Inaugural Organ Concert

On Sunday, May 29, world-renowned organist Isabelle Demers gave a concert to celebrate the restoration of our Casavant Opus 1344 organ.

It was a beautiful, spring day, as parishioners and organ music lovers from across the city entered a sun-filled Ascension of Our Lord church. A screen was installed at the front, allowing the audience to watch Isabelle as she played with a delicacy and strength that was mesmerising. Her performance was superb, and showcased the power, complexity and beauty of our instrument.

Isabelle received two standing ovations and graced us with an encore. It was a wonderful inauguration and a tribute to the generosity of our parishioners and the support of the Conseil du patrimoine religieux du Québec, who made the restoration possible.


Sinfonia from Cantata BWV 146
by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685‑1750)
trans. Marcel Dupré
Impromptu sur le Choral de Luther, op. 69
by Charles-Valentin Alkan (1813‑1888)
Solemn Melody
by Henry Walford Davies (1869‑1941)
arr. John T. West
Introduction and Passacaglia on a Theme by Raymond Daveluy, op. 44
by Rachel Laurin (b. 1961)
Allegretto from Symphonie en ré mineur, FW 48
by César Franck (1822‑1890)

trans. Calvin Hampton
Symphonie #1 en ré mineur, op. 14
Allegro Vivace
by Louis Vierne (1870-1937)
Ascension of Our Lord Parish is grateful to the Canadian International Organ Competition and the Orchestre Métropolitain for their support in promoting the concert, and thanks the following benefactors and sponsors:
Sénateur/Senator Tony Loffreda
Dario Mazzarello and Marina Martelli and Family
Hon. Marc Garneau, député/MP
Jennifer Maccarone, députée/MNA Westmount-Saint-Louis
Kathleen Weil, députée/MNA Notre-Dame-de-Grâce
Pharmacie Westmount
Sara Morley, Design Postimage 

Isabelle Demers
Concert Organist

“There is no shortage of organists who make their instruments roar; and while her power was never in question, Demers made the instrument sing.”

— Peter Reed, Classical, England, 2016

With playing described as having “bracing virtuosity” (Chicago Classical Review) and being “fearless and extraordinary” (Amarillo-Globe News), Isabelle Demers has enraptured critics, presenters, and audience members around the globe.

She has appeared in recital throughout Europe, Oman, Australia, New Zealand, the United States, and Canada, including at the Cathedrals of Cologne and Regensburg (Germany); the ElbPhilharmonie (Hamburg); the Royal Festival Hall, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster Cathedral, and Westminster Abbey (London); City Hall (Stockholm); the Royal Opera House of Muscat (Oman); the Forbidden City Concert Hall (Beijing, China); Victoria Hall (Singapore); Melbourne Town Hall (Australia); Auckland Town Hall (New Zealand); Disney Hall (Los Angeles), Davies Hall (San Francisco), the Meyerson Symphony Center (Dallas), the Kimmel Center, and the Wanamaker Organ at Macy’s (Philadelphia); and the Maison Symphonique (Montréal).

Dr. Demers is in continual high demand by her colleagues as witnessed by performances for numerous regional and national conventions of the American Guild of Organists, the Institute of Organ Builders and International Society of Organbuilders, the Royal Canadian College of Organists, and the Organ Historical Society. She has released multiple CD recordings on the Acis and Pro Organo labels. Her latest CD, recorded at Chicago’s Rockefeller Chapel, was released in January 2020, and includes works of Reger, Laurin, Dupré, Mendelssohn, Tchaikovsky, and Macmillan.

A native of Québec and a doctoral graduate of the Juilliard School, Dr. Demers is Associate Professor of Organ at McGill University (Montréal, Québec). She was formerly the Joyce Bowden Chair in Organ and Head of the Organ Program at Baylor University (Waco, Texas).