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“Richard Purvis, Organist of grace”

By James Welch

 

 

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A new book that will be of interest to organists everywhere is James Welch's newly published biography, Richard Purvis, Organist of Grace.

 

A pupil of Alexander McCurdy and a classmate of Leonard Bernstein at The Curtis Institute in the 1930s, Purvis began composing widely programmed music before enlisting in the Army and fighting on the European Front, where he was captured by the Nazis during the vicious Battle of the Bulge. A survivor in every sense, he wrote some of his most enduring music in foxholes and in prison camp. After the war, he returned to his native San Francisco, where he achieved a national reputation as Organist and Master of the Choristers at San Francisco's Grace Cathedral, concert artist, teacher, and composer of more than 100 colorful works for the organ.

 

This 508-page biography provides facts, photos, and anecdotes published for the first time anywhere.  Of particular interest to Utah organists are the stories and reviews about Purvis's 1951 visit to perform on the recently installed Tabernacle organ.  The story of memorable encounter with Alexander Schreiner and Frank Asper (courtesy Bob Tall), as well as reviews of his recital (courtesy Harry Cross), are included in the book.

 

Richard Purvis, Organist of Grace is available now for the introductory price of $19.95 (including all sales taxes) at www.welchorganist.com; shipping $3.59 for any size order sent to the same U.S. address.  Credit card payments are accepted on the PayPal site.