Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Craighead-Saunders Organ

The following article and information comes from The New York Times. We are excerpting a small portion but strongly encourage you to read the full article on as they have included 3 audio tracks within the article.

Published: December 21, 2009

ROCHESTER — The ceremonial pipe organ of the 18th century was the Formula One racer of its time, a masterpiece of human ingenuity so elegant in its outward appearance that a casual observer could only guess at the complexity that lay within.

Each organ was designed to fit its intended space, ranging in size from local churches where townspeople could worship to vast cathedrals fit for royalty. The builders were precision craftsmen celebrated for their skill in hand-making thousands of moving parts and in shaping and tuning metal and wooden pipes to mimic the sounds of each instrument in an orchestra.

The effect was breathtaking. “Each instrument speaks to you in a different way,” said Hans Davidsson, a concert organist, sitting before the console of the organ at the cavernous Christ Church, Episcopal, in Rochester. Dr. Davidsson began to play the Bach hymn “Gottes Sohn Ist Kommen” (“The Son of God Has Come”), and an enormous, bell-clear sound exploded from the gleaming pipes that soared above him.

The organ, the Craighead-Saunders, is a unique instrument, not only because of its lovely sound, but also because it is a nearly exact copy of a late Baroque organ built by Adam Gottlob Casparini of East Prussia in 1776. The original stands in the Holy Ghost Church in Vilnius, Lithuania...

Please Read the full article on

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Recording Projects

We are currently working on two very exciting new organ recordings!

On the first album we're working on, we've got a star-studded lineup. We'll have Hans Davidsson, William Porter, and David Higgs all on one album! The second album will feature the extremely talented Joan Lippincott playing Bach's Art of Fugue.

So what organ inspired us for these two amazing projects? The new Eastman Italian Baroque, Craighead-Saunders Organ. It is a copy of an 18th century instrument in Vilnius built by Italian, Casparini, whose work was well-known by J.S. Bach! In other words, it is currently the MOST AUTHENTIC Bach Organ in the U.S.!

The Craighead-Saunders Organ was built for Christ Church as a research project by a joint venture of American and international organ builders. The Episcopal Diocese of Rochester is the main partner and co-sponsor of the project, which involves collaboration with the Lithuanian Ministry of Culture and Göteborg Organ Art Center in Sweden. The organ, which is named after two legendary Eastman organ professors David Craighead and Russell Saunders, was installed in Christ Church with the simultaneous restoration of the original organ in Vilnius, Lithuania.

The original organ, found in the Church of the Dominicans (Holy Ghost Church) in Vilnius, was fortunately well preserved in a region afflicted by years of war and conflict. It is the only remaining example of a large organ created by Adam Gottlob Casparini and considered to be one of the most valuable musical artifacts of its time in Europe today.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Music of Dan Locklair

Yesterday we introduced our new release "The Music of Dan Locklair", so today we are taking some time to introduce you to the pieces on this new release.

Rubrics (A Liturgical Suite for Organ) was a 1988 commission from the Organ Artists Series of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, for their tenth anniversary year celebration. The extra-musical impetus and subsequent titles for each movement of Rubrics are found in the instructions (rubrics) to the services for The Book of Common Prayer (September 1979 edition). Rubrics was given its World Premiere in Pittsburgh on April 16, 1989 by organist, Mary Preston.

Peter Hardwick, writing in The Diapason, has called Rubrics “one of the most frequently played organ works by an American composer.” Movements from Rubrics were not only heard at the Washington National Cathedral funeral service of President Ronald Reagan in 2004, but also as a part of the January 2009 Martin Luther King Jr. service in the same venue during the Presidential Inauguration of President Barack Obama.

Salem Sonata for organ is in four movements and was composed during late August and September of 2003 on commission from Mr. & Mrs. Mark Welshimer. Salem Sonata celebrates the 2004 completed restoration of the historic 1800 David Tannenberg pipe organ that was originally installed and dedicated in 1800 in the Moravian Church (now known as Home Moravian Church) in Salem, North Carolina. Last used in Home Church on January 30, 1910, the organ was then disassembled and stored, and eventually loaned to the living history Moravian community and museum of Old Salem in Winston-Salem, NC, where it was under the watchful eye of then Curator, Paula Welshimer.

Meticulously restored in a period of over five years by the distinguished firm of Taylor & Boody Organbuilders, the rededication of the organ - which included the World Premiere of Salem Sonata - occurred on March 19, 2004 in a concert by organist, Peter Sykes. The dedication of Salem Sonata reads as follows:

Commissioned by Mark and Rosanne Welshimer in celebration of the
2004 restoration of the 1800 Tannenberg organ at Old Salem (Winston-Salem, NC)
and in honor of Paula Welshimer Locklair,
whose vision and dedication to the project made it a reality

PHOENIX Processional for solo organ comes from a larger composition entitled PHOENIX Fanfare and Processional for organ, brass quartet and percussion. The original three minute PHOENIX Fanfare was commissioned in 1979 by Union Theological Seminary in New York City for the February 1980 reopening and dedication of Union's renovated James Memorial Chapel. It was conceived of as an antiphonal composition, with the original brass sextet placed at the rear of the Chapel and the organ and percussion at the front of the Chapel. In August of 1985, the scoring of PHOENIX Fanfare was reduced to brass quartet and joined with a newly composed processional to become PHOENIX Fanfare and Processional. It was first performed at the September, 1985, Opening Convocation of Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Since then it has been used as both a popular recital piece and as a ceremonial processional composition, including use for many years as the commencement piece for The Juilliard School in New York City. The organ solo version of PHOENIX Processional was done by Dan Locklair in 1996 and it is that version which is heard on this recording.

Celebration (Variations for Organ) was commissioned in honor of the 20th anniversary of J. Patrick Murphy as Director of Music Ministry at First Presbyterian Church, Greensboro, North Carolina. First performed by Mr. Murphy at First Presbyterian on 11 May 2003, Celebration was composed during the late autumn of 2002 and completed on 7 January 2003 and is inspired by the scripture"…thanksgiving, and the voice of melody" (Isaiah 51:3).

Though variations traditionally begin with a statement of the theme, the original theme on which Celebration is based does not appear until near the end of the piece. The variations are not sectional but, instead, are ongoing. A transposed Lydian mode (C D E F-sharp G A B C) serves as the primary melodic and harmonic basis of the piece. F-sharp is an especially significant pitch in the composition due to its distinctive character as the raised fourth scale degree in the transposed Lydian mode.

The Æolian Sonata for organ was commissioned by Duke University Chapel for a recital on June 2, 2002 by Chapel Organist, David Arcus, celebrating the 70th Anniversary of the Chapel's Æolian pipe organ (1932-2002). The piece was composed between late January and March 2002. The word "Aeolus", meaning the Greek god of the winds, is at the heart of the name of the American organ builder, the Æolian Organ Company, which built this original Duke Chapel organ (their last before merging with the E.M. Skinner Organ Co.). Aeolian is also the name of one of the ancient Greek modes which, later in history, became one of the original church modes (i.e. A – A on the white notes of the keyboard). The Aeolian mode, as well as the pitches "A" and "E", are important compositional building blocks for The Æolian Sonata.

In three movements, The Æolian Sonata musically celebrates the heritage and continued use of the historic Æolian organ in Duke Chapel. Extra-musically, it pays tribute to the spirit of the American people in the aftermath of the 2001 September 11 terrorist attacks. The title for each movement is in a different language, symbolically paying tribute to the outpouring of support that Americans have felt from peace-loving people throughout the world. In a spiritual way, the music of each movement is a reflection on its title, with these words being indicative of a healing nation.

In his June 2003 review of The Æolian Sonata in The Diapason, Haig Mardirosian writes:

"...What a refreshing delight therefore, to notice a score which literally screams for the appraisal of masterpiece…. If great art is about universals, then Dan Locklair has achieved a summit. Locklair's sonata is that good."

Composed late in 2003, In Mystery and Wonder (The Casavant Diptych) for organ was commissioned by Casavant Frères, Limitée, of Saint-Hyacinthe (Quebec), Canada, in honor of this distinguished pipe organ builder's 125th anniversary. Multiple premieres of one or both movements of the piece were performed by a host of organists worldwide on Casavant organs during the November 13, 2004 anniversary weekend. Symbolism, as the basis for all musical materials, abounds in both movements and especially in the use of "C" and "F" note codes for "Casavant Frères" (as well as in the unplanned "mystery" that yielded 125 measures of music in the first movement!). Since one of the main melodic ideas from the first movement, Aria, appears in the second movement, Toccata, the composition is cyclic. In order for the Casavant anniversary to be celebrated by the widest range of organists possible, a requirement for this commission was that the first movement be technically modest, with the second movement being more technically demanding. Thus, as an option to the entire two-movement composition being played in worship services and/or recitals, each movement may also be played separately. The subtitle of each movement comes from the 18th century English hymn by William Cowper, God Moves in a Mysterious Way.

Click to purchase The Music of Dan Locklair

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Music of Dan Locklair - New Release

The Music of Dan Locklair
Marilyn Keiser, organist
Casavant Freres organ of St. Paul's Episcopal Church
Indianapolis, Indiana

Dan Locklair is one of America's most widely performed composers. His music has been performed at Presidential inaugurations and funerals, and he was named Composer of the Year by the American Guild of Organists. Marilyn Keiser has long been a champion of his organ music and presents here the definitive performances of his most popular works.

Peter Hardwick, writing in The Diapason, has called Rubrics (A Liturgical Suite for Organ) “one of the most frequently played organ works by an American composer.” Movements from Rubrics were not only heard at the Washington National Cathedral funeral service of President Ronald Reagan in 2004, but also as a part of the January 2009 Martin Luther King Jr. service in the same venue during the Inauguration of President Barack Obama.

This recording was made on the 2007 Casavant Frères organ of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Indianapolis.

Marilyn Keiser has long been a champion of Locklair’s organ music and presents here the definitive performances of his most popular works.

Loft Recordings LRCD-1110
The Music of Dan Locklair

Marilyn Keiser, Organ

Rubrics (A Liturgical Suite for Organ) [1988]
1. "[The ancient praise-shout,] 'Hallelujah,' has been restored..."
2. "Silence may be kept"
3. "...and thanksgivings may follow."
4. "The Peace may be exchanged."
5. "The people respond - Amen!"

Salem Sonata for organ [2003]
I. ("…to thee our cordial thankfulness…")
II. ("Hallowed be thy name…")
III. ("…We owe Thee thankfulness and praise…")
IV. ("…Let His work your pleasure be…")

PHOENIX Processional (Solo Organ Version) [1996]
(from PHOENIX Fanfare and Processional) [1979/85]
Celebration (Variations for Organ) [2003]

The Æolian Sonata for organ [2002]
I. Aus tiefer not (Out of the Depths I Cry to Thee)
II. Shalom (Peace)
III. Laudate Dominum (O Praise the Lord)

In Mystery and Wonder (The Casavant Diptych) [2004]
I. Aria (“God moves in a mysterious way…”)
II. Toccata (“…His wonders to perform…”)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Music for Ash Wednesday

We hope everyone had a good time celebrating Fat Tuesday yesterday, and today we'll help you recover by suggesting some music for your Ash Wednesday Celebration.

We'll begin with beautiful setting of the Mass Ordinary:

Gaudete in Domino
An English Lady Mass by Thomas Packe (fl. 1487-1499)
Schola Gothia, Ulrike Heider, director

Organa sunt nimis ardua. Ita quod potest, potest sic. (“Those organs were very difficult to play upon. Impossible to do it better.”) This complaint by Thomas Packe made in connection with the Archbishop Morton’s visitation to Exeter in 1492, shows Packe (fl. 1487–1499) concerned about the quality of organ mechanics at the cathedral of Exeter in Devon, England. Packe’s complaint has been taken as evidence that he served as organist at Exeter. It is known that Packe earned a part of his living as priest of an endowment at the cathedral (founded in 1297 by Thomas Bitton), and it was his responsibility to celebrate the liturgy in memory of Bitton inside the cathedral’s so-called “Lady chapel.” This chapel with its altar of the Blessed Virgin Mary might have played a much more musical role in the decade of Packe’s activity at Exeter cathedral known to us (1489–1499).

Since the days of Bishop Brewer of Exeter, from 1224 to 1244, a mass in honor of the Virgin was celebrated daily in the Lady chapel, accompanied with music performed by the cathedral choir. This fact lends a certain probability to the assumption that in addition to his priestly duties in the chapel, Packe was involved in the performance of the music there as well.

The five surviving compositions by Packe that are known to us are preserved in the so-called Ritson manuscript (London, British Library, Add. 5665), a collection of nearly 100 polyphonic compositions in two to five parts composed from around 1450 to around 1500. Most of the works in this manuscript are carols (44) and other settings of Latin texts with liturgical or devotional character (26). In 1538, a royal proclamation ordered the expurgation of the name of St. Thomas of Canterbury from all religious buildings, liturgical books, and calendars in England. Vestiges of this instruction are visible in the two St. Thomas carols of the Ritson manuscript, an indication that the book was still in use at this date, and that someone bureaucratic remembered the book well enough to find the pieces and to fulfil the royal order.

Packe’s two settings of the mass Ordinary contained in the Ritson manuscript probably had their place during the daily liturgy in honor of the Virgin. Both show modest three-part writing appropriate for liturgical occasions of a lesser rank during the annual cycle. The notation pro hominibus xii notes cumpas at the beginning of the mass Gaudete in Domino indicates that this mass was originally intended for three male voices with almost the same range of 12 notes (also an indication that the performing institution had the option of boy’s voices). The two lower voices share a nearly identical lower segment of this range, whereas the upper voice is situated a fourth to a fifth above, an arrangement reflecting fifteenth-century chanson style which gives the upper voice a certain extra glamour. It is unknown which plainchant melody was used as the basis for the lowest voice (tenor) of the mass sections, which receive some unification through recurrent short motives; for example, the descending “major” triad on “G,” audible at the beginning of each. The three-voice texture is sometimes reduced to pairs, often according to the different text passages (listen especially to the Gloria and Credo), a compositional technique which seems to resemble, en miniature, the much more complex techniques of the large-scale choral works from Ritson’s most famous contemporary, the Eton Choirbook (written 1490–1502). The setting of the Marian antiphon, Salve Regina, at the end of this recording, also taken from the Ritson manuscript, goes back stylistically to the first climax of English Renaissance composition: Its threepart sections are based on a piece variously ascribed to Leonel Power (d. 1445) or John Dunstable (1390–1453), but the model for the duets is unknown.

The monophonic pieces on this recording come from very different periods of European chant history. The origins of the offertory Diffusa est—already present in the oldest known manuscripts containing the Gregorian mass proper (ninth century)— may go back to the seventh century (this chant tune has also been sung in honor of other female saints; for example, St. Agatha). The Introit Salve sancta parens (its hexametric text is taken from Sedulius’s Carmen paschale, dating from the fifth century), however, is only known to exist in sources from the twelfth century onwards. It reuses the melody of the classic Epiphany introit Ecce advenit. The Gradual Benedicta et venerabilis—likewise unknown in the earliest manuscripts—belongs to a small group of pieces which share their melody with the Gradual Domine praevenisti (once sung, for example, in honor of St. John the Evangelist). Introit, Gradual, and the late Communio Beata viscera in the high Middle Ages were part of a set of chants titled for its Introit Salve sancta parens and were traditionally performed in connection with the Lady mass from Purification to Advent. Because the mass in honor of the Virgin was treated as a festival mass, an Alleluia and a sequence were always sung, even during Lent. The two Alleluias on this recording are present in manuscripts from around 1000. The sequence Nativitas Mariae virginis, on the other hand, might be dated to the thirteenth century, as it probably has its origins in a Dominican context. Its rhymed text and hymn-like melody certainly belong to the hallmarks of the later medieval style.
—Roman Hankeln

And now, we'll go a little more contemporary!

Solemn Splendor
Adoramus Vocal Ensemble
Aaron Medina, organ
Dolores August, flute
Mark Burrows, director

Adoramus is the premier resident vocal ensemble of First United Methodist Church in Fort Worth, Texas. This first nationally released recording on Clarion features four world premier recordings. Adoramus has a clear and relaxed vocal sound, and has developed a national following with imaginative and popular programming.


Ave Maria—Javier Busto
Close Now Thine Eyes—Daniel Gawthrop
Notre Père—Maurice Duruflé
With Pipes of Tin and Wood—Alan Higbee *
With Cymbals Praise—Mary Feinsigner *
Svéte Tikhi—Alexksei Shipovalnikov
Ezekiel Saw De Wheel—Spiritual, arr. by Moses Hogan
The Battle of Jericho—Spiritual, arr. by Moses Hogan
Sing Me to Heaven—Daniel Gawthrop
Still, Still with Thee—Fred Gramann
At the Round Earth's Imagined Corners—Williametta Spencer
Magnificat—Robert Evans *
Nunc Dimittis—Robert Evans *
Sleep—Eric Whitaker
Quatre Motets—Maurice Duruflé
Ubi caritas
Tota pulchar es
Tu es Petrus
Tantum ergo

* World premier recordings!

Monday, February 15, 2010

President's Day Marches

What do you think of on President's Day? We think of Marches and and parades! So to celebrate, we are featuring Douglas Major as he takes you on a marching tour of the grand Skinner organ of Washington National Cathedral in his album Marches!

Douglas Major, organist
Washington National Cathedral

From Sousa to Bach, here are some of the most famous, and most stirring marches ever written, played on a large organ in a Gothic acoustic cathedral.

Sousa: Stars & Stripes Forever
Sousa: Washington Post March
Mendelssohn: Bridal March
C.P.E. Bach: March
Karg-Elert: Marche Triomphale
Lloyd Webber: Solemn Procession
Parry: Bridal March
Clarke: Prince of Denmark's March
Walton: Crown Imperial
Marcello: Psalm XIX
J. S. Bach: March (Cantata 208)
Haydn: March
Grieg: Triumphal March
Arnatt: Fanfare for Organ

For more information on this release and more visit The Gothic Catalog

Thursday, February 11, 2010

My Love and I

In honor of Valentine's Day, we present to you an older back catalog release of love songs from around the world.

My Love and I
Performed by the Men of Melodious Accord
Alice Parker, Conductor
Songs for Male Voices
arranged by Alice Parker and Robert Shaw

American composer, conductor, and teacher, Boston-born Alice Parker first came to public attention for her arrangements in collaboration with the late choral conductor Robert Shaw. Building on an international reputation, she has continued composing in many forms, researching folk music, conducting performances and workshops all over the continent, and speaking at large and small gatherings of choral musicians. In this recording, the men of her ensemble, Melodius Accord, sing love songs from around the world:

It was down by the Sally Gardens/My love and I did meet . . .

Singing must be the most satisfying way to express love. How else can we account for the wealth of love songs in every tongue? The love may be true or false, eternal or ephemeral, courtly or boisterous: still it finds its story, its tune, its protagonists (often including the singer) and, sometimes, its moral. The songs that linger in the ear’s recesses and the mind’s depths endure for generations, resurfacing at odd intervals to bathe us anew in this universal emotion.

Sheer masculine exuberance fuels such songs as A-Roving, To Ladies’ Eyes and Vive L’Amour, while a much more subdued, gentle longing is expressed in Turn Ye to Me, Stars of the Summer Night (with its lovely poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow), and Aura Lee. We find an intellectual, philosophical wit masquerading as folk song in Ben Jonson’s Drink to Me Only, Thomas Moore’s When Love is Kind and Has Sorrow Thy Young Days Shaded, and William Butler Yeats’ unforgettable It Was Down by the Sally Gardens. Anonymous singers give us such gifts as the haunting Lowlands, with its evocation of the rolling of the sea; the country dances of Du, du liegst mir im Herzen and Stodole Pumpa; and the story-telling of the very Irish A Ballynure Ballad (‘For it’s I have got the cordial eye that far exceeds the whiskey!’) and the very Spanish Al Olivo (‘The dark-eyed maiden rescued me when I fell from the olive tree.’)

The loved-one is evoked in all her beauty in the fifteenth century L’Amour de Moy, which places her in the midst of the flowers in the garden, while she is only glimpsed once in Passing By. The Spaniard describes his love in her suggestive dance in La Tarara (with the ice-cold gardenia at her bosom). The German lover in Treue Liebe swears eternal fidelity, as does the Castilian who addresses both his native city and its ‘burgalesa’ when he bids them farewell in Adios, Catedral de Burgos.

Haul Away, Joe is a true work song, with its muscular refrain and rough humor, while My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean can only be described as a play song: pure idiocy. (Both would have been enriched by improvised verses which would not bear repetition.) And the American glee-club tradition is maintained in such nineteenth-century favorites as Seeing Nellie Home andDarling Nellie Gray.

So, we sing and love and lose and laugh and cry, and are at our most human when we suffer these arrows of desire and regret.

She bade me take life easy/ As the grass grows on the weirs,
But I was young and foolish/ And now am full of tears.

--Alice Parker

From America:
Seeing Nellie Home
Stars of the Summer Night
Darling Nellie Gray

From England and Scotland:
Passing By
Turn Ye to Me
When Love is Kind
Drink to Me Only with Thine Eyes

Sea Shanties
Haul Away, Joe

From France, Czech Republic, Germany:
L'Amour de Moy
Stodole Pumpa
Treue Liebe
Du, du liegst mir im Herzen

From Spain:
La Tarara
Adios, Catedral de Burgos
Al Olivo
From Ireland:
Has Sorrow Thy Young Days Shaded
A Ballynure Ballad
Down by the Sally Gardens
To Ladies' Eyes

From America:
Aura Lee
My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean
Vive L'Amour

Click to Purchase this album

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Valentine's Gift Idea

So, you still haven't gotten a Valentine's Day gift? Don't want to give flowers again? How about Choral or Organ music!?! And if you're thinking, but I don't know what album he/she would want...well, we have an answer!

Get them a gift certificate! They can purchase whatever they like, and you can be happy too. Minimum amount $5.00. We recommend $20.00 for a single CD, which is usually enough to include shipping.

There are two ways to deliver a gift certificate: by e-mail or by snail mail. E-mail delivery is faster; it goes to the recipient with a link to our Web site. You can also choose to have a certificate delivered by mail, in which case we also include a copy of the printed Gothic Catalog.

So Click to get a Gift Certificate for that special someone!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Organ Loft - Valentines & Current Events

The Organ Loft - February 7, 2010
Valentines & Current Events
Webcast and Broadcast Schedule

Valentines & Current Events

1. Johann Sebastian Bach: Toccata in F, BWV 540

2. Veljo Tormis: “Kolm mul oli kaunist söna”

3. Charles-Marie Widor: Allegro from Symphony 6

4. Randall Thompson: Five Love Songs:
The Light of Stars
The Passenger
Two Worlds
The Happy Shore

Listen Online:

KING-FM Seattle's Classical Choice — Sundays at 10:00 PM

OREGON: KWAX-FM and the University of Oregon radio network — Sundays at 8:00 AM and 6:00 PM

Recordings Used:

1. “J.S. Bach: Organ Works” Robert Clark, organ; Arsis SACD 405
2. “While you are Alive” Cantus; Cantus Recordings CTS-1208
3. “Marcel Dupré Organ Recital” Mercury 434 311-2
4. “The Light of Stars” Choral Arts, Richard Sparks, directing; Gothic G-49226

Thursday, February 4, 2010

About Frederick Swann

Since we've been featuring "The Artistry of Frederick Swann" we thought it would be good to give you some good background information on Mr. Swann. This biography comes courtesy of Karen McFarlane Artists, Inc. (


Frederick Swann is the immediate past President (2002 through 2008) of the American Guild of Organists, an organization of over 20,000 members in Chapters throughout the United States and several foreign countries. He is Organist Emeritus of the Crystal Cathedral and of the First Congregational Church of Los Angeles, and Organ Artist-in-Residence at St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church in Palm Desert. Mr. Swann is also University Organist and Artist Teacher of Organ at the University of Redlands, and Organist for the Mark Thallander Foundation choral festivals held in various parts of the country each season.

One reviewer noted that Mr. Swann has probably presided over more ranks of pipes and stopknobs than any other organist in history. This is perhaps true given the size and prominence of the instruments with which his career has been notably associated … Riverside Church in New York City from 1957 to 1982, The Crystal Cathedral from 1982 to 1998, and First Congregational Church of Los Angeles from 1998 to 2001.
Mr. Swann holds degrees from Northwestern University and the School of Sacred Music at Union Theological Seminary, each granted “with distinction.” In addition to his prominent church positions, he was for ten years Chair of the Organ Department at the Manhattan School of Music and served on the faculties of Teacher’s College of Columbia University, and the School of Sacred Music at Union Theological Seminary in New York City.

Although officially “retired,” Mr. Swann continues to perform on a reduced schedule of solo recitals and in concert with orchestras and choral groups. In recent years he has presented recitals in major churches and concert halls in the United States, England, Germany and Russia. In 2004 he was selected by the Los Angeles Philharmonic to perform the Inaugural solo organ recital on the spectacular new organ in The Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. Prior to that, he played the inaugural recitals on the organs in Orchestra Hall, Chicago, and Davies Hall in San Francisco. In the summer of 2006 he performed on world-famous organs in Australia (Sydney: Town Hall, Opera House, and the Anglican and Roman Catholic Cathedrals, as well as the Town Hall and St. Paul’s Cathedral in Melbourne). In the 2007-2008 season Mr. Swann performed 24 solo recitals in Arkansas, California, Florida, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Texas, Virginia, and Washington, DC. In the 2008-2009 season he was heard in California, Illinois, South Carolina, Florida, Hawaii, West Virginia, Maryland, and Arizona.

In June of 2008 Mr. Swann performed two Preview Recitals on the William J. Gillepsie Concert Organ in the Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall at the Orange County Performing Arts Center, and has recorded the first CD on this major new instrument.

Mr. Swann is sought after as a leader of organ and church music workshops and has been retained frequently as a consultant for new pipe organs, including some of the largest and most prominent in the country. His many recordings, past and present, have assisted in making his name one of the best known throughout the music world.

Click to view Frederick Swann's many releases on Gothic Records.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Belated Article on The Artistry of Frederick Swann

We just came acoss the news release about the Artistry of Frederick Swann CD Release concert from the Redlands, CA paper The Press-Enterprise. It is well written, and goes into detail what was performed at the concert and the importance of the recording on the Casavant Opus 1230 pipe organ. So for those across the country that were unable to make it to the concert, we thought we would share:

The Press-Enterprise
Art teacher and university organist Frederick Swann will release his newest recording, "The Artistry of Frederick Swann," on Sunday. Produced by Gothic Records, the CD is believed to be the first commercial recording made with the Casavant Opus 1230 pipe organ.

The instrument was dedicated in the University of Redlands' Memorial Chapel in 1928 and has since been fully restored.

"Even though this is a famous, beautiful organ, it has never been used in a commercial recording," Swann said.

Coinciding with the release of the CD, Swann will hold a faculty recital in the Memorial Chapel at 3 p.m. Sunday. The free concert is open to the public.

The program will feature many of the works on the CD. Swan also will be joined by the women's chorus of the university's Madrigal Singers; Nicholle Andrews, director and professor of choral conducting; and violin teacher Jeanne Skrocki.

The group will perform the rarely heard "Fugue, Canzone and Epilogue" by Sigfrid Karg-Elert.

"It's a kind of soup-to-nuts program. There's something for everybody," Swann said.

Swann has served as president of the American Guild of Organists, serves as Organist Emeritus of the Crystal Cathedral, Organist Emeritus of First Congregational Church of Los Angeles and Organ artist-in-residence at St. Margaret's Episcopal Church in Palm Desert.

There will be 100 CDs available for purchase at $10 each. After the concert, CDs can be purchased through the record company at The regular sales price has not yet been released.

"The CD's name, 'The Artistry of Frederick Swann,' I didn't pick that," Swann said with a laugh. "It's really all about the artistry of this wonderful organ."