ISABELLE DEMERS at the organ is a force of nature – a “diminutive dynamo” to whom La Presse in Montreal attributed “vehement virtuosity.” A native of Québec, she is rapidly becoming recognized as one of North America’s most virtuosic organists. Her concert at the 2010 national convention of the American Guild of Organists, in Washington, D.C., was received with great acclaim not only by critics, who deemed it “one of the most outstanding events of the convention” (The American Organist), but also by the standing-room-only audience that called her back five times. A review of her concert for the joint ISO-AIO convention in 2010 said that “she enchanted the entire audience with her virtuoso performance,” leaving the entire congress in an atmosphere of “Demers fever.”
She began piano study at age six and at age 11 began piano and organ study at the Montréal Conservatory of Music. After graduation in 2003 she studied on scholarship for a year in Paris at the École Normale de Paris-Alfred Cortot. She received her Master’s and Doctoral degrees from the Juilliard School in New York City, where she studied with Paul Jacobs. Her dissertation – an analysis of Bach’s St. John Passion – was awarded the Richard French Prize for best dissertation at commencement.
Isabelle Demers was a featured performer at the 2008 national convention of the American Guild of Organists, held in Minneapolis, and her performance was later broadcast to a national radio audience. She was also a featured artist at the 2009 national convention of the Royal Canadian College of Organists, held in Toronto. She has been a prize-winner and finalist in several international performance competitions in the United States, Canada, and Europe, and performs widely in the United States and Canada. Highlights of her 2011/12 season include her U.K. debut at Birmingham Town Hall in October 2011, as well as her Davies Hall and Walt Disney Concert Hall debuts in March 2012, and a Germany-U.K. tour in the summer of 2012.
Her recent debut recording on British label Acis was met with critical acclaim. On a recent broadcast of Pipedreams, presenter Michael Barone featured her performance of the Fugue from Reger’s Op. 73, describing it as, “a masterful score, here masterfully played,” and Isabelle Demers as “definitely a talent to watch, to hear.” The RSCM’s Church Music Quarterly awarded the “exciting, expressive, and successful” recording its highest recommendation for its “profound and searching” performances. Fanfare Magazine proclaimed the “superbly produced” and “clear, tightly focused recording” with its “brilliantly played program.” Her second disc, which features the organ works of Rachel Laurin, was released in June 2011. Currently in production is a recording of Max Reger’s seven Chorale Fantasies, funded by a grant from the Theodore Presser Foundation.