A renowned organist with ties to Waverly will be bringing his talent to a local stage.
Erik Suter, whose parents have made Waverly their retirement destination, will be performing a solo organ program at 4 p.m. on Sunday at Wartburg College.
Fantasy in F Minor by Wolfgang Mozart, and Prelude and Fugue in B minor, by Johann Bach, will be among the pieces delighting the audience.
Suter, who is also a pilot and a flight instructor, is the son of Rick and Gina Suter, recent transplants into Waverly. The couple decided to move to Waverly, where Gina’s twin sister, Lou, and her brother-in-law, Chuck Infelt, Waverly’s former mayor, live.
This will be Suter’s first performance in town, even though he has been here to visit his family.
Previous to his Waverly recital, Suter has performed in the U.S., Canada, as well as many Asian and European countries.
Among his most notable concerts listed on his website are those at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, The Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City, Uppsala and Stockholm Cathedrals in Sweden, and Eton College Chapel in the United Kingdom.
“My general philosophy when it comes to solo performances, I try to have a good variety of pieces for people who have not heard an organ performance before and for people who have,” Suter told Waverly Newspapers in a telephone interview. “I like to show off the vast resources of what an organ can do.”
In 2003, Suter became the first American organist to play an American-built organ called Fisk organ, in a European cathedral, the Lausanne Cathedral in Switzerland.
A Chicago native and a graduate of Oberlin Conservatory and Yale University, Suter’s road to the world stage started with a first place win in the 1991 Conrad Sulzer Young Artists Piano Competition in Chicago, first prize in the 1993 Chicago American Guild of Organists Young, a two-time finalist in the AGO National Young Artists Competition in Organ Playing while appearing in the finals for the 1997 Dallas International Organ Competition.
“I am very excited that Erik is able to perform at Wartburg,” Karen Black, Rudi Inselmann Endowed Professor of Organ at Wartburg, said in a press release. “He is an outstanding performer, and we were lucky to be able to schedule his concert just before he leaves for concerts in New Zealand.”
When Suter was just 28 years old, he was named the Organist of Washington National Cathedral.
After leaving full time church work he went on to pursue professional aviation leading him to become a commercial pilot and flight instructor for the Southwest Airlines. Suter now lives with his family in Gaithersburg, Maryland, with his wife and son.
Having performed all over the world, Suter commented on the family connections he had to Waverly, “I’ve never performed there before, having been there only three or four times in my life but it’s meaningful to have a family connection to venue.”