacy organization Global Citizen announced the expansion of "Global Citizen Live" to include Los Angeles and London with an outdoor event in L.A., which is presented by Verizon, and headlined by Stevie Wonder with Adam ...


Gay News

'Close-Up with Carmen' Sept. 9 at Center on Halsted 2021-09-08
- 'Close-Up with Carmen'—about the intersection of drag and opera—will take place Thursday, Sept. 9, at 6 p.m. at the Hoover-Leppen Theatre at Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted St. During this event, participants will discuss cross-dressi ...


 



Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.