Raúl Prieto Ramírez, Concert Organist
San Diego Civic Organist and
Artistic Director of the Spreckels Organ Society
With words such as “sizzling”, iconoclastic”, “impeccable”, and “transcendent” used to describe his performances, Raúl Prieto Ramírez is the first Spanish organist in recent times to establish himself among the elite of the international pipe organ scene. “The powerful personality, passionate expressiveness, gift for communication, and outstanding technique of Spanish organist Raúl Prieto Ramírez make him shine in a wide range of repertoire and styles”. (Los Angeles Philharmonic)
In December 2017, Raúl Prieto Ramírez was appointed the San Diego Civic Organist and Artistic Director of the Spreckels Organ Society, where he will preside over the famed Austin organ at the city’s Balboa Park Pavilion – the largest outdoor pipe organ in the Western Hemisphere. Mr. Ramírez is the eighth Civic Organist to serve San Diego on the Spreckels organ bench.
Mr. Ramírez was appointed at age 27 as the first Organist-in-Residence of the Auditorio Nacional de Música in Madrid—Spain’s National Concert Hall, a position that had never existed until his appointment. Within the first six months of his tenure there, he increased attendance at the hall’s organ recitals by a multiple of 30, and critics hailed him as one of the most exciting talents in the music scene in Spain. His global schedule takes him to major festivals and concert halls (from the Mariinsky Theater and Moscow House of Music in Russia to organ churches and cathedrals through Europe and the US), performances and lectures for universities and institutions (such as Indiana University, Moscow Conservatory, Graz University, and Chapters of the American Guild of Organists), collaborations in summer academies, and as jury member at international competitions.
After studies in Spain where he received the highest distinctions and awards, Mr. Ramírez moved to Stuttgart on a scholarship from the German government to study organ performance with Ludger Lohmann. At the same time, he was developing his technique with pianist Leonid Sintsev at the Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory in St. Petersburg, Russia. He also worked on interpretation of the different schools of organ literature with Marie-Claire Alain, Guy Bovet, Eric Lebrun, Lionel Rogg, Zsigmond Szathmáry, and Luigi Ferdinando Tagliavini, and he also intensively studied composition, orchestral conducting, improvisation, and continuo playing. The premieres of his works have been recorded and broadcast in Spain, including chamber music, organ music, many pieces for solo instruments and a concerto for organ and orchestra that was premiered in Barcelona.
As a result of his varied studies, Mr. Prieto Ramírez possesses a wide and deep knowledge of organ repertoire, styles, and schools, from the 14th century Robertsbridge Codex to the new compositions he commissions. He is respected as a specialist in such disparate subjects as Spanish music, historic keyboard techniques, and modern symphonic transcriptions for the organ. His transcriptions of Liszt’s piano études and Mephisto Waltz have been praised by audience and critics alike in Italy, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Critics have also highly praised his interpretations of the music of Buxtehude, Bach, Franck, and Reger.
From 2013-2017, Mr. Ramírez was organist-in-residence at Sursa Concert Hall and served on the organ faculty at Ball State University, Indiana. He continues as the Artistic Director and Founder of the Barcelona Summer Organ Festival and Academy. Mr. Ramírez has been widely recorded and interviewed for radio and television in several European countries and in the US. His first two compact discs, on the Brilliant Classics label, were recorded at Milan Cathedral in Italy (music of Franck, Liszt, Reger, and Saint-Saëns) and at the Palau de la Música Catalana in Barcelona (music for piano and organ duet). In June 2016, Mr. Ramirez and his wife, Spanish pianist Maria Teresa Sierra, were featured duo artists at the American Guild of Organists’ national convention in Houston.
Raúl Prieto Ramírez is represented exclusively in North America by Phillip Truckenbrod Concert Artists, LLC.