July 12, 2004
NEW YORK CITY — The AMERICAN GUILD OF ORGANISTS (AGO) presented its Distinguished Composer Award to Margaret Vardell Sandresky at its Annual Meeting on Friday, July 9, in Los Angeles, Calif. The prestigious award is presented biennially, in conjunction with the AGO National Convention, to recognize outstanding composers in the United States writing organ and choral music. Sandresky was also a commissioned composer for the 2004 AGO National Convention. Her commissioned work, The Mystery of Faith, was premiered by Paul Jacobs on July 7 at the Westwood United Methodist Church in Los Angeles.
MARGARET VARDELL SANDRESKY is a composer who has a growing international reputation for writing music of integrity, interest, and wide appeal. As an organist and teacher, her compositions are particularly well-suited to the organ, especially in her treatment of dissonance and her exploration of tone color. Sandresky held teaching appointments at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, the University of Texas at Austin, and was the founder of the organ department at the North Carolina School of the Arts. She is the fourth generation of professional women musicians in her family.
Sandresky graduated from Salem Academy and College in Winston-Salem, North Carolina with a bachelor of music degree. She earned a master’s degree in composition at the Eastman School of Music, where she studied with Howard Hanson and Bernard Rogers, and was an organ pupil of Harold Gleason. In 1955, she was awarded a Fulbright to the State Institute of Music in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, where she studied organ with Helmut Walcha, and composition with Kurt Hessenberg.
Sandresky is listed in Woman Composers, Contemporary American Composers, Who’s Who in Music, the International Who’s Who in Music, Women in Music, and the International Encyclopedia of Women Composers. She is also a Standards Award-winning ASCAP composer. Among her commissions are those funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, the North Carolina Arts Council, the Reynolda House Museum of American Art, the North Carolina Music Teachers Association, and the Carolina Pro Musica chamber ensemble. Her compositions are published by Brodt Music Company, Paraclete Press, Wayne Leupold Editions, and Hildegard Press.
The AGO DISTINGUISHED COMPOSER AWARD was first presented to Virgil Thomson in 1986. Other recipients of this award include Ned Rorem, Daniel Pinkham, Samuel Adler, Dominick Argento, William Albright, Conrad Susa, Emma Lou Diemer, Dan Locklair, William Bolcom, Alice Parker, and Carl Schalk. "The AGO is proud of its record of recognizing composers of new organ works, and new choral works," notes Frederick Swann, President of the American Guild of Organists. "We have a long tradition of commissioning composers to create new music." Since its founding in 1896, the AGO has commissioned hundreds of new works for organ and choir, more than any other single organization in the world. In 2000, the AGO was honored by the American Society of Composers and Publishers (ASCAP) with a certificate of merit for its new music commissions.
The AMERICAN GUILD OF ORGANISTS is the national professional association serving the organ and choral music fields. Founded in 1896 as both an educational and service organization, it sets and maintains high musical standards and promotes the understanding and appreciation of all aspects of organ and choral music. The mission of the AGO is to enrich lives through organ and choral music. The Guild currently serves approximately 19,000 members in more than 300 local chapters throughout the United States and abroad. The American Organist Magazine, the official journal of the AGO and the Associated Pipe Organ Builders of America, reaches an audience of more than 20,000 readers each month.
This information is submitted by F. Anthony Thurman, Director of Development and Communications at the National Headquarters of the American Guild of Organists and The American Organist Magazine. For further information, please contact Dr. Thurman by TEL (212) 870-2310, FAX (212) 870-2163 or E-MAIL firstname.lastname@example.org.