Carol Williams Nov. 17 Concert Press Release

Carol Williams is Ready to Rock the Kotzschmar:

San Diego’s Civic Organist Visits Portland’s Municipal Icon

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Portland, Maine — From Mozart to Al Jolson, “Greensleeves” to “Phantom of the Opera,” organist Dr. Carol Williams is fluent. The British-born concert organist is San Diego’s Civic Organist (the first woman in the world to ever hold that title), and is returning to the Kotzschmar Organ for the first time since its two-year-long, $2.6 million renovation. On Tuesday, November 17, at 7:30pm, Williams will be bringing an invigorated and inspired collection of classics, contemporary tunes, and original compositions to Merrill Auditorium.

Carol Williams began her musical training with private lessons at age five, and could read music before she could even read English. As of this year, she has performed in over 1,800 concerts all over the world. In her role as San Diego’s Civic Organist, Williams performs each Sunday, rain or shine, on the century-old Spreckels Organ in Balboa Park. The diverse genres of her programs and her edgy style draw sizeable crowds to the weekly concerts, but Williams is looking forward to the Kotzschmar experience. “Every organ and concert hall is different. Since this is an indoor organ, I can use, without concern, some of the quietest sounds,” she said.

For those quiet, gentle notes, keep an ear out for two of Carol’s original compositions: “Twilight” (Opus 3) and the opening passage of “Freedom” (Opus 12). “In my rehearsals, I will be spending much of my time finding the sweetest sounds from this great organ,” Williams said. “I know she—the organ—can roar.” Particularly, her performances of Charles Tournemire’s “Te Deum,” Mozart’s famous “Marriage of Figaro,” and her own “Venus Tocatta” (Opus 9) should really have the hall trembling.

Williams said she “looks forward to playing on this magnificent instrument again. It’s one of the finest in the USA and so well cared for. Any new additions can only enhance this treasure.” What she’s looking forward to the most, though, is “the duet between myself and Ray Cornils!” Cornils, Portland’s Municipal Organ, is essentially William’s East Coast counterpart, as they are the only two remaining city organists in the country. For the duet, she chose her arrangement of “Gershwin For Two,” a fun and engaging piece that showcases the varied talents of the two masterful organists.

For more information about the event or the schedule for the remainder of the season, please contact the Friends of the Kotzschmar Organ at (207) 553-4363 or visit

Please contact Molly Bowman at for assistance on this concert, or visit Carol Williams can be found on Twitter (@DrCarolWilliams) and on FaceBook: Dr. Carol Williams. Publicity info (bios, etc.) and photos can be found at