Raúl Prieto Ramírez

Following an international search, the Spreckels Organ Society and San Diego Parks and Recreation Department announced Monday that Spanish virtuoso Raúl Prieto Ramírez will be the next San Diego Civic Organist.

Prieto Ramírez will be in San Diego Jan. 7 for his first concert, scheduled from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park.

“I never could have dreamed of a better place and better people to share my art with than those of San Diego,” said Prieto Ramírez. “The Spreckels Organ Society supports the world’s largest outdoor musical instrument in the largest cultural urban park in America’s Finest City. Just that says it all for an artist like me.”

Prieto Ramírez, the founder and artistic director of the Barcelona Summer Organ Festival, has won acclaim for “electrifying” concerts that have attracted thousands. He is known for being one of the few concert organists who performs from memory.

He will be only the eighth person to have held the position of San Diego Civic Organist. His predecessor, Dr. Carol Williams, held the position for 15 years before moving to Virginia in 2016 to be closer to family.

Prieto Ramírez plans to move to San Diego with his Barcelona-born wife, Teresa Sierra, who is a pianist.

The weekly afternoon concerts at the historic organ pavilion, which was donated to the city in 1914, are free and open to the public.

“I encourage all San Diegans to fully enjoy what makes San Diego such a unique special place, and come to the Balboa Park Organ Pavilion to open their hearts and soul for a weekly dose of passion for life through the amazing power of music,” said Prieto Ramírez.

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