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Benoit’s Cove pianist returns for Corner Brook performance


Published on July 15, 2017

Craig Humber is shown at the E.F.Walcker organ of 1878 in the Votivkirche, Vienna ,Austria in this submitted photo.

©Submitted photo

Award-winning concert organist Craig Humber is home on the province’s west coast and will perform Sunday evening at the First United Church in Corner Brook.

Craig Humber (front) performs at the Votivkirche in Vienna, Austria with the help of page turner Sabine Humber.
Submitted photo

Originally from Benoit’s Cove, Humber is organist and director of music in the Votivkirche church in Vienna, Austria.
The large, historic church has four organs including what Humber refers to as “one of the most beautiful and best-preserved German Romantic organs in Europe.”
The elaborate organ was built by the celebrated pipe organ builder E.F. Walcker in 1878 and inaugurated by Australian composer Anton Bruckner.
“The interesting thing about this instrument is that it’s almost completely intact, completely preserved. … A few of the front pipes were lost in the First World War but they had been reconstructed. And, apart from that, everything is original,” Humber said of the soon-to-be 140-year-old instrument.
While documents aren’t available for confirmation, Humber said, it’s believed that German composer Johannes Brahms is among the famous people who have played the organ.
To be given an opportunity to walk in the footsteps of such world-renowned composers is an honour Humber takes very seriously.
“It’s also quite interesting because I have experts from all over the world that come to examine the instrument and to play it. They ask for my advice. The instrument is very important for the interpretation of the music as well. It gives much insight that you can’t learn anywhere else – not at a conservatory or from a teacher.”
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Humber studied at Memorial’s Grenfell College before transferring to Nova Scotia’s Acadia University where he graduated in 1998 with a double major in math and physics.
His biography notes that from 1999-2005, he trained under Professor Arvid Gast in the Bach city, Leipzig, Germany, graduating in organ performance (majoring also in piano and harpsichord).
Gast is an authority on German Romantic music, Humber said.
Following his studies in Germany, Humber studied at the University for Music and Performing Arts in Vienna under Professor Michael Radulescu.
Radulescu (who has since retired) is a well-known expert on Baroque music, Humber said.
Once his studies were behind him, Humber decided to make Vienna his home.
He started his position at the church in Vienna in January.
While some of his mentors such as Gast and Radulescu are very well known, Humber looks closer to home when talking about his most important mentor.
“Without my teacher in Corner Brook, Gary Graham, I’d never have the positions or the opportunities that I’ve been fortunate enough to have. I’m so thankful to him for that. … The basics I learned from (Graham) — even after all the years at these conservatories — are the things I always draw on when I’m preparing for recitals. He’s a wonderful, wonderful man.”
Humber is well known to people in the Corner Brook area. He’s had “fantastic support” from the community over the years, he said.
“From the time I started my first lessons and first recitals up until my very last recital they’ve been behind me 100 per cent of the way. I’m very thankful for that and it always makes it a pleasure for me to come back and play.”
Humber and his wife Sabine Humber run a music studio from their home in Vienna. The couple have a five-year-old daughter, Renee Sonja.
After leaving this province the end of the month, Humber will prepare to embark on a concert tour in Germany.
Sunday evening’s concert is part of the Gros Morne Summer Music Series. The event begins at 8 pm.
For more information on Humber and his music visit www.craighumber.com.

danette@nl.rogers.com