The LA AGO Podcast

Episode 15 (Ken Cowan)

November 01, 2021 Host: Thompson Howell Season 3 Episode 2
The LA AGO Podcast
Episode 15 (Ken Cowan)
Show Notes

Our next LA AGO event comes up on Sunday, November 14th at 6pm as we welcome organist Ken Cowan in a recital co-sponsored by St. James' In-the-City Episcopal Church at 3903 Wilshire Blvd. in Los Angeles.

Ken's performance will be preceded by a wonderful service of Evensong at 4:30pm. Both events require FREE tickets that can be reserved here.

Regarded as one of North America's finest concert organists and praised for his dazzling artistry, impeccable technique, and imaginative programming by audiences and critics alike, Ken Cowan maintains a rigorous performing schedule that takes him to major concert venues in America, Canada, Europe, and Asia.

In this episode, Ken talks with host Thompson Howell about his childhood in Thorold, Ontario, Canada and growing up with his father and two grandmothers who were also organists; how becoming a concert organist wasn't inevitable; the one thing he missed most while teaching remotely during the pandemic; why he likes the comparatively small size of the organ department at Rice University in Houston where he teaches; and the ins and outs of assessing the needs of new students and developing their "musical personalities."

Ken also reveals whether or not he's a relaxed performer; how he prepares to play in front of live audiences; the best practice strategy for successfully memorizing pieces; the ways in which he helps to attract younger people to the organ; the one part of the world where there are organs that he hasn't played in yet; and plenty more!

Listen at wherever you get your podcasts.


Ken's website is here.
Ken's 2009 interview in The Diapason is here.
Information about the organ at St. James' In-the-City church is here.
The LA AGO YouTube channel is here.
The LA AGO Facebook page is here.