Guest Interview with Cicely Winter, IOHIO
Jeannine: Please introduce yourself to our readers. How did you find yourself in the Oaxaca area of Mexico?
Ms. Winter: I have been in Oaxaca for 44 years. I came here from the US with my husband who is an archaeologist working for the Mexican national government. We first came to Mexico because of my husband’s post-doctoral work and two years turned into 44. I am a pianist but before this project, I had never played an organ. I know about organizing projects in Oaxaca and I know about music. I met some organ people who introduced me to the organs and here I am still. in 2000, I co-founded the Instituto de Órganos Históricos de Oaxaca México (IOHIO) and since then have served as its director doing festival organization and coordinating the documentation, preservation, and restoration of the organs of Oaxaca.
J: My first “connection” to the organs of Oaxaca, Mexico was through my organ professor, Guy Bovet, in the mid-1980s. Guy, who at the time was involved in the documentation of historical instruments in Mexico, also introduced his students to the music of Spanish composers, Cabezón and Francisco Correa de Arauxo.
Is there a connection between Mr. Bovet’s early work and your work to preserve the organs of Oaxaca?
Ms. Winter: Yes, there is a strong connection. In the 1980s and 90s, Mr.Bovet and his team carried out an important survey of the organs of various regions of Mexico, including that of Oaxaca. His titanic work, sponsored by UNESCO and Pro Helvetia, documented hundreds of organs. It was amazing work given the horrible road conditions, lack of telephones, and difficulty in communication. Guy’s work formed the basis of our work.
Dr. Jeannine Jordan is a teacher, church musician, and concert organist. She and her husband are the creators and performers of the organ and multi-media concert experiences, From Sea to Shining Sea and Bach and Sons.