The Organ-- How Boring, Not!

Spreckels Organ Pavilion hosts highly acclaimed organist in a summer night concert

By Marianne Kushi
|  Monday, Jul 13, 2009  |  Updated 2:47 PM PDT
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The Organ-- How Boring, Not!

AP

If you're near the Spreckels Organ Pavilion tonight, you're in for quite a show.

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When Felix Hell takes to the stage at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion July 13 it's likely he will change his audience's impression of what most think is "just a boring instrument," he says. 

At 23 Hell is an organ virtuoso whose performed more than 600 concerts world wide . He  will be the first to tell you that his instrument suffers from an image problem. And he will be the first to admit it.

 "My Dad dragged me to an organ recital at a cathedral in Germany when I was seven," said Hell. But the young boy who argued against going said that experience changed his life forever.  From that day forward Hell said he became more and more consumed by the "incredible power, variety, size and majesty" of the instrument.

He began performing at the age of eight. Reviews from all over the world poured in calling him a "young Mozart Felix Hell" ,with "breath-taking pedal and finger technique."

"If you go to his concert make sure you get a seat, where you can see his feet," says Ruth Hedden, who's known Hell since he was a young boy who came to the U.S. from his native Germany. "You have to watch his feet," she insists describing how they move so quickly at times. "It's amazing how ten fingers and two feet can get music out of that machine."

Hell says listeners are stunned after his performance and he's especially interested in the young crowd that he attracts. "I find myself a missionary for the organ, to make it a concert instrument rather than a church instrument."

Hell says he tries to practice seven to eight hours a day especially when he performs at locations as acclaimed as the Spreckels Organ Pavilion. But "playing at a small town church, or concert hall, it still has the same impact as the National Cathedral in Washington D.C. It's the people that make the difference."

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