Marks to present three interconnected faculty recital programs titled ‘G is for Goldberg’

Christopher Marks
Christopher Marks

Marks to present three interconnected faculty recital programs titled ‘G is for Goldberg’

calendar icon11 Jan 2022    

Lincoln, Neb.--Christopher Marks, professor of organ in the Glenn Korff School of Music and interim dean of the Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts, will present three interconnected programs titled “G is for Goldberg,” consisting of keyboard music in G major by Johann Sebastian Bach.

The main portion of each program will consist of the “Goldberg Variations,” written by Bach late in his life and first published in 1741. Each program will be presented on a different keyboard instrument—organ on Jan. 22 at 7:30 p.m. at St. Mark’s on the Campus; harpsichord on Jan. 23 at 3 p.m. in Westbrook Rm. 119; and piano on Jan. 25 at 7:30 p.m. in Kimball Recital Hall. The concerts are free and open to the public.

All three of the concerts will also be livestreamed. The Jan. 22 concert will be streamed at Visit the day of each performance for the links for the Jan. 23 and 25 concerts.

“The Goldberg Variations are widely recognized as one of the greatest pieces ever written for keyboard instrument,” Marks said. “Originally intended for the harpsichord, the piece came to popular attention in the late 1950s through the famous recording by pianist Glenn Gould and has been a staple of the repertoire ever since.”

The piece is known for its extreme technical demands, which were highly innovative at the time of its composition.

“But the piece is also known just as much for its compositional achievements and represents unparalleled writing in Baroque counterpoint,” Marks said. “It is performed on piano, harpsichord, and organ, but rarely ever on all three by the same person in the same week. Hearing the piece even once is a rare treat; this is a unique opportunity to hear the different aspects of it that each instrument brings out and how the performer responds differently to each.”

In addition to the Goldberg Variations, the program also includes Bach’s Fantasia in G Major (organ only) and Two Preludes and Fugues in G Major from “Well Tempered Clavier” (harpsichord and piano only). 

Marks came to the University of Nebraska–Lincoln in 2006 and has taught organ, music theory and performance practice. He became Associate Dean of the Hixson-Lied College in 2015 and interim dean in January 2022. 

An active proponent of new music Marks has premiered a number of commissioned organ works. His performances have garnered him top prizes in competitions, including the Arthur Poister Competition, the San Marino Competition, the Fort Wayne Competition and the Mader Competition. 

Marks is active as a performer, teacher and writer, having published articles on performance practice, organs, and professional concerns.  He has performed at conventions of the American Guild of Organists and the Organ Historical Society and has participated in more than a dozen Pipe Organ Encounters. He served on the Board of Directors of the Organ Historical Society from 2009 until 2017 and served as Chair 2015-2017.

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