This Christmas, Cameron Carpenter, who has been called “the most controversial organist alive” (Dallas Morning News) is giving the American Boychoir a little present. Carpenter, who attended the school from 1993 to 1995, and was profiled in the March 23 issue of U.S. 1, has envisioned Leroy Anderson’s “Sleigh Ride” as “a kind of campy Christmas etude. I was curious to find out if the classic song could also be something virtuosically challenging to play.”
As seen on YouTube and available through iTunes, Carpenter plays the famous melody throughout with the right foot alone — and with both hands providing countermelodies, accompanimental figures, and color changes. “Sleigh Ride is so well-known, some would say well-worn, that it was vitally important to bring something new to it,” Carpenter says. The single was recorded at Middle Collegiate Church in New York City. The organ used in the single is Marshall & Ogletree’s Opus 4, designed by Carpenter.
All profits from sales of the song on iTunes will be donated to the annual fund of the American Boychoir School.
Cameron is known for challenging the way the organ is promoted, playing everything from Bach, Liszt, and Rachmaninoff, to music from anime and film, and re-imaginings of songs by Bob Dylan and Annie Lennox. He graduated from Juilliard in 2006 and lives in Berlin.
“The American Boychoir was where I got my first taste of professional musical life at age 11, and had musical experiences that shaped me in ways too numerous, and positive, to mention here. Now the Boychoir needs help, and this is one way to start. Please download and help to spread the word,” says Carpenter.