Kurt Rampton of Birmingham is the first organist to play in March of this season of Wednesday@One organ recitals. We spoke to him about his upcoming organ recital to find out what we can expect from his programme as well as finding out more about his career.
How did you get into organ recitals?
I first heard the sound of a pipe organ on a video game I was playing. I liked the sound that it made, and played around with the sounds on my small keyboard and a lot of different things happened after that. I ended up, eventually, playing on a church organ. My parents were very good to me and took me to organs in lots of churches, and even to an organ builder at one point. At that time I was just so fascinated by the instruments that it really started me off, and I got to know a local organist who gave me lessons. As my study progressed, the opportunities came to deliver recitals, my first being in my local church, where I had my first organ lesson.
How did you pick the pieces for your recital?
I like to present the organ as an instrument that can realise a wide range of music. There can be a lot discrepancy about whether pieces should be played on the piano, on the organ and so on . There was a time when this didn’t really exist and music could be played on a whole variety of instruments with different ranges and ensembles, so I try and take this aspect of musicianship into the recitals and performances that I give.
Do you have a particular favourite piece to perform?
I very much like Ockeghem’s Prenez sur moy vostre exemple that I’m playing, which is a three-part canon and I’m just playing one section of it . Even these pieces from the 15th century and earlier, there’s such an intellect to the piece, and such a focus on line in a way that we don’t see in a lot of organ music to the same extent after that. The way that it’s composed is fascinating to me as a performer ; it brings out this singing element of the organ.
You’ve performed on the organ in many places; has any particular location stood out?
There have been a lot of instruments that I’ve enjoyed playing, but if I was to pick one it would be the Flentrop organ in Hamburg. It’s an absolutely amazing instrument and so beautifully crafted. Every pipe in that instrument is so special, and has a character of its own. You can bring so many different types of organ music to life on it.
Alongside your organ music you do lots of projects; are you working on anything at the moment?
At the moment I’m concentrating on the way in which the organ can be applied to a changing society. There are lots of changes happening in the world at the moment, especially in this country. We’re probably going to be seeing some of the biggest changes in our lives in the next few years. Part of what I’m doing now is looking at how this will affect the cultural base and the way people are, and the things they aspire to and want in life and reviving the instrument in a way that’s applicable to these changes.
Do you think music has an important place in making sense of the world, and changes in it?
Absolutely. I think if you look at the way that music has developed over the last thousand years, both in liturgical and non-liturgical settings, it can even be a leader of cultural change sometimes. It’s something that can have a massive impact that can change and create sub-cultures in society. Music is incredibly powerful, in that way, and I think the important thing now for any professional musician or someone thinking of going into the profession today from a creative stand-point or a more traditional approach, is to look at and get involved in these challenges , and see how they can make music come alive in today’s society.
Join us for our weekly Wednesday@One Organ Recitals at 1pm, with a lunch buffet available from 12:30pm. Kurt Rampton will be playing on Wednesday 4th March 2020. More information on this recital, all others and this season’s coffee concerts can be found in the programme available to buy from the recitals and concerts.