Notre Dame Cathedral organist to headline Cathedral Cultural Series event


DETROIT — The Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament will host one of the world’s greatest cathedral musicians next week as part of the Archdiocesan Chorus’ Cathedral Cultural Series.

Oliver Latry, the organist for Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, will join Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron, the Archdiocesan Chorus and three parish choirs for solemn vespers March 19, which will include the singing of Psalms and Gregorian chant. A highlight of the evening, Latry will then improvise on the music and text of the prayer to create a unique, one-of-a-kind musical and prayer experience.

“One of the world’s great experts in organ improvisation, Mr. Latry will create an incredible musical landscape, spontaneously composing a piece on the beautiful chants and texts of Lenten vespers,” said Joe Balistreri, director of music for the Archdiocese of Detroit and Detroit’s cathedral organist. “The 1925 Casavant organ at Blessed Sacrament Cathedral, a historic gem in original condition, is a perfect vehicle for these improvisations, having been built by French Canadian brothers with ties to Parisian organ builders.”

The vespers service will start at 4 p.m. March 19 at the cathedral, 9844 Woodward Ave. in Detroit. The event is the conclusion of a four-day Detroit residency for Latry sponsored by the Detroit and Ann Arbor chapters of the American Guild of Organists, First Presbyterian Church in Birmingham and the Cathedral Cultural Series. Latry will conduct a public masterclass at 3:30 p.m. March 17 and a concert at 7:30 p.m. March 18 at First Presbyterian.