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The Organ Masters-II: Peter Sykes plays the great Roosevelt Organ in Great Barrington

The Berkshire Bach Society continues its regular 2023-2024 season with The Organ Masters-II:  Peter Sykes plays the great Roosevelt Organ at 4pm on Saturday, April 13, 2024, at the First Congregational Church in Great Barrington. Berkshire Bach will show a documentary about the organ in the Parish Hall before the concert, at 2:45.  

“We are delighted to have Peter Sykes perform for us again on the Roosevelt organ, one of the great historic organs in our region, and one that retains much of their original character,” said Terrill McDade, Executive Director of The Berkshire Bach Society.  “The power and beauty of this organ is simply astonishing and when we hear it in the hands of an organ master such as Peter Sykes, it’s a spine-tingling experience. From Bach to Mendelssohn to Franck to Reger—in almost any repertoire—its myriad colors and sonorities provide a rich aural tapestry that inspires and uplifts.  We are in for a real treat!”

Peter Sykes is familiar to Berkshire Bach audiences from his masterful performances over many years.  He is a member of the organ faculty at the University of Michigan and a core faculty member and principal instructor of harpsichord at the Historical Performance Department of the Juilliard School. He teaches organ and harpsichord at Boston University and has been Music Director at First Church in Cambridge since 1985.  He has appeared as a solo and chamber performer for Berkshire Bach since 1999.

The program includes music by Bach, Bach’s idol, Dieterich Buxtehude, and Bach’s 19th century devotee, Felix Mendelssohn.  As a pre-concert feature, Berkshire Bach will show a 40-minute documentary made by Peter Sykes and Andover Organ Company for the Organ Media Foundation that reviews the capabilities of the Roosevelt Organ and looks inside to show some of its inner workings.  After the recital, attendees have the opportunity to tour the loft to see the organ and four-manual console up close.  At the time of its installation in 1883, the Roosevelt was one of the most important organs in America.  It was built by Hilborne L. Roosevelt, the innovative organ maker and cousin to Presidents Teddy and Franklin Delano Roosevelt.  Hilborne Roosevelt died at age 37 in 1886, three years after he completed the Great Barrington organ.  Today it remains the largest surviving example of his work. 

Tickets for the recital are $45 available online at and at the door (cash and check preferred).  Berkshire Bach member discounts apply. As always, children under 18 and students with valid ID are admitted FREE.\

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