Peter Sykes

Peter Sykes

The process of choosing artists for Noon Music in May begins with one thought: variety.

Although most of the artists perform classical music, in recent years programming has been peppered with some unusual acts — a jazz harpist, a solo Egyptian drummer and a virtuoso Ugandan musician.

For the second concert in this year’s noontime series, organist Peter Sykes returns to Stowe on Wednesday, May 12, at Stowe Community Church. He was earlier featured in a series of concerts to celebrate the renovation and re-installation of the W.B.D. Simmons organ at the church in September 2002.

Sykes is one of the most distinguished and versatile keyboard artists performing today. His playing has variously been called “compelling and moving,” “magnificent and revelatory,” and “bold, imaginative, and amazingly accurate.”

He has appeared in recital for the American Guild of Organists, Organ Historical Society, American Institute of Organbuilders, Inter-national Society of Organbuilders, Boston Early Music Festival, Aston Magna Festival, New England Bach Festival, Portland Chamber Music Festival, New Hampshire Music Festival, and throughout the United States.

He is frequently heard on the nationally syndicated radio program “Pipedreams.” 

Sykes holds degrees from the New England Conservatory, where he studied with Gabriel Chodos, Blanche Winogron, Mireille Lagacé, Robert Schuneman and Yuko Hayashi, and Concordia University in Montreal, where he studied with Bernard Lagacé.

In 1978 he was winner of the Chadwick Medal from the New England Conservatory for outstanding undergraduate achievement; in the same year, he was a winner of the school’s concerto competition, playing the Harpsichord Concerto of Frank Martin. 

More accolades have followed over the decades, including being bestowed the Distinguished Artist Award in 2011 by the St. Botolph Club Foundation, a major gift awarded annually to an artist who has demonstrated outstanding talent and an exceptional diversity of accomplishment. The award letter characterized him as “one of the major musical intellects and imaginations of our time.”

In demand as a teacher and mentor of aspiring professional performers, he is associate professor of music and chair of the Historical Performance Department at Boston University. Since 1985 he has also served as director of music at First Church in Cambridge, Congregational.

This season’s Noon Music in May series is presented in memory of the late Irene Bareau, a passionate supporter the arts and the primary benefactor for Noon Music in May for many years.

As seating for the concert series is limited this year, reservations and COVID protocols are required. Attendance is open to fully-vaccinated attendees only. Send your name, complete contact information and proof of vaccinations to info@stoweperformingarts.com.

Reservations must be received by midnight on Monday prior to each concert. You may reserve space for one or more dates in one email. Seating will be assigned. Plan to arrive at the church between 11:40 and 11:55 a.m.

More at petersykes.com.

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