Call for Nominations for the 2016-2018 National Council

The AGO National Nominating Committee is responsible for preparing a slate of 14 candidates for the seven positions on the 2016-2018 National Council. In an effort to identify the most talented and dedicated leaders of the Guild, the committee seeks names of potential candidates from all Guild members. Please review the committee’s "Call for Nominations" below and take a few moments to assist the committee in its work either by offering to serve the Guild yourself or recommending one or more colleagues for Council positions. —James Thomashower, Executive Director American Guild of Organists … [Read more...]

2015 Spreckels Organ Society & AGO Competition Held

The annual San Diego AGO/Spreckels Organ Society scholarship auditions were held recently in San Diego. Congratulations to young organists Miranda Kaack, Reiley Fleischbein, John Yokoyama, Suzy Webster, Lauren A., Margaret Campbell, Alex Kramer, and Vincent Pham for presenting an excellent concert on May 31. Robert Lang’s photos of the concert can be seen here. … [Read more...]

Claude Baker Wins First Ronald G. Pogorzelski – Lester D. Yankee Annual Competition

Advertising a new prize with a $10,000 commission for a solo organ composition, the AGO’s Committee on New Music fully expected a large body of applicants, but they were nonetheless overwhelmed when they received nearly 80 applications. Committee members were even more thrilled to learn that the applicant pool was not only broad but equally deep, boasting applications from many highly accomplished and internationally recognized composers. In the end, the panel of judges—Pamela Decker, Hans-Ola Ericsson, and David Shuler, all important figures in new music and the organ—selected as the winner a renowned composer new to our instrument, Indiana University Jacobs School of Music professor of composition, Claude Baker. Read more about Claude … [Read more...]

June 2015 TAO Feature Article

Bryn Athyn Cathedral, Bryn Athyn, PA Kegg Pipe Organ Builders, Hartville, OH By Charles Kegg The Bryn Athyn Cathedral organ has been one of the most fascinating and challenging instruments in the history of the Kegg firm. The donor, Oberlin graduate and active Philadelphia organist Fred Haas, has always admired the work of Ernest Skinner. In the discussion of the new organ for the cathedral, all roads led to a recreation of Skinner’s work. We were asked to marry two modest E.M. Skinner organs, expand the combined instrument in Skinner style using new or vintage pipe work, and add a dramatic fourth manual division that complements the theology of the congregation and the dramatic building architecture— all while creating new … [Read more...]

John Walker Visits Shanghai Conservatory of Music’s Organ Department

AGO President John Walker (center) recently visited the organ department of the Shanghai Conservatory of Music. He met with Professor Lei Zhu, department chairperson (to Walker's left), Professor Dan Wu, organ teacher (to Walker's right), and many students.   … [Read more...]

June 2015 TAO Chapter News

Northeast Region New Haven, CT March 7, at First Church, Middletown, the chapter hosted a silent-film event featuring member Shari Lucas and two films from the Roaring Twenties. The audience loved the pre-performance lecture and the elegant and entertaining presentation of films. Funds were raised to support the AGO North­east Regional Convention taking place in New Haven this summer. March 14, the chapter presented a successful Pedals, Pipes & Pizza event, with about 20 guests, at United Church on the Green and Woolsey Hall at Yale. Presenters and hosts were Caesar Storlazzi, Simon Jacobs, Joseph Dzeda, George Fergus, and Lars Gjerde. Chapter members, presenters, and guests had a blast. The chapter is thankful that the … [Read more...]

McNeil Robinson 1943-2015

The American Guild of Organists is sad to announce the death of internationally renowned organist and composer McNeil Robinson on Saturday, May 9, 2015, in New York City, following a long illness. The Guild extends its deepest sympathies to his family and friends, especially his wife, Cristina Cassellato Robinson. A public memorial service will be held on Tuesday, October 13, at 7:30 p.m. Church of the Ascension Fifth Avenue at Tenth Street New York City, NY 10011 All are welcome. McNeil Robinson, who chaired the organ department at the Manhattan School of Music for more than two decades, was a world renowned improvisateur who taught more winners in the AGO National Competition in Organ Improvisation than any other teacher. He … [Read more...]

May 2015 TAO Feature Article

Blair School of Music, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN Dobson Pipe Organ Builders, Lake City, IA By Carl Smith When entering the Blair School’s Steve and Judy Turner Recital Hall, concertgoers do not encounter a hall of memorably imposing architectural grandeur but rather a welcoming space whose warmth and general ambience contribute greatly to the extensive music making that takes place in it each year. A major factor in the experience of music in Turner Hall (both aurally and visually) is the wood that inconspicuously surrounds the listener yet confronts his or her every glance. When the decision was made to give the new organ’s case a traditional form, it was quickly decided that painting the case would not be suitable in … [Read more...]

April 2015 TAO Feature Article

Cathedral of St. Paul, St. Paul, Minnesota Quimby Pipe Organs, Inc., Warrensburg, Missouri By T. Daniel Hancock The Cathedral of St. Paul in St. Paul, Minnesota, is a striking study in early 20th-century French Classicism. Constructed from 1906 to 1915 in the best of the Beaux-Arts tradition, the building is sited atop Cathedral Hill, a commanding point overlooking the Mississippi River, where its dome, together with the nearby state capitol dome, constitute two of the most recognizable icons in the St. Paul skyline. The structure is the magnum opus of French-American architect Emmanuel Louis Masqueray (1861–1917), who was also chief of design for the Louisiana Purchase Exposition held in St. Louis in 1904. In addition to its status as … [Read more...]

Pittsburgh to Host 2015 AGO Mid-Atlantic Regional Convention

David Briggs, Chanticleer, Nathan Laube, and Ann Elise Smoot will be among the featured artists at the 2015 AGO Mid-Atlantic Regional Convention. Venues will include Westminster Presbyterian Church, Trinity Cathedral (Pittsburgh), St. Paul Cathedral (Pittsburgh), Shadyside Presbyterian Church, Sacred Heart Parish, Heniz Chapel, First English Evangelical Lutheran Church, Epiphany Catholic Church, East Liberty Presbyterian Church, and Calvary Episcopal Church. The convention runs from June 21-24. More information and a registration form are available at the AGO 2015 Mid-Atlantic Region Convention Website … [Read more...]