David Briggs, English composer and concert organist, will present an improvisation concert at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 25, in the Luther College Center for Faith and Life. As part of the concert, Briggs, who is making his second appearance at Luther, will improvise a score to accompany the 1925 silent film "The Phantom of the Opera." The performance is open to the public with no charge for admission.
The concert is being presented as Luther's Annual Benefactor Organ Recital, which features outstanding artists of international caliber performing on the Robert Sipe mechanical action organ. The intent of the concert, sponsored through the Kathryn Ulvilden Moen '41 Organ Fund and the William B. Kuhlman Endowment for Organ Performance, is to provide a performance from an inspirational role model for current and prospective students who wish to pursue organ study at Luther.
Briggs studied organ with Jean Langlais in Paris, and has built a worldwide reputation as an innovative musician and dazzling performer. Increasingly sought after for his orchestral transcriptions and improvisation, his performances are applauded for their musicality, virtuosity and ability to excite and engage audiences of all ages.
Briggs is organist emeritus of Gloucester Cathedral in England, where he directed music for eight years. While at Gloucester, he oversaw the complete rebuilding of the Cathedral organ, and directed the Three Choirs Festivals, conducting some of the UK's finest professional orchestras; notably the Philharmonia Orchestra. A gifted and inspirational teacher, Briggs regularly gives masterclasses at Oxford and Cambridge, and is frequently invited to serve on international competition juries.
In 2008, BBC Music Magazine selected Briggs to record a disc celebrating the French composers Widor and Vierne. He has also recorded 27 solo CDs including his transcription of G. Mahler's Symphony No. 5, "Bach at Gloucester," and "Organ Spectacular," recorded on the largest church organ in the world at the First Congregational Church in Los Angeles.