On the opening night of his 2016 U.S. Tour, Cameron Carpenter joined Arts Program Director Damian Woetzel for a pre-concert conversation, sharing the inside story of his one-of-a-kind International Touring Organ and introducing the audience to a remarkable young organist named Matthew Whitaker. The event marked the West Coast debut of the International Touring Organ.
Earlier that afternoon, with the cooperation of the SFJazz Education Department, the Arts Program helped Carpenter pilot his education initiative, in which he opens the organ up to children of all ages and musical interest levels prior to his show.
As a new element of the Harman-Eisner Artist in Residence Program, we were also able to help Cameron add a mentorship component to our work together. A young organist named Matthew Whitaker, whom Cameron has taken under his wing, joined the concert and the conversation beforehand. Blind since birth, Whitaker is a largely self-taught jazz and gospel prodigy and the youngest artist endorsed by Hammond. Matt joined Cameron for the student workshop, and then later during the concert he performed an arrangement of the Errol Garner song “Misty” that he had worked out that afternoon with Cameron’s guidance on the International Touring Organ. We will look to promote further mentorship opportunities for our current and future Artists in Residence. Learn more about Matthew Whitaker here.