Performers and Presenters
NATHAN AVAKIAN +
Nathan’s fascination with the theatre organ began at age four with a visit to the Portland Organ Grinder Restaurant. He began organ studies with Donna Parker at age eleven and has also been frequently coached by Jonas Nordwall. Since winning the American Theatre Organ Society Young Organist Competition in 2009, Nathan has provided theatre organ entertainment across the United States and internationally including concert tours of Australia and New Zealand (2011 and 2017) and Canada (2015). He has released albums featuring both theatre and classical pipe organs as well as virtual orchestrations.
Renowned for his tasteful blending of twenty-first century virtual instrument technology with theatre organ music, Nathan offers performances that satisfy contemporary musical tastes and pay tribute to the historical legacy of the theatre organ. As resident organist and composer for the International Youth Silent Film Festival Nathan creates music that inspires young filmmakers around the world as they reinvent the art of silent film. He helped pioneer the festival’s expansion which now includes regionals in Oregon, Michigan, Adelaide and Melbourne, Australia, and New Zealand. Nathan has also scored several historic silent films for Thanhouser Company Film Preservation as well as contemporary shorts by various filmmakers.
Nathan served as the Youth Representative on the American Theatre Organ Society Board of Directors from 2011-2013 managing programs that recognize and support the work of young organ students.
Currently based in New York City, Nathan works as a freelance lighting designer and design associate with organizations including Historic Hudson Valley, Half Moon Theatre, Princeton University, New York Stage and Film, Purchase Opera, and the Lighting Design Group. In 2014 Nathan received a B.F.A. degree in lighting design from Purchase College, State University of New York.
MONICA CZAUSZ +
A true rising star among young classical musicians, Monica Czausz has quickly made a name for herself as one of the finest young American organists on the scene today. She was recognized as one of the top 20 organists under 30 in the May 2016 issue of The Diapason for her “superior accomplishments, leadership, creativity, and innovative thinking”. She has also received first prize in numerous competitions, including the 2015 American Guild of Organists Regional Competition for Young Organists (Region VII: Southwest), 2015 Schweitzer Competi- tion in the Young Professionals’ Division, the 2013 William C. Hall Competition, the 2012 L. Cameron Johnson Competition, and the 2011 Oklahoma City University Competition.
Monica recently performed at the 2017 Southwest Regional Convention of the AGO in Dallas and the Northeast Regional AGO/National RCCO Convention in Montréal. Also during the summer of 2017, she was featured in her third consecutive OHS convention, headlining in a full-length evening performance. In 2016 she performed at the AGO National Convention in Houston Texas, both for Evensong at Christ Church Cathedral, and as a “Rising Star,” where she gave “a fabulous performance that displayed artistic mastery far beyond her years” according to The American Organist. In her performance at the 2016 Organ Historical Society National Con- vention in Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania, she was said to have “played with great flair” (The Ameri- can Organist). In 2015, she was featured at the OHS National Convention in Western Massa- chusetts, the AGO Regional Convention in Fort Worth, Texas, and the East Texas Organ Festival in Kilgore, where The Tracker reported, “this young lady just blew us all away.” During the summer of 2016, she accompanied the Christ Church Cathedral Choir on tour to England where they fulfilled residencies at the Cathedrals of St. Paul’s (London), Durham, and Bristol.
She recently performed for “Pipedreams Live!” at the Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas and at other major venues including Broadway Baptist Church of Forth Worth, St. John the Divine in New York City, the Cathedral of St. Philip in Atlanta, and Trinity Church on Copley Square. She has additionally performed at the recent invitation of the Oklahoma City, Columbus, Rich- mond, Tulsa, Austin, and Brazos Valley (Texas) chapters of the AGO. Monica’s performances have been broadcast on Pipedreams, WRTI Philadelphia, 91.7 Houston, and KTRU Rice Radio. Monica is currently a student of Alan Morrison at The Curtis Institute of Music in Phila- delphia, where she is pursuing an Artist Diploma in Organ Performance.
In May of 2017, Czausz graduated Summa Cum Laude from Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music in Houston, Texas, where she completed a five-year combined Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degree program in Organ Performance. Here she studied with renowned professor Ken Cowan and, upon graduation, was awarded the Undergraduate Distinction in Research and Crea- tive Work. From September 2015 through July 2017, she served as full-time Cathedral Organist at Christ Church Cathedral (Episcopal) in Houston, Texas, under the leadership of acclaimed di- rector Robert Simpson. Monica Czausz is under the exclusive management of Karen McFarlane Artists, Inc.
CHRISTOPHER THOMAS DALY +
Christopher Thomas Daly teaches in the Augustine and Culture Seminar Program at Villanova University. He holds a doctorate in late-medieval and early-modern English History from the University of Oxford. He serves as a parish musician at Saint Vincent Pallotti Church in Haddon Township, New Jersey. He has had the good fortune to perform twice on the Kimmel Center Organ in Philadelphia, twice at Saint Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., and most recently at Saint John’s Church at the University of Vilnius in Lithuania.
BARBARA DEVER +
Since her sensational debut as Amneris in Aida at the Metropolitan Opera in 1994, Barbara Dever has been in demand throughout the world as a dramatic mezzo-soprano. She has sung Dalila opposite Plácido Domingo's Samson in Mexico City. She sang Amneris for the grand re-opening of the Teatro Massimo in Palermo, Italy. She has performed at the Metropolitan Opera as Eboli in Don Carlo, Azucena in Il trovatore, Amneris in Aida, Ulrica in Un ballo in maschera and Herodias in Salome. In addition to performing with Luciano Pavorotti on the stage of the Met she appeared with him on Pavarotti Plus, Great Performances at Lincoln Center.
Her performances with orchestras throughout the world include Handel’s Messiah and Verdi’s Requiem with Zubin Mehta and the Israel Philharmonic, Mahler’s Des Knaben Wunderhorn with the Louisville Orchestra and at the Chautauqua Festival. She has sung with the Florida Philharmonic, Pacific Symphony and the National Orchestra of Mexico. Recordings include Amneris in Aida for Naxos with the Irish National Orchestra, Azucena in Il trovatore on Fone live from Parma and Adalgisa in Norma for the Teatro Bellini in Catania. On Phillips under the baton of Seiji Ozawa she sings Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. More recently, she appears with the Ocean City Pops on their “Americana” CD.
Born in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, Barbara Dever grew up in Camden, New Jersey. She is a Distinguished Alumna of Camden Catholic High School and was recently inducted into the South Jersey Hall of Fame. Ms Dever received an Honorary Doctorate from Rowan University in 2009. She presently holds the position of Distinguished Artist in Residence at Montclair State University.
ETHEL GEIST +
From 2007 to 2018, Ethel Geist was Organist and Accompanist for Abington Presbyterian Church in Abington, PA, a church known for its extensive music program, consisting of the church’s choirs including a graded elementary choir program, a community Oratorio Choir and symphonic orchestra. Prior to this position, she led church music programs, directing children’s through adult vocal choirs, handbell choirs, and playing piano and organ in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Ohio.
She was known for directing junior and senior high school choral music programs in Ohio and Pennsylvania, along with ventures into other musical activities. She began accompanying in elementary school, and continued accompanying rehearsals, programs and concerts in high school. At Capital University in Columbus, Ohio, she accompanied junior and senior recitals while majoring in music education and clarinet performance, functioning as concert master of the touring wind ensemble for two years. She graduated with honors and earned her MA in Music Education at The Ohio State University while teaching, accompanying, and playing for musical theatre productions.
ROBERT GLADDEN +
Robert Gladden was born in Camden, NJ in 1952. In 1958 his family moved to Haddonfield NJ and began attending St. Rose of Lima in Haddon Heights, NJ. Young Robert was fascinated with the sound of the church pipe organ and persuaded his parents to let him begin taking organ lessons at the age of 9. By the time he was 12 he had played his first Mass at St Rose and has been there ever since, except for a tour of active duty in the Army from 1974 to 1975.
While attending Westminster Choir College his organ professor was Dr. George Markey. He also studied conducting with Robert Carwithen, improvisation with Alec Wyton and organ literature with Joan Lippincott.
After the tour of duty in the Army in 1975 Robert began working on pipe organs with some of the established organ technicians in the Philadelphia area where he learned all the basics of the trade. When solid state switching began to appear he went to Chicago to learn about it from the engineers who had invented it. Gradually the old-timers retired and Robert established his own pipe organ company. With his knowledge of organ literature, performance practices and pipe organs he has been able to successfully complete dozens of pipe organ projects around the country.
He has also during the past 43 years had the opportunity to play at the National Shrine in Washington, DC several times, St. Sulpice in Paris and at St. Peter's Vatican City. He currently is Organist and Director of Music at St. Rose of Lima, Haddon Heights, NJ.
WILLIAM P. GORTON +
William Gorton is the Director of Sacred Music at Haddonfield United Methodist Church in New Jersey, where he is also Artistic Director/Conductor of the New Jersey MasterChorale, which performs choral masterworks twice yearly with members of the Philadelphia Orchestra and Friends. Dr. Gorton has served as music director in Episcopal, Disciples of Christ, United Methodist, and International Council of Community Churches. Prior to his appointment at HUMC, Dr. Gorton was Assistant Professor of Voice and Opera at Millikin University, where he taught studio voice, served as coach and conductor for the opera program, and directed Tudor Voices, a select chamber choir specializing in early music.
William has had a diverse career as singer, voice teacher, composer, and conductor. He received his M.M. in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy from Westminster Choir College. The Founding Artistic Director of the Central Virginia Masterworks Chorale, he acquired his DMA in Choral Conducting at Arizona State University. While at ASU he also served as Assistant Chorus Master for the Phoenix Symphony Chorus. His hymn, “O God in Whom We Live,” can be found in Worship and Song, a United Methodist hymnal. A recent performance of the New Jersey MasterChorale, together with the Philadelphia Boys Choir, included Duruflé’s Requiem and the world premiere of Dr. Gorton’s Te Deum.
EILEEN GUENTHER +
Eileen Guenther, Professor of Church Music at Wesley Theological Seminary and Lecturer in Music at The George Washington University, conducts workshops on Spirituals, music and social justice, and clergy-music relations. She has led a number of groups from Wesley Seminary to South Africa on intercultural immersions and has taught at Africa University (Zimbabwe), in Uganda, and Cȏte d’Ivoire.
Eileen served three terms as president of the American Guild of Organists. Her two critically-acclaimed books are published by MorningStar Music Publishers: Rivals or a Team: Clergy-Musician Relationships in the 21st Century (2012) and In Their Own Words: Slave Life and the Power of Spirituals (2016).
KATHY GUNSALLUS +
Kathy Gunsallus, Assistant Music Director at First Presbyterian Church of Moorestown, New Jersey, plays the organ for worship services, and conducts the Bell Choir. She began at First Presbyterian Church of Moorestown in June 2010.
Kathy grew up in the countryside of Central Pennsylvania near State College, Pennsylvania, home of the Nittany Lions. She began her career as an organist at the age of 14 playing at The Upper Spruce Creek Presbyterian Church where she attended from childhood. There she played the organ for worship services, and piano for Sunday School and youth group.
As a sophomore at Tyrone High School, she acquired her first Organist/Choir Director position at Trinity Episcopal Church. While in high school, she accompanied choirs, sang, and played clarinet. She graduated from Combs College of Music, Philadelphia, received her teaching certification from Glassboro State College, and more recently, her Master’s Degree in Music Education from Rowan University.
In 2015, Kathy, served as accompanist for Moorestown Youth Choir that toured and performed in Denmark and Sweden. After 34 years of teaching music in public school, she is now retired and resides in Riverside, New Jersey.
COLIN HOWLAND +
Colin Howland’s formative musical years were spent as a student and assistant to Keith Chapman, who presided over the largest playing musical instrument in the world, the Wanamaker Grand Court Organ in Philadelphia. Colin is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia and Baylor University. He also holds the Certificate in Christian Studies from Westminster Theological Seminary.
Colin currently serves as Director of Music and Organist at Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia. From 1998-2015, Colin served as Director of Music and organist at Park Cities Presbyterian Church in Dallas. Prior to that, he was the organist at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He has been active as an organ recitalist for 35 years, playing concerts throughout the United States, and as far away as England and China. Orchestral performances have included collaborations with the Irving Symphony, the Richardson Symphony, the Plano Symphony, and the Florida Pops Orchestra. Colin is also a founding member of the Philadelphia Organ Quartet, a unique ensemble which arranges and performs music for four organs and organists!
Colin loves spending time with his wife and three daughters, especially while searching for wildlife in our nation’s state and national parks. His interests include golf, skiing, reading, hiking, baking, and loafing around with his family’s Great Pyrenees, Angie!
DEBORAH SIMPKIN KING +
Deborah Simpkin King, PhD, is a visionary conductor, new music advocate and educator who deeply believes in the power of music to affect the human spirit and enrich communities.
Dr. King is Founder/Artistic Director of Ember, vocal ensemble of Schola Cantorum on Hudson (Schola), a non-profit semipro vocal ensemble that performs in New York City and in Montclair, New Jersey; known for programming living composers, eclectic styles, and social mission. Schola is also the parent organization of PROJECT : ENCORE, the international advocacy initiative promoting post-premiere performances of new music choral.
Dr. King is also Director of Music at Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church in Plainfield, NJ; and Artistic Director of Crescent Concerts, a multi-disciplinary series. In this capacity she conducts Crescent Choral Society and Crescent Singers.
Professional contribution includes her chairmanship of the New York Choral Consortium and long-time coordination of the NJ-ACDA HS Choral Festival (since 1994). Dr. King was one of five conductors who worked with Simon Halsey in the 2016 premiere of David Lang’s commissioned work, the public domain, in celebration of the 50-year anniversary of Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival; and she will serve similarly in 2018’s premiere by John Luther Adams. Her PhD is in Musicology, and she holds an MMus in Music Education/Choral conducting and a BMus in Vocal Performance.
JOEL KROTT +
This year marks Joel Krott’s thirty-ninth season as Artistic Director and Conductor of the West Jersey Chamber Music Society. He has guided the ensemble from its inception in 1980 to the position it now enjoys as one of the Delaware Valley’s finest chamber orchestras.
Mr. Krott, a summa cum laude graduate of the Philadelphia Musical Academy, has studied and traveled extensively throughout Europe. His studies at the Royal Conservatory of Copenhagen under Goethe Krogh were instrumental in shaping his ideas and approach to early German composers, particularly J.S. Bach. In Holland, Mr. Krott studied with Anton Heiller, Professor of Organ at the Vienna Conservatory. The well-known Marie Claire Alain of Paris, with whom he has also studied in Holland, enhanced his knowledge of French classical music, including works of Cesar Franck and Jehan Alain.
In the United States, Joel Krott has participated in the prestigious Oregon Bach Festival which is led by Helmut Rilling, one of Europe’s foremost conductors and teachers. Mr. Krott presents organ recitals in the New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania areas as well as in Denmark, Germany, and Holland, having completed his seventh concert tour in 1999. In addition to his service to the West Jersey Chamber Music Society, Joel Krott is Director of Music at First Presbyterian Church, Moorestown, New Jersey, a position he has held since 1972. At the church, he directs five choirs, with a combined membership of over 250 singers. He presides as organist at the Marcussen tracker organ. In addition to providing music for all services, Mr. Krott presents a yearly Series of Special Musical Events which includes major choral works with orchestral accompaniment and recitals by noted American and European organists.
ANN LABOUNSKY +
Miss Labounsky, Ph.D, FAGO, Ch.M. is Chair of Organ and Sacred Music at Duquesne University where she oversees undergraduate and graduate programs in sacred music. Currently she serves as Organ Artist in Residence at First Lutheran Church on Grant Street and Organist and Choir Master at the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer in Squirrel Hill.
An active member of the American Guild of Organists, the National Pastoral Musicians, and the Church Music Association of America, she has worked as Director of the National Committee on Improvisation, Councilor for Education for the American Guild of Organists, and national Director of Certification for the National Pastoral Musicians. Author of a biography of Langlais, Jean Langlais: the Man and His Music, (Amadeus Press, Portland, Oregon, 2000), she has completed recording the complete organ works by Jean Langlais (26 cds) for the Musical Heritage Society released on Voix de Vent Recordings and performed in a DVD of his life based on this biography, a project sponsored by the Los Angeles AGO Chapter.
MONTE MAXWELL +
Monte Maxwell serves as Director of Chapel Music at the United States Naval Academy, Director of the Midshipmen Symphony Orchestra, and Senior Chapel Organist. His other duties include working with the various choral organizations, performing/managing some 500 chapel services annually, maintaining oversight of the three chapel organs, and performing organ concerts in the chapel. He frequently performs organ demonstrations to the general public in an effort to help further interest in the instrument, its history, and music. His annual Halloween/All Saints Organ Concerts have become a staple of the Naval Academy and greater Annapolis community and have received great acclaim, regularly drawing sold out crowds numbering 4,000 people.
Mr. Maxwell, a native of San Angelo, Texas, earned his undergraduate degree from Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, studying with Emmet G. Smith. Maxwell was then invited to study at the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia on a full scholarship studying with organist John Weaver. Mr. Maxwell earned the Artist Diploma, the most distinguished degree at the conservatory in Organ Performance. He went on to receive his graduate degree in Organ from the internationally renowned Juilliard School in New York where he worked with both John Weaver and Gerre Hancock.
Maxwell’s musical endeavors have taken him to many churches, cathedrals, and concert halls across the United States, England, Italy, Belgium, China, Peru, Chile, Argentina, and Canada, including such notable venues as New York’s Lincoln Center, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, St. Thomas Church, the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. He has also served as a volunteer missionary for many years, teaching, speaking, and playing in venues in Eastern Europe, South America, and Southeast Asia. During his time in Philadelphia, he served as a Staff Organist, performing weekly concerts on the famed John Wanamaker Grand Court Organ, the largest playing pipe organ in the world. He has performed with Broadway artists, members of the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, the New York Philharmonic, and the Philadelphia Orchestra.
Mr. Maxwell is known for his exciting and interesting concerts, displaying great showmanship and a colorful variety of musical styles. He is a member of the American Guild of Organists and has conducted numerous Pipe Organ Encounters for the Annapolis chapter of the AGO. In his leisure time, Monte is an avid roller coaster aficionado and is a member of American Coaster Enthusiasts.
ANNA MEYER +
Anna Meyer holds a Bachelor’s degree from the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, a Master’s from The Peabody Institute, and is currently working on her DMA at Temple University. She was previously the adjunct instructor of Flute at Mercyhurst University and Second Flutist of the Canton Symphony. She took second place in the 2015 Myrna Brown Competition, and is currently a listed substitute for many regional orchestras, including the Delaware Symphony, Opera Philadelphia, and the Allentown Symphony. Anna and her husband, Erik, often collaborate in concerts of flute and organ music, and she is a founding member of the Lyra Ensemble. For more information, please visit www.aemeyer.com/anna or www.lyraensemble.com.
ERIK MEYER +
Erik Meyer is an all-around musician who likes to keep busy and get his hands dirty. From Collingswood, NJ, he began his organ studies with J. Bert Carlson, and later earned his music degrees from the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore, studying with Donald Sutherland. He has performed over 100 Organ concerts throughout the US and Europe, as well as flute & organ recitals with his wife, Anna. He is music director at the Church of St. Martin-in- the-Fields, Philadelphia, where he oversees a large choral and instrumental program.
Previously he was the artistic director of the Luther Memorial Concert Series, created a Bach Festival, and taught at Mercyhurst University. His compositions are published by Augsburg Fortress, St. James Press, Lorenz, and MusicSpoke. He is the composer of the new Johns Hopkins University school song, and recently won composition awards from FredBrass, the Twin Cities AGO, Presbyterian Association of Musicians, and the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians. You might also see him on or off stage with the Newtown Arts Theater, playing trombone in the Jenkintown Community band, violin in the Abington Symphony, or on really bad days, accordion in his living room.
MARVIN MILLS +
Active with the American Guild of Organists since 1984, Marvin Mills has served as dean (1990-1992/District of Columbia), board member, Foundation trustee, Regional Convention secretary, and chairman for regional and chapter competitions, exemplifying his commitment to the mission of the Guild and his belief in the expressive power of the organ as an instrument for use in worship and concert. Since 1995, he has also participated in the Guild’s Pipe Organ Encounters for Youth and Adults, helping all ages to experience various aspects of pipe organ study.
As clinician, he has given workshops for the Unitarian Universalists Musician’s Network, the Presbyterian Association of Musicians, Association of Disciples Musicians and at the regional and chapter levels of the American Guild of Organists spanning topics from the Negro Spiritual and organ music of Black Composers, to hymn playing, organ accompaniment and organ repertoire.
ALAN MORRISON +
Alan Morrison is recognized as one of America's premier concert organists and enjoys a versatile career as organist, teacher, recording artist, adjudicator and pianist/chamber musician. His concert performances throughout North America, South America, Europe and Russia have all been received with enthusiastic praise for his quality programing, colorful use of the organ and interpretive integrity. Some performance highlights in major venues include Glazunov Hall (St. Petersburg, Russia), St. Paul’s Cathedral (London, UK), St. Albans Cathedral (UK), Mosteiro de São Bento (São Paulo, Brazil), St. Michael’s Church (Munich, Germany), Cattedrale di Vittorio Veneto (Italy), Jack Singer Concert Hall (Calgary, Canada), Spreckels Organ Pavilion (San Diego, CA), Merrill Auditorium (Portland, ME), Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center (NYC), Meyerson Symphony Center (Dallas, TX), Benaroya Hall (Seattle, WA), Jacoby Hall (Jacksonville, FL), Overture Center (Madison, WI), Spivey Hall (Morriow, GA), The National Cathedral (DC), Cleveland Museum of Art (OH), Grace Cathedral (San Francisco, CA), The Crystal Cathedral (Garden Grove, CA), the Wanamaker Organ at Macy’s (Philadelphia, PA) and Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia where he has appeared over a dozen times as soloist, with brass, and as orchestral soloist in concertos by Samuel Barber, Stephen Paulus and Eric Sessler (the latter two are available on iTunes from Verizon Hall).
Collaboration with other artists plays a major role in Alan Morrison’s career. For over a decade he toured with his mother, pianist Jeannine Morrison, performing major works and transcriptions for piano and organ. They were featured at the 2006 National AGO Convention in Chicago and recorded a CD (“Festive Duo”) in Spivey Hall. In Philadelphia he has collaborated with all the major choral ensembles: Choral Arts Philadelphia, The Philadelphia Singers, Mendelssohn Club, and Singing City. He has also appeared with Dolce Suono Ensemble several times as harpsichordist and organist. As a pianist he has been featured as concerto soloist performing works such as Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Gershwin’s Concerto in F (both with the Dekalb Symphony conducted by Fyodor Cherniavski), Mozart’s Concerto for Two Pianos and Three Pianos (Atlanta Chamber Symphony conducted by Juan Ramirez), Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy (Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia conducted by Jeffery Brillhart), and Gillingham’s Concerto for Piano and Percussion Orchestra (Orlando, FL). As winner of the GMEA Concerto Competition he performed the Piano Concerto #1 by Shostakovich (Larry Newland conducting the Georgia All State Orchestra) which was broadcast on TV. Other TV appearances include two episodes of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood as both pianist and organist. He was subsequently invited to play for his memorial service at Heinz Hall in Pittsburgh where other guests included Yo-Yo Ma, Hillary Hahn and Isaac Stern. He currently collaborates regularly with The Orlando Chambers Soloists as a founding member. They have recently received awards from Chamber Music America and National Endowment for the Arts. He has also partnered several times with renowned cellist Andres Diaz at Brevard Music Festival and Spivey Hall among other venues playing major works of Rachmaninoff, Martinu, Lutosalwski, and Debussy.
A champion of American composers, Alan Morrison has premiered important new works by William Bolcom, Dan Locklair, Emily Maxson-Porter, Mary Beth Bennett, Eric Sessler, Kyle Smith, Jon Spong, Brent Weaver, as well as the American premier of Dances for Organ and Orchestra by Bob Chilcott. One of Morrison’s CD recordings, “American Voyage,” features an all-American program with works by Creston, King, Crozier, Locklair, Stover and Sessler. His numerous CD recordings are currently available through the internet or on iTunes.
Mr. Morrison has been chosen by his peers to perform for four national conventions of the AGO (Atlanta ’92, New York City ’96, Philadelphia ’02 and Chicago ’06) as well as numerous regional conventions. In his student years he captured First Prize in numerous organ competitions including the Arthur Poister National Organ Playing Competition (1991) and the Clarence Mader National Organ Competition (1991) which offered the highest cash prize of any US competition at that time. He also won the Silver Medal at the 1994 Calgary International Organ Festival and Competition.
In 2002, Alan Morrison was appointed head of the organ department at the world renowned conservatory, The Curtis Institute of Music, where he holds the Haas Charitable Trust Chair in Organ Studies. In 2006 he joined the faculty of Westminster Choir College of Rider University and has served as College Organist at Ursinus College in Collegeville, PA since 1995. Most recently he was appointed Organist-in-Residence at Spivey Hall where he holds the McGheehee Family Organist Residency. A graduate of both Curtis Institute of Music (BMus in Organ and MMus in Piano Accompanying) and Juilliard School of Music (Professional Studies in Organ), his teachers were Sarah Martin, Cherry Rhodes and John Weaver (organ) and Robert Harvey, Vladimir Sokoloff and Susan Starr (piano).
Alan Morrison is under the exclusive management of Karen McFarlane Artists, Inc. (Cleveland).
ERIC PLUTZ +
Eric Plutz has begun his second decade as University Organist at Princeton University, where his responsibilities include playing for weekly services at the Chapel, Academic Ceremonies, and solo concerts. He coordinates the weekly After Noon Concert Series at the University Chapel, is Lecturer in Music and Instructor of Organ at Princeton University, maintains a private studio, and is Dean of the Central New Jersey Chapter of the American Guild of Organists. In addition, Mr. Plutz is rehearsal accompanist for the Westminster Symphonic Choir at Westminster Choir College, and Princeton Pro Musica, both in Princeton, NJ. In 2016 Mr. Plutz also received the Alumni Merit Award from Westminster Choir College of Rider University. More information is available at www.ericplutz.com.
Mr. Plutz has made four solo recordings on the Pro Organo label, www.proorgano.com. French Trilogy (on the Æolian-Skinner Organ at Byrnes Auditorium, Winthrop University, Rock Hill, SC), about which James Reed (The Diapason) wrote, “Plutz is a master craftsman... his performances are sensitive, emotional, stunningly accurate, and spectacularly musical... truly a world-class performance by a world-class musician,” and Denver Jubilee (restored 1938 Kimball Organ of St. John’s Episcopal Cathedral, Denver, CO), about which David Schwartz (American Record Guide) wrote, “....he understands, as would a great orchestrator, how to register the more orchestral side of the instrument....”
Two previous recordings are of the Princeton University Chapel Organ: Musique Héroïque and Carnival, about which James Hildreth (The American Organist) writes, “Plutz’s extraordinary musicianship and dexterous command allow him to perform the most challenging passages (of which there are many!) with apparent ease. He performs the quiet pieces with poetry and grace.” As an organ concert soloist, Mr. Plutz, who “performs with gusto, flair, clarity, and strong yet pliant rhythmic control (Mr. Hildreth for TAO),” has accepted engagements in distinguished locations across the United States and abroad including Germany, Austria, Philadelphia (Verizon Hall, the Wanamaker Organ, Longwood Gardens), New York City (Avery Fisher Hall, Church of St. Ignatius Loyola, Cathedral of St. John the Divine), Washington, DC (Washington National Cathedral), and San Francisco (Grace Cathedral). He has been a featured artist at the Annual Convention of the Organ Historical Society (2016), two Regional Conventions of the American Guild of Organists (Region III in 2007, Regions I & II in 2011), and at the 2010 National AGO Convention in Washington, DC, Mr. Plutz performed twice, in collaboration with two local groups. His playing has been broadcast on “With Heart and Voice,” “Pipedreams,” and “the Wanamaker Organ Hour.” As an accompanist, Mr. Plutz has worked with many organizations, including The Bach Choir of Bethlehem, National Symphony Orchestra, Choral Arts Society of Washington, and the Cathedral Choral Society (DC).
Originally from Rock Island, Illinois, Mr. Plutz earned a Bachelor of Music degree, magna cum laude, from Westminster Choir College of Rider University and a Master of Music degree from the Eastman School of Music. From 1995 through 2004, Mr. Plutz was organist and director of music at Church of the Epiphany in Washington, D.C. and performed with numerous DC organizations. In 2004, while on sabbatical, he studied in Paris, France, with Marie-Louise Langlais, researching the major organ works of César Franck.
DANIEL ROTH +
Daniel Roth is widely acclaimed as one of the leading French organ virtuosos. Renowned for his brilliant interpretations of organ literature and for his thrilling improvisations which are regularly included in his concert programs, Daniel Roth has concertized extensively throughout Europe, Great Britain, The United States, Scandinavia, Japan and Korea.
A former student at the Paris Conservatory, his teachers include Marie-Claire Alain and Maurice Duruflé. He is the winner of several competitions, among them the Grand Prix de Chartres in 1971 for both interpretation and improvisation.
Mr. Roth is currently Titular Organist at the Church of St. Sulpice in Paris. Previous positions held include Titular Organist at the Basilique du Sacré Coeur in Paris, and Artist-in-Residence of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington DC. In addition to his performing and church work, Mr. Roth is also a composer, and has written many works for organ solo, flute and organ, choir and organ and for orchestra. For his compositions he was awarded the Florent Schmitt prize awarded by the Académie des Beaux-Arts (Institut de France)
Throughout his career Mr. Roth held many prestigious teaching positions, including posts at the Conservatory of Marseille, the Conservatory of Strasbourg, the Musikhochshule in Saarbrücken, and most recently Professor of Organ at the Musikhochschule in Frankfurt am Main until his retirement in 2007.
He has numerous recordings to his credit on recording labels including Erato, Philips, Arion, Pathé-Marconi, EMI, Wergo, Motette-Ursina, Priory, Aeolus, and JAV Recordings. Several of his recordings have won the coveted “Diapason d’Or” award from the French magazine Diapason. Mr. Roth has earned the Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur, Officier des Arts et Letters, and he was named an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Organists in the UK. He was also awarded the “Europäische Kirchenmusik” prize by the Schwäbisch Gmünd Festival in Germany.
GLENN RODGERS +
Glenn L. Rodgers, AAGO, a native of Philadelphia, has been an A.G.O. member and church organist since he was a teenager. He recently retired from full-time church employment after serving for the past 35 years as Organist and Music Director at the First United Methodist Church of Moorestown, NJ, having previously served in churches in Philadelphia, Telford PA, Miami, and Wilmington DE. He is a frequent recitalist at the Atlantic City Boardwalk Hall known for its Midmer-Losh organ, reputed to be the largest organ in the world. He earned music degrees from Westminster Choir College and Temple University studying with Robert Carwithen and J. Earl Ness. A former Dean of the Southwest Jersey Chapter, he served as the Mid-Atlantic States Regional Councillor from 2012 to 2018. It has long been his dream of bringing the Regional Convention to this area to reveal and share the unique riches to be found in South Jersey.
ISTVAN RUPPERT +
István Ruppert (1954) is a unique person in Hungarian musical life. In addition to his training in music, he has a degree in mechanical engineering. Immediately after receiving his degree in organ performance in 1987, he was offered the position of organ teacher at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music. Since 2006 he has been working as a director of the Department of Music of the Szechenyi University in Gyor. He has performed in many churches and centers of music in Hungary, throughout Europe, Japan, Brasil and USA. A great advocate of contemporary Hungarian music. He took his doctor's degree in November 2004. In 2009 he was honoured with the region’s „Prima – prize”. In 2012 he was appointed as an university professor.
VICTORIA R. SIROTA +
Victoria R. Sirota, Episcopal priest, lecturer, author and organist, holds degrees from Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Boston University and Harvard Divinity School, and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Bunting Institute of Radcliffe College. She has taught at Yale Divinity School, Yale Institute of Sacred Music, The Ecumenical Institute of Theology at St. Mary’s Seminary and University, and Boston University. Former National Chaplain for the American Guild of Organists, Chair of the Professional Concerns Committee for the Association of Anglican Musicians, and Coordinator of the 1990 National AGO Convention in Boston, she is the author of articles, reviews, hymns and libretti. She is recorded on Northeastern, Gasparo and Albany Records and her book Preaching to the Choir: Claiming the Role of Sacred Musician is available from Church Publishing. Previous positions include Vicar of the Church of the Holy Nativity in Baltimore, MD, and Canon Pastor and Vicar at The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine. She has given recitals in Paris, Germany and the United States, and has preached and given workshops at AGO, AAM, UCCMA and ALCM conventions. The Reverend Canon Sirota is currently Priest-in-Charge at Saint John's Episcopal Church in Getty Square, Yonkers, NY.
MATTHEW SMITH +
Matthew Smith currently serves as the Organist at Haddonfield United Methodist Church in Haddonfield, New Jersey. Matt also graduated in May 2017 with a Master of Music degree in Organ Performance from Westminster Choir College. Born and raised in Geneva, Illinois, he attended Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Music degree with a concentration in organ and piano. While there, he worked primarily as an accompanist for voice faculty studios and as an assistant music director/keyboardist in the pit orchestra for various music theatre productions.
Matt was awarded First Place at the Joan Lippincott Competition for Excellence in Organ Performance at Westminster Choir College in February 2017. Matt’s most recent solo recitals have taken place at Marble Collegiate Church in New York City and the Princeton University Chapel. He was also a guest organist at Rowan University’s “A Classical Christmas” concert with the Rowan Concert Choir. His past teachers include Daryl Robinson and Richard Hoskins on organ, and Dr. Deborah Masloski on piano. He currently resides in Princeton, New Jersey.
WESTMINSTER BRASS +
Westminster Brass has presented sacred, classical and pops music concerts throughout the United States and Canada since 1976. The quintet is based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and is an integral part of Tenth Presbyterian Church’s music ministry in the heart of the city.
The members bring years of experience performing with such notable organizations as The Philadelphia Orchestra, Delaware Symphony Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and the Pennsylvania Ballet Orchestra as well as the Philly Pops and Ocean City Pops orchestras. They have performed under the batons of Eugene Ormandy, Leonard Bernstein, Riccardo Muti, Christoph Eschenbach, and Yannick Nézet-Séguin in such great American concert halls as Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, and The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts.
Members of Westminster Brass have earned degrees from The Curtis Institute, New England Conservatory, The College of New Jersey and Temple University. Their careers also include teaching positions at The College of New Jersey, West Chester University, Franklin and Marshall College, Westminster Theological Seminary and Lower Merion High School. Westminster Brass has produced five solo recordings of sacred music. Individuals have credits on films and recordings with NFL Films, Philadelphia Boys Choir and The Philadelphia Orchestra to name but a few.
CAROL WILLIAMS +
Carol Williams, British born composer, concert organist and San Diego Civic Organist Emerita.
Carol could read music before English. Began her training at the Royal Academy of Music. Awarded all major prizes for organ. Became a Fellow of the Royal College of Organists, a Fellow of Trinity College London, Associate of the Royal College of Music. Studied in Paris with Daniel Roth. Williams undertook postgraduate studies at Yale University with Professor Thomas Murray and awarded Artist Diploma and the Charles Ives prize for outstanding achievement. Earned her Doctorate of Musical Arts at Manhattan School of Music and received the Helen Cohn award. Carol is familiar with Order of Service. Former Chapel Organist, Yale University; Associate Organist Cathedral of the Incarnation, Garden City, NY; Artist in Residence St. Paul’s Cathedral, San Diego; presently Artist in Residence Court Street United Methodist church, Lynchburg, VA.
Host “TourBus” the documentary series featuring the Large & Small, Famous & Unique pipe organs of the world. Host “On The Bench” YouTube series interviewing musicians. “I want to bring the pipe organ to a broader audience and, with my performance make people feel good”. Williams’ CDs, DVDs and compositions can be found at www.melcot.com, Facebook, and Twitter.