WEST PALM BEACH, Fla., March 9, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- The Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts will be making history tonight when it becomes the first performing arts center in the world to install and feature a technologically advanced digital organ in its future productions. The custom-designed instrument is a gift from philanthropist Alex W. Dreyfoos, founding Chair of the Board of Directors of the Kravis Center. It is being financed by part of a $5 million gift from Mr. Dreyfoos who requested that $1.5 million of the total gift be allocated to a custom-designed Marshall & Ogletree George W. Mergens Memorial Organ of the Kravis Center. The instrument will be dedicated in honor of Mr. Dreyfoos' late business partner and longtime friend, George W. Mergens.
The new organ - with an impressive ability to intensify sound to new heights - will be premiered at a special concert featuring Cameron Carpenter, an internationally-acclaimed performer who has been referred to as "genius, bold and controversial." A graduate of The Juilliard School, the 34-year-old Grammy-award nominee frequently sports a mohawk, studs and sequins while performing. He will take center stage along with the Jacksonville Symphony and guest performer Matthew Whitaker.
According to Carpenter, the digital organ represents the ultimate partnership of art and technology, which makes the premiering performer perfect for its debut. The first organist ever nominated for a Grammy for a solo album, Carpenter has been making history for years through his immense talent and his vocal support of bringing the organ into the 21st century.
"We are incredibly grateful to Alex Dreyfoos, our founding Chair, who has the foresight to recognize the significance of technology in the future of the performing arts," said Judith Mitchell, CEO of the Kravis Center. "As an Academy-award winning inventor, Alex has always had a passion for propelling the arts through technological advances. It is an honor to fulfill his original wish for the Center by installing an organ, and an even bigger honor to be installing a digital organ, which marks a significant milestone for performing arts centers worldwide. We look forward to maximizing the technological capacity of the Marshall & Ogletree George W. Mergens Memorial Organ for performances and in our community."
The Marshall & Ogletree George W. Mergens Memorial Organ will include five manuals, more than 200 stops and 96 audio channels. An organ had been intended for the original design of the Kravis Center concert hall, but was value engineered out late in the planning phase. The new digital organ will be used for performances and for use by students and professionals.
Carpenter and the Jacksonville Symphony with special guest Matthew Whitaker bring the groundbreaking, electrifying performance to the Kravis Center as a part of the PEAK Series on March 9 at 8 pm. The series is made possible by a grant funded in part from the MLDauray Arts Initiative in honor of Leonard and Sophie Davis, and in part by a grant from South Arts in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs.
About the Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts:
The Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts is a not-for-profit performing arts center whose mission is to enhance the quality of life in Palm Beach County, Florida by presenting a diverse schedule of national and international artists and companies of the highest quality; by offering comprehensive arts education programs; by providing a Palm Beach County home in which local and regional arts organizations can showcase their work; and by providing economic catalyst and community leadership in West Palm Beach, supporting efforts to increase travel and tourism to Palm Beach County.
For more information visit kravis.org/carpenter or call the Kravis Center at 561-651-4416.
Slatkow & Husak Public Relations
Meredith Westheimer or Jackie Slatkow
Email or (561) 278-0850
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SOURCE Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts